The Kids Are Going to be All Right

19 December, 2008

I’ve had a long time post brewing about the youth of today and how they are global and social from Day 0 from the use of virtual worlds like Disney’s Club Penguin.  The thinking is still far from over but the post ends with my concerns for the widening of the digital divide.

Then, you read about how Club Penguin are running Coins for Change for the 2nd year and you think you know what, the kids are going to be all right.

Coins for Change

New Horizons, an organization spearheaded by the site’s founders, shall divide a $1 million donation between three charities. Users donate virtual coins to their charity of choice, thereby “voting” on the proportion of the $1 million donation each charity receives.

Lane Merrifield Executive Vice President Walt Disney Internet Group, Co-founder and General Manager Club Penguin says this:

Our hope is that Coins for Change helps children in the Club Penguin community understand there is more to life than just earning coins, and encourages them to make a difference in the lives of kids throughout the world,

Last year more than 2.5 million players donated in excess of two billion virtual coins. They’ve been asking us for another opportunity to give ever since and we can’t wait to see the results!

Some may take a cynical view that the coins are just virtual, etc. but in my opinion the value of the in-game money is something of real value to the players (I mean look at the discussions of the economies of  WOW and Second Life) and therefore, scratch my title.

The Kids Are All Right!


Facebook Trials ‘Engagement Ads’

22 August, 2008

After the disaster that was Beacon, Facebook  have announced they are continuing to pioneer the pathway to understanding how to monetise social media with testing of ‘Engagement Ads’.

Basically, it’s a new ad format that allows users to comment, become a fan and give gifts.

Forrester Analyst Jeremiah Owyang, has a thoughtful look at  what ‘Engagement Advertising’ Means to Brands.

AdViking likes this because even though it will probably fail at least they are trying to innovate and take advantage of being the #1 social network in the world.

Though AdViking has to say this is all great and exciting the real news of late from Facebook and what’s going to deliver a heap of money to the coffers is that the alcoholic beverage industry can now advertise on Facebook!  This will be one sure way to increase the problem of the lack of beer money in digital.


Facebook World’s Largest Social Network

22 August, 2008

Following on from the news that Facebook is growing unbounded in the UK, comScore has released data that shows this being a global phenomenon and Facebook is #1 of the social networks.

What’s also interesting is that this growth as been fuelled by Europe and the rest of the world with North America growing at a fairly flat 38% y/y.

This is particularly interesting to AdViking as you can then correlate this to advertising spend of country and can see that a lot of innovation in social ad models will be coming from Europe.

Oodle & MySpace Launch Social Classifieds

28 July, 2008

MySpace Classifieds

Powered by Oodle

On the back of the Walmart deal, Oodle have announced they will be powering the Classifieds on MySpace.

AdViking thinks this will be a pretty interesting partnership to watch, in particular to see if a classifieds experience sticks well to the MySpace demographics and on the back of that extrapolate to the meta-theme of social media and classifieds.

MySpace did have something in place before but outsourcing this monetisation opportunity to and up and coming and hungry pure-play classifieds like Oodle looks like a smart move.

Free Online Classifieds - MySpace Classifieds_1217282931173

Social Media – A PR Minefield?

22 July, 2008

AdViking came across the story about how in Canada Corporate Craziness Gets the Ice Cold Beer Guy Fired, which is all about how a beer vendor at the Toronto Blue Jays stadium got fired for not checking ID of a mystery shopper from his employer who was of age.

But that’s not the real story, what is that fans of Wayne McManhon are using the tools available to them in the Web2.0 era and have started a Facebook group (15,954 member at writing) and started more formal action at PetitionSpot to get ARAMARK to hire the cult Ice Cold Beer Guy his job back.

This reminds AdViking about the Diet Coke + Mentos videos on YouTube and how Mentos embraced things heavily while Coke went the other way.

Now that everyone is a content producer and there are a heap of tools to quickly marshall forces, AdViking states the obvious in saying that PR folks really need to get their game on otherwise they will feel the bite of the consumer.

What’s then therefore interesting is to extrapolate this to the wider digital advertising field and suggest that there’s plenty of gold in those social media hills but no-one is really on top of the best way to mine it.

Beer Money Missing from Digital

16 July, 2008

Digital Empty for Beer Marketing?

Across the board, digital ad spend is growing at the cost of other media, one of the exceptions is Beer.

AdViking would suggest that is probably due to the restrictions on what type of ads can run on the big search and display networks and so this means that those in charge of the marketing budgets have too work hard for ROI…which as we know is something that most Marketers like to avoid doing.

Once video and the like grows as part of the digital spend, then we’ll see a natural transition of the budget.

Still, that doesn’t mean a few smart marketers aren’t taking advantage of the new channels open for them.  e.g.:  Having an European focus means that AdViking missed the whole ‘dude’ Bud Light ( (Light beer isn’t really an option this side of the Atlantic) campaign and only through the glories of YouTube have we been able to catch up:

On second thought, as the future is niche and vertical, then there’s a big gap open to consolidate the alcohol spending into one new network, giving the  opportunities for Publishers like BeerViking to have a more natural advertising to user fit.

Post-Script: And then AdViking comes across the news that Carling has the #1 free game application for iPhone with their iPint game.  My apologies to Nic Young, director of marketing communications at Carling and their partners at Beattie McGuinness Bungay and Illusion Labs for the comment about Marketers not wanting to work for ROI…seems that some of them do.

Post-Post-Script:  Apparently the iBeer guys are suing the iPint guys.

Hands up for a downturn?

14 July, 2008

Hands up who remembers the last recession?

Are we there again? If the press is to be believed (OK, OK, bear with me!) then we’re already there. Officially we entered a ‘bear market’ in the UK earlier this month (i.e. 20% lower FTSE than the peak, which was last June). No-one wants to lend money to anyone who actually needs it.

Oh, and marketing budgets are being cut left, right and centre… check out this story on Brand Republic about the latest Bellwether Report.

The one mild positive for AdViking is that digital spend continue to grow, albeit modestly.

So is it real or are we talking ourselves into it? Confidence is such a fragile thing – and confidence determines likelihood of purchase across the board, be it FMCG or big ticket items.

<aside> There’s a potentially interesting study from Datamonitor about retail trends that raises that old chestnut the ‘sacrifical consumer’… but at a little short of £3000 you’ll have to make a lot of brand trade-downs to afford this particular treat. The Sacrificial Consumer is the shopper who will, for example, buy own brand cornflakes and toilet paper so that (s)he can afford a nice bottle of win. </aside>

Digital marketing is still growing because it is quick, measurable, adaptable, effective and relatively transparent. But the smart money is going to go on engagement marketing (digital can be really good at this).

This means doing everything you can to get customers you’ve found to make that first purchase and then keen coming back for more… better still, having them tell their friends and families about it while they’re at it.

In other words, conversion, cross-sell, upsell, retention.

So that’s back to marketing as a conversation, not a one-way shouting match.

That means using established tools like email marketing. (Not that horrible spam stuff, but messages your customers actually want to read – and buy from).

Or using RSS feeds.

Or even, gasp, social media… if only we can figure out how!