Skip to content
December 29, 2010 / tommoradpour

2011 Social TV Mash-Up – 3 Shows I’d Love To… Play!

With all the talk of television being dead, and mobile-taking-over-social-taking-over-the-web like some sort of high-tech turducken, fact is that a majority of people still prefer to stay spectators, a majority of their time. Only 12% of Facebook users update their status daily, 2% of users create 60% of all tweets, and less than 2% of American adults actually use location-based services; meanwhile, even at its lowest since 2002, the American Idol season 9 finale still captured 24.2 million viewers.

Scale vs Depth. 1, 9, 90… and all that jazz.

But those views don’t need to stay opposed. I think 2011 will be the year it all comes together in truly integrated experiences. After all, Twitter is already credited with being TV’s best line of defense against TiVos and other delayed viewing services: nothing beats live play-by-play Sunday football comments, and Keeping Up With The Kardashians is not quite the same if you don’t keep one eye on the show, and another on the tweets.


The most successful properties in 2011 will embrace both the reach and entertaining value of television, and deeper digital experiences. If anything, my bet is that we’ll see show integrating some of the fastest rising digital concepts of 2010: motion tracking, social gaming, location based services. Digital engagement will make shows more involving for fans, TV will drive mass awareness and adoption of the technologies, both will drive new revenue streams. Win-win.

Inspired by this thought, here’s 3 mash-up ideas for trans-media shows I’d love to watch… and play… in 2011!


Nike+ is the grand-dad of motion-enabled digital. It’s awesome because it made the loneliest sport, running, social. Take recent progress in handheld motion detection, add the launch of two motion controlled gaming consoles, and you have the perfect storm for motion-enabled entertainment. Like Nike +’d running, I think lots of shows could be +’d in 2011.

The Biggest Loser is an obvious first choice. The show has already stretched into a game for Wii and Xbox Kinect, with the extra option of playing yourself thin alone, or with a supporting group on friends on Facebook. Awesome. I think the only piece missing is the chance to get on the TV show if you reach a key milestone in the game… but I guess playing the game successfully at home would disqualify you ever entering from the TV show (quite a good thing.)

So how about… Dancing With The Stars+? I’ve never watched the show, but wouldn’t it be awesome to enjoy it through your XBOX with Kinect, and dance off with the show’s participants, in real time from your living room ball room? Or why not motion-capture every move of the TV show’s contestants, and package them as weekly content upgrades for the owners of the game?


In 2010,Simon Fuller’s company 19 Entertainment tried to combine Reality TV and Social Media into one neat package with If I Can Dream. Mind you, Fuller created American Idol, one of the most popular entertainment formats in the world; he knows his TV. His concept was solid – take five star wanabees carefully casted for their raw talent, lovable faces, and credible chances of ‘making it’; put them into a house outfitted with 56 HD cameras; produce a weekly TV show, and make the full 56 streams available online; then create a social competition where the most engaged fans can audition to get on the show as visitors, or as the next houseguests.

Where it it fell on its sword, is on the lack of a network TV slot for scale awareness and watercooler-chatter-worth. You see, the show was only distributed on Hulu, and ended rather abruptly after the “airing” of 32 episodes. But I think the principle is poised to succeed in 2011.

A personal fantasy of mine, I’d love to see the If I Can Dream set up re-created in a real-life office environment. If I Can Work would let an audience see what happens in a corporate environment from the inside, controlling hundreds of cameras placed in every office room, every cubicle, every meeting room. I would envision the show as a mix of Dilbert and The Apprentice – with the good, the bad and the ugly played out in broad daylight. But it would not stop there – with every office task, would come the option for the audience to pitch in their opinion through tweets or votes, or propose work of their own, or compete in a game that lands them a real job. A social game putting recruitment, crowdsourced content and consumer research on steroids.

Maybe someone gets fired every week, but maybe not ;-).


No need to tell you that World of Warcraft is one of the most addictive MMORPG games ever created, with millions more subscribed users than Foursquare, Gowalla and all other location based services combined. MasterChef is one of the most engaging TV properties today, a mirror image of American Idol for food-lovers, promising to take amateur chefs to pro-levels culinary fame, with all the performing challenges, weekly elimination, and charismatic jury you’d expect.

