Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Since when is "social media" just a Facebook fan page?

Ad Age recently named Mother, New York agency of the year. And while the article covers much of their recent work, which is all very interesting stuff, one of their ideas in particular really caught my eye:

"For Target, Mother recaptured the marketer's design-oriented sunniness with a nine-faced Times Square billboard-turned-product. The agency recruited four New York artists to create the 20,000 square foot poster and then, adding a green/design/turn-your-marketing-spend-into-revenue twist, the agency repurposed the vinyl into 1,600 mini works of art, each available for purchase on Target.com, and then re-re-purposed each piece into a handbag designed by Anna Sui. The handbags sold out in a week."

On the same day, other news comes from Ad Age that P&G is planning to invest heavily in making Facebook a big part of its marketing plan.

“‘P&G's explicit goal for 2010 is to assure that each of its brands has a meaningful presence on Facebook, and they are willing to pay dearly for that,’ Mr. Hornik wrote. ‘And while P&G's thought leaders expressed some skepticism about the efficacy of Facebook's “engagement ads,” they certainly view Facebook as a must-have for digital advertising and brand building.’”

What jumped to mind after reading these two articles was that both of these “ideas” could probably benefit greatly from the other.

With a stronger Facebook strategy Target could have facilitates spreading news about their event/ stunt/ product to fans of the brand and a wider audience in general. I really like Target and I would have enjoyed hearing about this, but I didn’t. It’s a great story and there’s no reason they couldn’t have told it on Facebook and other social media platforms. Why limit the exposure of this event to NYC when your customers are all over the world and connected? Even if I don't buy a bag just knowing about them elivates the brand's identity in my mind.

On the other side, P&G might incorporate Facbook into their marketing plan, but unless they have something more to bring to the table other than a fan page, contest or quirky app I just don’t know if anyone is going to care. Why on earth would I friend P&G? Tide or Duracell? The unspoken transaction that advertising trades entertainment for attension is just as true online as off. People want something interesting and fun, and just because they are sitting at their computers all day doesn’t mean they want to feel that way. Social media is a channel or a tactic for disseminating a message, and not much of a message in itself.

I think this all ties back into the discussion of what creativity means in a digitally connected world. I don't think you need to be on social to be social--but, if you want to be successful on the social media channel it seems that we need to think about the conversation and what it means to be conversational.


Danielle Ouellette said...

Maybe I'm just too "old" or being too picky, but I really don't enjoy connecting with brands on Facebook. For me, and perhaps this is because my class at Northeastern was part of generationg #1 on FB, it is only (mostly) for connecting and staying in touch with friends. Real, flesh & blood friends (and some accquaintances... or that really hot kid from your Business Ethics class... you know). This is also why I separate LinkedIn connections, FB connections, and Twitter followers. But, maybe I'm in the minority.