Close-Up: How to drive digital marketing forward in 2010

campaignlive.co.uk, Friday, 12 February 2010 12:00AM

It doesn't matter if they are in the direct marketing or digital arena, Stuart Parkinson thinks clever ideas will make a mark.

1. Time to learn something from Ikea

2009 was the year when a few brands and agencies produced standout work that properly leverages the scale and features of social networks and utilities such as Facebook and Twitter.

The "tag a sofa" campaign for Ikea by Forsman & Bodenfors (http://bit.ly/c8ctMM), which allowed Ikea customers to tag pieces of furniture on a Facebook page in a bid to win that item, "Whopper sacrifice" by Crispin Porter & Bogusky and the awesomely popular "4320:LA" for V Australia by Droga5 showed people that you can have product-relevant, powerful and spreadable ideas that exist in these previously hard-to-tame media spaces.

These campaigns have opened people's minds up to a new way of thinking about this sphere that is much more focused on the individual functionality of the platform. Finally, people are recognising that for an idea to work, it must be landed in an existing behaviour.

2. Now it's less about technology showcases and more about ideas

I don't think I'd be exaggerating if I said that this Pringles ad (http://bit.ly/jScF0) is one of the most-often-clicked, longest-played-with online ads that has ever been launched. This Coke ad (http://bit.ly17A6Qg) probably isn't far behind.

You'll notice something about these executions: they are brutally simple, interactive, addictive and devoid of anything other than basic Flash programming. No-one is asking your permission to access your webcam, asking you to blow into your microphone or making you get tangled up in interactive film.

Digital agencies from the early part of the decade were constantly trying to one-up each other with new ways of using technology to make even more novel executions, often at the cost of the idea. Awards were won with novelty, but in the days when consumers have mind-blowing technology coming out of their ears, there's been a clear reversion to the quality and originality of the basic idea. Sweet.

3. Let's light lots of fires in different places

Agencies know that the days of a monolithic creative idea are dead. Spending 99 per cent of the pot on one idea was, ironically, how the clients were used to working. It's taken a while and a lot of work from digital agencies for clients to catch up.

Brands that are doing digital best such as Burger King, Penguin Books and Diesel are au fait with creating many cheap, scaleable ideas and launching them all, conscious that not all of them will stick. At £50,000 a pop, you could launch four ideas for the cost of a TV ad production budget or four full-page inserts in the nationals. You light four fires, you pour petrol on the ones that take, and then you remember what works for next year.

4. The Android is nigh

2010 will be the year that Android grows and grows. It was released early to fanfare among geeks and not much noise elsewhere. Android 2.0 will mean that the various devices that run it will get a worthy, mass-market, operating system.

For all the talk of the size and popularity of the iPhone app store, iPhones are still and will remain a minority. Android will become the mass platform of choice and the integration it offers between cameras, microphones, maps, social networks and GPS will mean that there's potential for brands to release some killer applications.

5. Transparency gets even more radical

Fmylife.com, facebookfails.com, myparentsjoinedfacebook.com, untagmondays.com, textsfromlastnight.com etc, the list of bare-all, social network-based sites grows.

The teen to twentysomething demographic has opened itself up more than anyone could have predicted. These sites have effectively dissolved privacy boundaries and there's an opportunity for the right brands to be bold enough to get down and dirty in this sphere, or perhaps figure out apps or spaces that give their audience more chances to brag, shame and untag.

6. The internet will bleed into reality

People will sort of cut up the internet and use bits of it to augment the real world. It's hard to explain, but you can see a nice example of what I'm talking about at http://bit.ly.IN31Y, where Poke London built, using Arduino technology, a device that let the baker Tweet out his freshest produce to the surrounding Shoreditch admen so they can take a break to gobble a pain au chocolat or get stuck into freshly baked doughnuts.

7. Everything will change, but nothing will change at all

Just as with online ads, the sooner people obsess less over media and technology and more over insight, originality and creativity, the better the work will be and the less presentations (or articles ...) you'll have to read about "why X is the next big thing".

There is only one big thing, be that in digital or DM. And that is an engaging idea.

8. People will switch off

My flatmate showed me that on his "jailbroken" iPhone, he's programmed buttons on his homescreen that enable him to choose not to receive calls, just be able to make calls and just be able to use the 3G data connection. He's reached the point where he needs to switch off.

Approximately 83.9 per cent of people sleep with their phone switched on beside their bed; we're so addicted to attention, we even want to be woken up by a text at 2.37am - but we're tiring of it.

Twitter will have opening hours. Phones will have buttons that let them only be used as data devices or cameras, you'll be able to choose for Facebook to only allow you to log in ten times a day. Gmail is already testing a "take a break" feature that allows you to get on with real work.

Without doubt, the brands that can get a handle on the fact that people don't always want to be in touch or pestered will be the brands winning people's hearts in 2010.

- Stuart Parkinson is a planner at VCCP.

This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk

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