Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Product Placement Law – Opportunities for Brands

I was reading one of Stan Lee’s most excellent posts today on how the UK has just introduced a product placement law.

I left a comment but as is so often the case with me I feel inspired to leave a comment but then decide that the comment could be turned into an actual blog post (rather than clog up Stan’s comments section with 500 words or so).

Stan writes that the “logo only has to appear for 3 seconds at the start and end of a show” and that “it has to appear in a corner of the screen and be the same size as any network logo or watermark”.

No doubt we all agree this is pretty lame and a complete waste of tax payers money. I shudder to think how much they spent on this exercise while they cut public services in the UK following the GFC.

For me, I think the real winner are the products/brands. I think there is a real opportunity for brands to leverage this. Why even pretend to hide in shows anymore?

Imagine this …

Logo shows up at the start of the show and the brand uses is social channels, or maybe even buys paid space before or during the show, to alert fans/customers that the product will be in the show and that they are running a competition around when people see the product placement. Product bingo if you like.

This situation would strengthen ties with existing fans/customers and would probably end up attracting more as they tweeted or facebook status updated their spotting of the product. It could create a hell of a lot of buzz and engagement.

I can see that opportunity for products but do you think his will take away the focus on the show as people look more intently for the product placement instead of paying attention to the content?

Or can you see other opportunities for the brands?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

What Makes A Good Hashtag?

It was  Friday night and I was on the lounge watching the cricket. I had moved from Tooheys Old to red wine and was regularly picking up my iPhone to check what people were up to on Twitter and Facebook.

I saw a tweet from @SeanCallanan, of Sports Geek with the hashtag #madeupbaseballfact. Sean was retweeting some of the made up baseball facts that people were tweeting. They were pretty funny.

SportsGeekStrategy_017-001 I Just Came Up With It

“I just came up with the idea to generate some connection” Sean says. “The next night, @SportzfanRadio were calling the final game of the Melbourne Aces for the season. Baseball commentary is all about statistics & telling great stories while the action continues out of the diamond. So I thought that a fun way to get people involved would be for them to tweet made up baseball facts that we could use during the broadcast.” Sean also used the Sports Geek blog to promote it here.

Making Stuff Up

I started following the hashtag and even though I don’t know much about or follow baseball I decided to participate. I figured I was as good as making stuff up as anyone else. I mean, I once told someone, after they told me they didn’t have a middle name, that the reason they didn’t have a middle name was because their parents were poor. “What?” they asked. “Yeah, they were poor. You see, it costs $10 a letter on your birth certificate for your name and your parents obviously couldn’t afford it”. They believed me. I still feel a little bad. Just a little.


So I tweeted …

@SeanCallanan it used 2 b a baseball rhombus but was revised to a diamond cause groundsmen didn't know WTF a rhombus was #madeupbaseballfact
@SeanCallanan #madeupbaseballfact Jesus Christ, pitching 4 Jerusalem, pitched the perfect game 10 times in a row #devineinterventionscandal

Apart from my own comic genius tweets, there were a few crackers but this was one of my favs,

@downesy Prior to the advent of the "cup", a batter was awarded 1st base only if struck in the testicles. Hence "a base on balls" #madeupbaseballfact
The Power of the Hashtag

One of Sean’s favourite tweets was @adamajacoby: 7th inning stretch introduced in 1959 to give fans an opportunity to move car and avoid parking fines #madeupbaseballfact

What struck me was the power of the hashtag to get someone to join in when they weren’t really part of the baseball community. Normally when I see a hashtag it is simply about being able to follow a conversation rather than generate one. In fact, often I see them in a tweet and have no idea what they are referencing.

madeupbasballfact Successful or Not?

“It was definitely successful” Sean says. “I wasn’t really sure how it would go. Sometimes things work, sometimes they don’t. I didn’t have any real expectations but we ended up getting 134 tweets using the hash tag on the night. That gave us a reach of about 30 000 to 40 000 people. About 20 of those Tweets reached over 20 000 people. Interestingly, the radio station that we were broadcasting for, 88.3 Southern FM, had an increase in listeners on the Saturday night of about 1000%”

“The hashtag also started trending in Melbourne and then after a couple of hour it eventually started trending in Australia. So I think all in all it was successful” Sean added.

How to use Hashtags more Effectively

So, should we be using hashtags more often for more than just merely tagging a conversation or to simply track how often we have something retweeted? I figured that if a hashtag like this one could get me engaged then surely it would be even easier for those communities/topics/brands that I was actually interested in to get me involved.

