Transmedia

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After reading a Sony Vaio laptop ad this morning I clicked on the QR code.  These little goodies are the rage, and rightly so, but many marketers haven’t quite figured them out yet.  The worst attempts send people to the company homepage or a Facebook page.  The best provide a trail of proof for the ad claim that moves the consumer closer to purchase – taking the ad logic and selling premise and extending it.  Somewhere in the middle are marketers who provide lists of additional information, either in text or clickables.  Sony’s effort fell in the middle. Their QR code mobile landing site offers a video that is still loading, some nice product specs, price variations, special offers, way under the fold a smart showcase of the illuminated key board feature, a claim about flying from NY to Rome on one charge, powered by Microsoft Windows 7, and something about a kitchen sink.

Ad agencies all complain that their business models and profitability have changed.  The fact is, the things they sell have changed and they’ve been slow to adapt.  This QR code exercise points out how many new things agencies get to make – beyond ads – to enhance the client selling experience and make more money. Happy, happy.

Using a fishing metaphor, ad agencies are focused on the hook — lo, they celebrate the hook — but they forget the line, pole, boat, and fish keeper. (The Vaio video is still loading.)

In my posts about Twitch Point Planning I write of the need to use transmedia or cross media twitches to move customers closer to purchase. That is the absolute best purpose of a QR code. Yet many are lazily using the code simply to move consumers closer to information. Disorganized information at that.  Still loading.  Peace!

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In a Forbes interview with David Eastman, CEO, JWT North America, he speaks of his shop’s unique place in history. Of course, some of it was the same old/same old, which made sense for the audience, but what really stuck out was JWT’s commitment to integrating digital into its offering.  Mr. Eastman may be the first digital officer to CEO a major holding company ad shop.

For a big global shop like JWT, digital is really the R&D department. R&D never really existed at agencies before.  Sure, there were innovations think tanks and media kitchens but those were mostly window dressing.  Eastman believes R&D is an investment not an expense and because JWT hangs with major consumer brands and has a strong brand planning culture, everyone gets the value of a powerful brand idea and everyone gets a seat at the table. This R&D department isn’t off campus in a lab somewhere. Even creatives are open to the manifest destiny love (ish).

So what does this mean?  The outputs are better.  The ads are informed by digital insights, the didge is coddled by emotional consumer brand ideas, and the media intersects at just the right moment. The work doesn’t feel like work to many consumers, it feels welcome and softly influential. “Soft influence.” Hmm, I like that.

Sometime the approach is a little sloppy, sometimes it’s quite elegant, but it’s almost always goaled (as they say) on being brand-strategic.  In this tactics-palooza marketing world, a holding company shop with a transmedia team working with the wind at its back offers a superior product.  But you knew that. Peace!

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