Friday, October 16, 2009

Social Media Is Doing Good: Just Add Clients

Let's talk about social media. Everyone else is.

So. There’s an agency called Naked and they are always very quick on the uptake with any new media or consumer trend. They did a little slide show that helps us understand how the power of 140 characters can help solve just about any social problem you can think of. (The slideshow has no sound, but you’ll get the gist.)

(Their original post, HERE.)

In other news … The earth has tsunamis, we have social networks. Here’s a cool example of how the speed and connectedness of the Plurk network was used to help people hit hard by the power of planet earth. (Article, HERE.

(Apparently Plurk is a social network by Microsoft that must be “big in Japan” or something. More on Plurk, HERE.)

And finally, Facebook. Here’s a cool tip sheet about how to use Facebook to fix the world. Just click. Perfect for the lazy do-gooder in all of us. Enjoy. And do these 5 things:

1) use charity applications like Causes and Lil’ Green Patch and SocialVibe, 2) join groups doing good like Cancer Associations and Darfur Relief, 3) become a fan of a cause like Susan G. Komen for a Cure and Greenpeace and Oxfam, 4) send a virtual gift that prompts a sponsor company to donate, and 5) host a charity event using FB invitations.

Links and more details in the original article on Mashable, HERE.

So, what’s missing here? We’ve got plenty of social media, and plenty of doing-good. What’s missing is clients. Clients that align themselves with a cause, and join the online communities that already exist, they’re ready to act, stand to gain a lot. A lot of loyalty, a lot of goodwill, a lot of sales, possibly another generation or two of happy healthy customers, a lot of leverage over their competition, and a lot of VIP treatment in marketing heaven.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Milk Bone

Apparently, Milk Bone dog treats have been supporting the Canine Assistance program “for over 12 years.” Who knew?

Since they haven’t advertised it much until now, at first I thought they were just mimicking the Pedigree approach from TBWA/Chiat/Day LA (more on that, HERE.) It's an awesome approach, but in a category so similar, Milk Bone comes off like an "us too" player.

The lesson? If you’re doing something good, and your customers can help buy buying your product, then it pays to let them know about it.

(Anyone know if this is still handled by DraftFCB NYC?)
(UPDATE: Apparently, the work was done by DraftFCB/SF. Thanks to Brian M. for the info.)

Check out Milk Bone's website, HERE.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Toyota Sees Beyond Cars

Toyota is one of the biggest advertisers in the country. And they’ve staked their huge new brand campaign (from Dentsu) on Doing Good.

They talk about creating American jobs at all the plants they have here. They talk about producing as little waste as possible, and their zero landfill targets. – (Bear in mind, this isn’t a fringe sub-campaign. This is Toyota’s new brand campaign.)

They talk about their safety innovations. Their partnership with the Audubon Society to “green” communities from Brooklyn to San Antonio. The $35 million they’ve donated toward children’s literacy. Fixing parks. Planting trees. Supporting college water sustainability standards … The list goes on and on.

It’s a lot of information we didn’t know about Toyota. And while it may not constitute total transparency, it sure feels like it. It feels like Toyota isn’t afraid to pull back the curtain and show you the factories, the parks, the people, the customers.

And it also invites viewers to chime in with their own stories, building a sense of community, participation, fandom, and in a way – crowdsourcing stories and ideas.

Creatively, my first impression of “Beyond Cars” was, Okay you see beyond cars, but if I want to buy a car I want Toyota to be really focused on that car, not some hippy tree-planting stuff.* However ...

After delving into the website, the good feelings I gained about Toyota overpowered the need for them to show me sheet metal. I already know Toyota makes great cars. Now I know a lot more. And in this case, the more I learn, the more I like them.

What other car company can say that?

* (Also, the creative is not particularly attention-getting. What is attention-getting is the mechanics of it: all the Good stuff they do, the transparency of it all, and the involvement of the website. It’s the community-building that gets the attention here, not a clever ad. In this case, the most compelling thing is to simply say the truth.)

(PS - If you want another Green car idea that's more closely tied to sales, you may also like THIS.)