Put all this in a shaker, and you get World of MasterChef, the ultimate foody social game. Play as a chef of a critic, and get “quests” to either cook particular meals or go taste and rate them. Real-world restaurant chefs would enter by putting the challenge items on their menu as “specials”. Critic-players would check-in the restaurants and then rate the contestants on their iPhones. Guilds could be formed to switch tips, recipes and organise meet-ups. Participation would earn everyone experience points, letting participants gain ranks up to the desired “MasterChef” status. The best players get on the TV show’s next season… as either chefs or food critics.


What’s yours?

December 28, 2010 / tommoradpour

Don’t Make Twitter An Echo Chamber – A Follow Up Post

I’m quite happy that my Christmas week-end post ignited quite a debate in the comments section.

Here’s a link, and summary, in case you missed it: in Is Twitter Telling You Only What You Want To Hear, I argued that there was a significant conformity risk in using Twitter as a source of “socially curated news”. When you use your followers as “trusted sources” to filter the links and news you’ll read, you gain in relevance what you lose in diversity. Unless you have an out-of-the-ordinary curiosity, or a policy of following random tweeps, chances are that you follow mostly people like you, with similar interests and opinions. In short, your Twitter stream is like an Echo Chamber where you only hear things you like and agree with. I suggested the half-arsed-controversial solution of nurturing “contrarians” and “antagonists” in our streams… and of recommending them in priority in the #FF weekly ritual.


Thanks all for a great debate in these pages – Michele, Taariq, Jeremy, Carol, Neil, Sumner, Jackie, Dan, Jill, Freddie, Ken, Tom and Michele, thanks for proving me both right and wrong.

I thought the input was rich enough to justify a follow up piece. OK, a short one.


  1. Those who (mostly) agreed with the post, and commented on how easy it was to let your stream become more uniform. Social Entropy at play. But a number of commenters countered that you can address the issue at an individual level, seeking diversity in your stream more actively (e.g. following outside your core area of interest/business), and keeping an eye on more traditional sources and media (assuming they expose you to more diverse stories).
  2. Two commenters (@DanPerezFilms and @Prosperitygal) took on a different tack, and argued that the Twitter-echo-chamber issue is less about sample selection, and more about lack of debate in 140 characters; call it Twitter Etiquette, fear of the social media gods or simple “live and let live”, it’s true that you see more thumbs up than thumbs down in the average tweet, response or RT. This is an even bigger bias, much harder to address.
  3. Finally, one smart cookie moved the debate to a whole different level, suggesting a use of Twitter that is less about opinions, debates and “contrarians”, and more about discovery, inspiration and “igniters” (thanks @LeFreddie, I hope I did not pervert your POV too much). The way Freddie uses Twitter is about finding thought-starters, and people who will ignite fresh thoughts. I must say, I agree.

There is no doubt in my mind that self-selected samples are biased, however careful you are to balance them – birds of a feather effect. And there is also no doubt in my mind that most people lack the desire and drive to engage in real idea confrontation – which is where value is created. And yes – these issues are not exclusive to Social Media; but they are easier to fall into on Social Media. I think “diversity” and “open debates” are the big issues social media will have to address before we can be happy about them displacing traditional news outlets. Big stuff questions for anthropologists?


I think this is worth spending a little bit of time to figure this out for yourself.

What will you do to create more diversity in your stream in 2011, to nurture the contrarians rather than shut them out, to seek out more “igniters”, to create more opportunities for discovery?

December 28, 2010 / tommoradpour

Open Letter To Twitter Metrics Companies: Help Filter Spam And Bots!

I recently started to follow Mark Schaefer‘s advice to block spam and bot accounts who follow me.

Mark made a convincing case for this in a post on his blog {GROW}, based on both the ethics and pride of having a genuine follower list exempt of fake accounts, and on the positive impact this will have on your social scoring on tools such as Klout, Peer Index or Twitalyzer (who consider % of your followers who “act” on your post as a key measure of your influence… experts feel free to jump in if this is not correct).

