I always keep an eye on what my friend Laurence Green’s company Fallon is doing (disclosure: our elder daughters have known each other since they were about three weeks old and still seem to be best friends).
The reason I keep Fallon in sight is that they’re a pretty smart bunch and the company behind many top-notch, super-creative ad campaigns here in the UK, like the Cadbury’s Gorilla, the latest Eyebrows work, as well as the truly great Sony TV campaign (though Laurence would always say that great work comes from having great clients). And they aren’t just big budget only TV-oriented Mad Men: they’re really exploring the range of social media techniques and applying them to consumer branding and promotion. For example, they took advantage of a a clamour from consumers on Facebook for the return of the Cadbury’s Wispa chocolate bar with a clever FaceBook group, website and ads.
Here’s one of the really interesting examples of that. Fallon’s Aki Spicer has done a great presentation on a social media experiment conducted by one of his colleagues. In September 2008, Fallon’s Executive Creative director, Al Kelly, posted a video to YouTube called ‘Kittens Inspired by Kittens’.
Within five months, the video had had 4.8 million views on YouTube, 95,000 references on blogs around the world, 64,000 Tweets and 1.5 million Google searches (and had inspired 28 traditional media stories). Aki’s presentation identifies five lessons we can all learn from this feline story when developing conversational ideas for brands. The thought process is obviously aimed at consumer brands (you don’t really get those numbers in B2B), but the five lessons nevertheless feel important:
- Never underestimate the power of networks
- You never know where the social network fire may get lit, so be generous with the matches – allow people to steal liberally
- Social media groundswells tend to bubble up in the fringes, among nerds, geeks and weirdos, before spreading to the mainstream (and then back again)
- Don’t be bland or grey – embrace your creativity and prepare to be outrageous
- Broadcast-level style and glossy production values simply won’t cut it.
Lots of our clients are asking us to get involved in viral marketing now and this Fallon learning is instructive. What’s cool about the video is the spontaneity of the little girl (she’s so fluent, but can you script someone so young?) combined with the hand-flung, but sophisticated camera work. A hard act to follow.
Check out the presentation…