Google recently experimented with having their Gmail users upload short clips to make a fun collaborative video showing how Gmail goes around the world. Unleashing users to play with your brand can be scary for marketers, but in reality, Google had complete control over the process (they got to choose which videos to show). Kudos for Google for stepping outside the box and having people interact with their brand.
I’ve been impressed with the marketing tactics The Simpsons movie has employed. Back in July, by word of mouth I heard about the Simpsons 7-11 promo where select 7-11s were transformed into Kwik-E-marts including one in my hometown, Seattle (shame on the 7-eleven site for removing the page from their site) where you could buy pink donuts, buzz cola, krusty-os, etc. (I still think they should have made Duff beer).
Then, last week before I went to see the movie, I visited the official simpsons movie site which also had some great viral marketing elements built in. For example, you can create your very own Simpsons character. Here’s my Simpsonized family:
They made it really easy to create avatars, jpgs, video and other web elements that you could add to your blog or social networking profile. I love it when movies go beyond creating a site that only contains a movie trailer and a couple stills. Allowing your fans to promote their love for your movie is a smart marketing tactic. Massive marketing still works for Hollywood, but it seems like the movies that are most successful rely mostly on Word-of-Mouth. Why not use the web to promote word-of-mouth activity?
The movie was also enjoyable. As a filmmaker, I loved the beginning. Television actors & movies are often considered undesirable for feature films because the audience is used to seeing them for free. In true Simpson’s style, they actually poke fun at the audience for paying for the movie during the first 30 seconds of the film.
Danny Sullivan just launched a cool social networking site for search marketers called Sphinn. I decided to take Sphinn for a spin and must say it looks promising. It has Digg-like search news voting features, profiles that allow lots of great links to other social sites & personal blog RSS pulls, a shared events calendar, and some cool networking components.
The service just launched, so expect lots of bugs and some spam at first, but from what I can tell, Sphinn will be a great place to keep up on search news that matters and a place to connect and keep track of your fellow search peers.
SEOmoz released the results of the 2nd Annual Web 2.0 Awards yesterday. I’m happy to announce that I was one of the 25 judges. I’ve judged the Webby Awards for a number of years and even judged an online Miss World competition a few years ago, but I must admit that judging the Web 2.0 Awards was a refreshing change. It’s fun to see how people are changing the web in exciting ways.
I highly recommend you take a look at the 2007 Web 2.0 Award Winners, especially if you are still unsure what a “Web 2.0 site” is. I think every company with an online presence could benefit from paying attention to sites that are leading the movement towards Web 2.0 experiences.
Think about how you might be able to integrate elements of what these other sites are doing into your site, especially if it adds value to your existing user base.
I believe there is an untapped opportunity in video disbtribution for local news stations. When it comes to unexpected events, news station camera crews can not possibly be in the right place at the right time. If someone were to build a video upload service aimed towards local news syndication, I think many stations would be willing be interested in buying rights to the videos.
There are plenty of sites that facilitate the sale of video clips, but I have yet to see one target distribution to television stations. For example, take a look at this video from Oregon after yesterday’s storm hit:
I imagine the person who captured this video had to go out of their way to get the video to the news station (hopefully they didn’t drive down that street). The local news station may have paid them a small amount of money, then distributed it to their sister stations. Imagine if the user could have uploaded the video to a site, set their own price and let anyone pick up rights to use it or pay extra for exclusive rights.
News stations desperate for video could simply visit the site, preview the video in a flash player, download the video and edit it as they please. Far too often news stations lack video so they pull out old videos or play the same exact video throughout the day, over and over and over. My wife has been filmed working in the lab and I can’t tell you how many times we’ve seen the same video clip used for every DNA-related piece of news for the past four years. The video distribution service I’m imagining would not only connect traditional media with user-generated videos via the web, but it would be in a good position when the lines between the web and T.V. continue to blur.