I find it relatively easy to manage on a daily basis (I typically get 10-25 new followers in any single day), but going back through my 1,500 followers was a real pain. Yesterday and today, I took the time to use My Tweeple and Tweepi to analyze account metrics, figure out who was real, who was not, and block a hundred or so accounts. At the end of the day, I’m sure I blocked a few genuine users, and let many bots and spammers slip through.

There must be a better way. So this is an open letter to the smart “social analytics” guys out there – please help us manage this better.

Here’s the type of accounts I’d consider block-worthy, or at least suspicious enough to warrant a check :

  • Someone who tweets at predictable time intervals. No matter what the interval, if tweets come like clockwork, then the account must be a bot. Some people do automate part of their tweets for convenience (e.g. to post links across multiple time-zones), and that’s OK… As long as a significant portion of their tweets are real and organic, then there should not be a completely predictable pattern to their tweeting, down to minutes or seconds.
  • Someone who only Retweets. I know at least of one person who does only retweets but is still genuine (a Marketing prof by the handle of @niglesiasg)… How do I know he’s real? Because I follow him and know that, for the most part, he retweets interesting stuff. But he’s the exception. The serial Retweeter is more likely to be a bot triggered by keyword searches, such as the word iPad, or Poutine (try it, its funny). There should be a way to figure out a “rule” that triggers an RT, when it’s set on automatic.
  • Someone who only posts with links, or never @ mentions others, or never answers. These could be promo-bots, or broadcasters of interesting content, such as CNN or Mashable… but for all intents and purposes, if there is no chance to ever engage with them, they’re as good as bots to me. What I’d like to do with them is create a list with the most interesting ones, but not clutter my timeline or dillute my engagement metrics with them. Personal choice… but that’s the point. I’d like to have a choice.
  • Someone with an abnormally high number of tweets. No need to go to 360,000 per year (this is the highest in 2010). More reasonably, any account tweeting more than 100 times per day (or 35,000 tweets per year) should go through a spam screen. Funny enough, my own account and most of my friends would actually be flagged. But as 2% of twiter users only drive 60% of all tweets, the list to review would not be that long at these levels.
  • Someone with significanty more followers than tweets. Don’t get me wrong on this one, this will be “organically” the case for anyone famous outside Twitter (like Lady Gaga), or who achieved outstanding popularity on Twitter (like Gary V). What I’m talking about are cases where an account has several thousand followers and less than a dozen tweets. There is no way you can achieve this without “cheating” – the method is quite easy: these type of tweeps start following a few hundred accounts, wait a few days to see who follows back, then flush anyone who did not follow, and start over with a few hundred more. In a matter of weeks, you can build yourself quite a large following… particularly if you don’t mind having only bots set on “auto-follow” following you.
  • I’m sure commenters can add to this list.

My guess – algorithms are already in the works at Klout, Peer Index and Twitalyzer. Maybe there is an efficient way I’m simply not aware of (please share!!!). Peer Index actually has a scoring called “realness”, that estimates how likely it is that a user is a person and not a bot (last I checked, I’m 100% real, YAY!). I’d love this to become a tool I can filter my both followers and following through, in Hootsuite, or in a dedicated tool such as Tweepi… helping me zoom in on the most suspicious accounts.

Please, please… give us a tool!



December 27, 2010 / tommoradpour

Donald Trump, Candy, Beer and Ping-Pong Balls – Success is in the Details

I read a post yesterday by Julien Smith, co-author of Trust Agents with Chris Brogan, titled Donald Trump’s Top Three Tips For Dominating Your Niche. As a true fan of The Apprentice, I felt compelled to read.

Here’s what I learned:

  • Donald Trump focuses on creating massive visibility by playing everywhere in his niche,
  • he creates extra leverage for his brand through barter and partnerships, rather than via cash-buys (think “The Apprentice”),
  • he exceeds expectations by caring about the details, like what the air smells like in his properties.

The last one really caught my eye. Caring about the details – is that what you expect coming from The Donald? Yet. by controlling every little experience detail, Trump projects prestige wherever you look in his properties… or wherever you smell.