My advice would to use a hashtag like the old blog tip “finish with a question” so as to invite people to join in. Sure it might not be a question but don’t make it a meaningless hashtag unless you simply want to track tweets. It should start a conversation where people feel compelled to add to it. Something that seems like a question or an invitation will do the trick perfectly.

Further Hashtag Education

If you want another great example of a hashtag people feel they can just join in with and contribute content, as opposed to just using it to organise tweets, then check out the post What Makes a Good Hashtag? It’s Not Science by Mathew Ingram over at GigaOM  which looks at the hashtag #lessambitiousfilms

More on Sports Geek

Sean was a great sport (pardon the pun) in giving me some time on the phone to pester him about the hashtag exercise so be sure to check out all the cool stuff he is doing at Sport Geek and follow them on

  • @SeanCallanan – want to talk sports & tech with Sean then follow here.
  • @SportsGeekHQ – the company account – news, blog posts, articles.
  • @SportzfanRadio – weekly radio show Sean appears on follow for show reminders and in-show tweets

More madeupbaseballfact#

made up baseball fact all tweets

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

My New Job as a Knowledge Sharing Community Manager

Today I resigned from my role as Strategic Marketing & Sales Manager at Tanner James Management Consultants.

It always feels weird, but also nice, resigning from a job when you aren’t leaving because you are unhappy. It feels weird because there is nothing wrong with the role, I enjoy it. It isn’t like I hate it and can’t wait to get out. It also feels nice because it is a career move and not one made in unhappiness. It means that I can leave with good relationships intact. The bosses are genuinely happy for me.

It has been almost 3 years since I joined Tanner James and I have learnt plenty. I haven’t just learnt things about business but also things about myself and I am very very grateful for the opportunity John Howarth and Ian McDermott, the Directors, have provided me.

Mrs Oyster and I have some family goals which we need to fund so a move or asking for a raise was always on the cards but I wasn’t going to worry about it for a while. It wasn’t like I was unhappy!

But then I got a Seek job alert on the email which was a little different. It wasn’t the usual “we are a leading IT company blah blah selling software/blue cable/boring stuff to the government”. That’s most or the “marketing” jobs in Canberra. Instead, as I read it I thought “now that is the kinda job description I would write for myself if I could create my own role”.

So I went for an interview and got offered the job and in a month’s time I will be the Community Manager at Global Carbon Capture and Storage Institute.

The Institute is a not-for-profit entity which  brings together the public and private sectors to build and share the know-how and expertise necessary to ensure that carbon capture and storage (CCS) can make a significant impact on reducing the world’s greenhouse gas emissions.

CCS can reduce some 20 per cent of the total greenhouse gas emission reductions necessary between now and 2050. At the moment CCS can be done although it hasn’t been implemented on a commercially viable level and doesn't have widespread adoption. As such, the Institute is focussed on supporting projects and sharing their knowledge to assist more than 3,000 projects which need to get off the ground over the next four decades.

Should be awesome working on something that can have a global impact. It is excellent that an organisation realises the importance of this type of role and that the emphasis for knowledge sharing through communities is coming from the top down. I think one of the advantages is that it is not an old organisation and so they aren’t trying to retrospectively fit social media and a knowledge sharing approach.

One of the things that drew me to the role was a quote I have stuck on my office wall from a Fast Company interview with Alex Bogusky,

So, I have to ask," I start. "Is there any notion of a midlife crisis in this? You do happen to be 46." Cradling a cup of chamomile tea, Bogusky releases a quiet laugh. "Yeah, just happen to be," he smiles. "You know, I'm not completely unaware that that's what this could be." He pauses, looking off to the Rockies.

"I'm trying to think ... midlife crises occur generally because we fear death, right? And I'm pretty sure I don't fear death. So maybe, what do I fear?" He pauses again.

"What I fear -- actually, I'll tell you what it is -- what I fear is, I fear" -- his eyes start to pink around the rims, his voice cracks -- "I fear a moment when my children are older, and they look at me and say, 'What did you do? The world is like a spiralling cesspool. You were an adult, you needed to do something, I was just a kid. What did you do?' I want to be able to say, I did this, this, and this. And did my best. Yeah, that's it. It is a midlife crisis, and it's not my death. It's the fear of not being able to say that you tried, in all sincerity. I think it's a new kind of midlife crisis."

As Community Manager, I will be facilitating the sharing of that knowledge in the CCS community and working towards making a difference in the world.