Posts Tagged ‘corporate social responsibility’

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Cardosystems – Can Cellphones Make Popcorn?

May 6, 2009

By watching TV yesterday I have discovered the show called “Rude Tube” on channel E4, which I found very amusing. Basically, Alex Zane, a British comedian,  presents the most popular viral videos that have ever been shown on the Internet. On their web page, individuals can leave comments and rate videos, but they must sign up, as only registered members are able to leave a comment. A good way for a TV channel to take advantage of the numerous opportunities delivered by the World Wide Web in order to become more interactive. E4 have also achieved great success by launching a feed on Twitter, reporting the latest news of the popular TV series “Skins” and hit 10,000 followers in one day. You can follow them as well by clicking here. Skins is a British award winning TV series that tells the life stories of a group of teenagers living in Bristol.

However, one of the clips was the one, which all of you must have seen or heard about at some point. Once more, video sharing has served as a new media tool to create awareness. The original video shows four French people having a few kernels of maize on a table, surrounded by their mobile phones. Now they make all their phones ring simultaneously, and the kernels puff into popcorn. After a while a series of other cases from  additional countries appeared to make it look like like people tested it all over the world, but watch it yourself:

This video has currently 12, 869, 303 views on video sharing site Dailymotion, since it was released online in May 2008. For those of you who do not know it yet, it was all fake. The videos were part of a guerilla marketing campaign made by the American organisation Cardosystems, who tried to promote their headphones with new Bluetooth technology. The idea behind it was to encourage people to use headphones rather than the phone itself. In an interview with CNN the CEO of Cardosystems as well as founder of the campaign, Abraham Glezerman reveals all the secrets:

What a successful campaign with a return on investment of a 100% sales increase. Even marketing strategist Seth Godin refers to that case as a “vivid” marketing story. Nevertheless, one may argue whether this kind of campaign was ethically correct or not, as people were led to the conclusion that cell phones may cause serious health damage. Are there any negative consequences when marketing chooses to go the delusional way? Ehret claims in his blog “The Marketing Spot” that he would probably avoid Cardosystems if dealing in the Bluetooth industry:“I do have a hard time believing that there was no attempt at deception on Cardo Systems’ part. If I were in the market for Bluetooth, I would probably skip Cardo.”

The videos caused both excitement and outrage. Many people really liked the content and had a laugh about it, whilst others are in serious fear what their phone could do to their health. I suppose that the way in which news and information are distributed differs from country to country and hence, the perception caused by such marketing campaigns may differ depending on the culture. In this blog one of the readers claims, that the videos have scared many people in Israel.

Here is the final clip they launched to advertise their product:

In terms of awareness creation I believe that Cardosystems have done a great job. The video spread like wildfire on the web and achieved a stunning number of views and media response. The Internet is a great tool to get information, but this case also proves once more, that people have to be more critical about what they read or see. Everyone is able to publish content, so information that appears a bit dubious should be questioned by the reader and not trusted immediately. If Cardosystems had revealed themselves from the start, the video would have never achieved such a marketing buzz as it did. I find it difficult to judge whether they acted socially irresponsible or not, as finally, we all have the freedom to choose what we believe or not, but I think I tend to the view that they have not acted unethically and therefore, not broken the “rule” of corporate social responsibility, but I am open to a discussion.

What is your view on the subject? And did you know it was fake?

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CWS – say no to dirt!

April 18, 2009

cws-logoViral marketing, as already discussed in previous blog entries enjoys increased popularity and respect amongst marketers. Various campaigns have emerged out of nowhere and pleased online users with creative, funny and somehow unique content. One of them came from the German organisation “Complete Washroom Soulutions” CWS two years ago in 2007 and is, in my opinion, well worthy to be mentioned.

CWS chose the way of celebrity endorsement. They enlisted supermodel and actress Milla Jovovich for their video promotion to add a little bit of style, coolness and sex appeal. The scene shows her in a posh nightclub in a toilet stall, kneeing on the floor and preparing to snort a line of the drug cocaine from a toilet seat. Unfortunately for her, the toilet seat’s automated sanitary mechanism gets activated and the seat starts to rotate in order to clean itself. Milla keeps trying to get her nose full, but she is too slow and her initial shocked face reveals a massive scream that makes the other ladies who are in the bathroom wonder… the viewer is left a few seconds and then the message “say no to dirt” appears. But see it yourself, if you have not seen it yet.

Not only a very appropriate slogan for a toilet solutions maker, but also a great way to highlight a situation that is a well known problem for many bars and clubs. They advertise their product by offering a solution to a common “problem” (a clean seat for everyone at any time) and also make a statement about drug abuse. In my view they can be given some credit for a small contribution of corporate social responsibility. With 1,091,485 views on social networking site Youtube there must have been certain success through awareness creation and increased web traffic for CWS. “Online you are what you publish” (says David Meerman Scott). In that context, CWS achieved to create a fresh and modern image for themselves with that particular clip. Moreover, raised public awareness of a B2B brand can influence some kind of a pull effect, which generates demand from the end-user up the supply chain. Whilst some may argue its actual value to the company, I think that having your brand name out there is certainly a positive aspect that can have a variety of effects. Brand awareness creation, which involves brand recall and brand recognition, supports strategic brand management when building name recognition for your organisation, service or product.

There may be a connection between an earlier anti-drug campaign that is shown on video sharing site Dailymotion. Unfortunately, I struggle to find any closer information about that one, but here is the video. (I’ll have to warn you, it is certainly not a nice scene to watch and blood is involved… so children under 16 should probably not watch it)

The CWS video promotion is considered as excellent by various experts such as David Meerman-Scott or Marketingprofs, because it shows that really every brand can go viral, no matter whether B2B or B2C as well as no matter what product type. Even a product that may be rather considered as “boring” and “unexciting” such as a toilet can create buzz and become memorable through its marketing. It does not always need to be a highly fancy consumer product, but the way it is presented must be somehow special. Granfield from Marketingmag reports that brand advertisement can become remarkable by telling a story (if you have a few spare minutes, read his article: “How to get the world’s attention without being remarkable” here, I think it is brilliant!) This matches with what I referred to in one of my previous blog entries: create content that engages and excites your target audience. Nevertheless, the product or service must be of a certain value and quality – marketing can do lots, but it’s certainly no magician that turns “rubbish” into profit. Well… it actually did work with some brands, but that is my personal opinion and I do not want to cause any offence by mentioning names. 😉

In the end viral marketing could be referred to as “online gossip”. As long as you create something that makes people pass it on, remember and discuss it you have definitely secured “your foot in the door”. People love stories, otherwise things like books, TV and cinemas would not really work. I am sure nearly every one of us is guilty of having been involved in some form of “gossip”. Now, just apply the gossip to marketing, think how you can make the people you want to get interested in your story and get started!