Friday, October 15, 2010

New Skype features on Facebook give brand advocates greater voice

Skype's release of Skype 5.0 for Windows includes a new Facebook tab that allows users to SMS or call their Facebook friends (even do a 10-caller video group call) right from their Facebook News Feed. This feature could have interesting applications for brand marketers with active Facebook fan communities. 

For example, we might see Facebook friends rallying around one-day deals promoted editorially by Groupon, which offers super-low prices by facilitating group buying online. Since deals are only activated once a minimum quota of buyers has been met, many Groupon users get their friends on board through social networking. Especially hot deals could warrant the extra nudge of a Skype call or SMS. 

Most of Groupon's daily deals are for local restaurants, events, services and retailers, but there's potential for national brands and chains, too. Case in point, GAP recently ran a national one-day Groupon deal that sold nearly half a million "Groupons" valued at more than $11 million.  GAP's Facebook fan page had a role in this success, no doubt, and now with Skype fan endorsements can be even more dynamic. 

For consumer marketers, dovetailing Facebook (for reach), Skype (for advocacy), and Groupon (for high-value, time-sensitive promotion), may be a winning way to leverage fan communities for brand-building, publicizing new products, encouraging trial, or getting momentum behind sales events. 

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Leggo my logo! GAP's flap proves logos are social

Brief makeover, now over. 
GAP’s brief  fling with a new logo is over and everyone (except the design firm, no doubt) is happy again.

So what did we learn?  For one, who knew GAP's fans cared so much?  This became abundantly clear as fans flocked to social media to voice disfavor with the company's new logo design.  What happened with GAP reveals plenty about brands and the new rules of fan engagement!

GAP's decision to nix its new logo raises an interesting question about brand identity: Should customers have any say in something as major as a corporate mark? I believe they do. Logos are social, after all.

Before Twitter and Facebook GAP would  have gone ahead with the logo change, disenfranchising some of its best customers in the process. Thanks to social media the company averted what could have been a costly mistake. GAP listened and truly engaged its customers in the logo issue, and for doing that the brand (and fan base) is all the stronger.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Disney and Propaganda Games tightly aligned on new 'TRON' film/game releases

Continuing my recent post about transmedia projects and the importance of creative alignment, at last week’s New York Comic Com the panel discussing Disney's upcoming release of the video game TRON: Evolution talked about the extraordinarily close integration among the game’s developers at Propaganda Games and filmmakers at Disney. This featurette provides an inside look at their creative collaboration and here is a post on that gives a concise overview of the TRON franchise

Disney will release the TRON: Evolution game on December 7, 2010, and on December 17, it will release the 3-D film TRON: Legacy, the first sequel since TRON's film debut in 1982. 

Monday, October 11, 2010

Comic book king STAN LEE sees gold in digital/cross-media narratives

When the first comic book was published in 1934 as a compilation of newspaper comic strips, who could have imagined how white-hot comic book properties would become?   

Stan Lee, the legendary comic book writer and former president and chairman of Marvel Comics, says the digital age is great for the comic book industry. In a recent interview with The Street TV, he said digital devices like iPads provide great platforms that bring static comic book stories to life. Lee added that the spate of superhero-inspired blockbusters coupled with the allure of lucrative multimedia story deals, has made some screenwriters and novelists eager to write comic books. 

So good are the prospects for comic book gold, in fact, that last year Lee, with award-winning producer Gill Champion and intellectual property attorney Arthur Lieberman, Esq., founded POW! Entertainment (Pink Sheets: POWN), an advanced media and entertainment company for creating, producing and licensing original intellectual properties for the global market.  Disney, which last year acquired Marvel Entertainment, Inc., has a ‘first look’ deal with POW! and also holds a 10% stake in the company.

Lee explained his bullishness for comic books in a televised interview on CNBC's Squawk on the Street. He said, “The need for stories is a human need and whether they're comic books or they're on the internet or on the screen, everybody wants to be entertained.” Lee maintains that a quality story - one that's full of action, surprise and suspense - is still paramount. 

During last week's New York Comic Con, Pow! announced several new projects, including: 

“The Seekers” - a digital comic series in development with MTV for its new MTV Geek website that offers comics, horror, sci-fi and gaming news, as well as coverage of comic-book conventions and previews of new comic books, games and movies.

A three-book development deal with the start up comic book and graphic novel company, 1821 Comics.  The first book is said to be a futuristic retelling of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, titled Romeo and Juliet: The War.

Collaboration with Yoshiki , Asia's most influential music artist and founder and drummer of the band X JAPAN, on a music superhero comic book and motion comic series. 
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