Call 911 or Go Viral – The Choice is Yours

Have you ever been watching TV and seen a video of something terrible happening to someone? Like this:

85,000 people have watched that video. It was shown on tons of major news outlets. Who was recording it? Why weren’t they calling for help? Are people more interested in getting their video on TV, or having it “go viral,” than in helping out someone in trouble?

My friend Ian Cohen recently wrote a post on the Weber Shandwick Social Studies blog about a time when he had to make a choice between calling 911 and recording a horrific accident. Here’s a little bit of it, click through to read the rest.

…I looked out my window and I saw a car across the street on fire. A car had crashed into a telephone pole and was going up in flames.

Instead of reaching for the phone to call 9-1-1, like you have been trained to do since a little kid, I did what I have been trained to do in my career and grabbed my camera (iPhone camera bc it was at arms length). I started taking a video of the car on fire as others ran across the street trying to help.

Click here to read the rest of his post…

Are we too uptight?

I’m coming to the part a little late (okay, 20+ million views late), but after watching this video for the launch of TNT in Belgium I am once again reminded that some of the best experiential marketing happens in other countries.

Why can’t companies do things like this in America? Can you imagine what would happen if they did? In our “post-9/11” world the SWAT team would have descended on this square within minutes of the button being deployed. The square would have looked like a scene from the Hurt Locker.

hurt locker film

Yup, something like that.

We’re just too afraid. And sometimes we have good reason to be, but look what it’s costing us. As consumers it’s robbing us of exciting experiences like this. Think of the story everyone in the square that day will be telling their friends for years to come. Think of how excited they were as it was happening. The rush of adrenaline, the laugh after the reveal, the “what the fuck are we seeing?” feeling shared by everyone there.

Instead we get awkward flash mobs.

Can you honestly say that lame stunt is as good as the TNT stunt above? As marketers we are robbed of the ability to create incredibly memorable, shareable experiences that drive home the brand message in way that almost forces people to tell their friends.

I know that in this country we can’t have people staging fake gun fights in the street, but there’s a part of me that really wishes we could.

Social Media Isn’t Free.

Okay, it’s free sometimes. It’s free for me to go onto Facebook, make a profile, find my friends, etc. It’s free for you to read this blog, post a link to it on Twitter and share it on your Facebook page (and I’d be grateful if you did).

But when it comes to your brand, social media is not free.

You may not pay for it every time you use it, but with every campaign, initiative or program there are costs. Even in social media.

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“Choose Your Own Adventure” Meets “Subservient Chicken.”

While not a completely new idea, this new ad from Tipp-Ex is a great example of how to draw consumers in to engage with your brand.  I haven’t seen an ad for white out or other copy correction products in a long time (if ever), but I must have spent 5+ minutes playing with this one.

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Who is Dr. Lyle Evans?

If you watched Mad Men last night you know exactly what I am talking about. And apparently this is the question on everyone’s mind.

It seems to me that it was just something the writers slipped in to drive us all crazy.

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