In response to a first version of this post, Carol Weinfeld commented on how businesses needed to have a Unique Selling Proposition to succeed. Excuse the Marketing 101 a USP is what you do that your competitors don’t, or what you do dramatically better than anyone else. I could not agree more.

But having a USP is not enough: you need to project it and demonstrate it in remarkable ways.

The “I stand for prestige” message that Donald Trump delivers by controlling the experience down to the way the air smells, other businesses can also achieve by using details as powerful signals of what they stand for. Here’s three more examples, three ways details are used to project a USP. Interestingly, none of them belong to the luxury categories where you could expect the highest attention to detail.


Recently, I visited the New York branch of Papabubble, a boutique candy brand describing themselves as Caramel Artesans. Papabubble reveal their secret right on the website: “(…) excitement and high doses of imagination. To make a Papabubble candy, you need small amounts of sugar and glucose, lots of quality and tons of attention to detail.”

They’re not lying. What you find at Papabubble are multi-colored candies and lollipops with little faces or messages. What’s remarkable is that the messages are not drawn or printed. Rather, every little shape is created by layers and folds built in the very structure of the candy. And they make it right in front of you, in the store.

Don’t ask me how they do it, you have to see it for yourself.

Do the candy taste better because of the messages? No. But taking the time to fold every little letter painstakingly, shows how much they love their creations. What the details project is that everybody in their store is passionate about candy. And if they are so passionate, the candy must taste better.


Stella Artois prides itself on their 9-steps Pouring Ritual – after all, if they’ve spent over 600 years “crafting the perfect beer“, can’t they expect a few seconds more from every bartender to deliver it the right way? When consumers enjoy that perfectly poured Stella, the knowledge of that ritual makes them feel more special – it’s the way beer is supposed to be served and enjoyed; regardless how how much tastier the beer is in reality.

How many other brands do you know that will spend millions of dollars on an ad campaign telling the world how their product should be served? Not a lot. And of course the campaign’s pure genius is to make a made up 9-step pouring ritual, a reality – it puts extra pressure on bartenders to follow it by making their patrons more aware of… a detail.


SPiN New York is a club in the heart of Manhattan with 13,000 feet dedicated to… table tennis. You don’t need to bring anything to play: they’ll outfit you with paddles and balls, and set you up on one of their 16 courts, err, tables. Now, if you’re like me, you really need 3 balls to play; maybe 5. Play with one… keep a couple in your other hand… when they’re all out, have a swag of beer, pick them up and start again. So the expectation is to be given 3 to 5 balls.

Not at SPiN.

SPiN gives you a full bucket of balls. 50, maybe 100. Too many to count. Too many to play with. And that’s the point, because this unexpected generosity changes the way you engage with the game. Now, you have as many balls as you possibly want, to play more competitively, more randomly, more playfully. Who cares if a ball goes across the room, or if you crush one… you’ll never run out. You can even ping-pong fight your mates if you want.

All that time previously spent picking up balls is now spent having fun & socializing; which is why SPiN does not describe itself as a ping-pong place, but as a social place, where you come to drink and chill before you come to play. A bucket of balls goes beyond exceeding consumers expectations – it’s waaay too much. But it’s the fun and over-the-top generous detail that defines the SPiN experience. Also, I suspect, it’s very unexpensive to provide – why wouldn’t you give consumers a bucket of balls?


Something seemingly unimportant (at least to your competitors) can have a disproportionate effect on how unique your brand experience will look and feel to your customers. So, it’s always worth spending too much time on seemingly unimportant elements of your mix, like proverbial chocolates on the pillow of a hotel room. Or what you write inside your candy. Or the art of pouring your beer. Or how many balls you let your consumers play with.

What details in your business could you over-commit to, to project how skilled, expert, passionate you really are?


Here’s what your customers will think : if they care about these small details in their business, they will care about another small detail… me.

December 24, 2010 / tommoradpour

Is Twitter Telling You Only What You Want To Hear?

My morning newpaper is now Twitter.

The other day, I noted that my morning ritual had changed since I embraced Twitter – I now really enjoy an early 30mn in the day, with a cup of coffee , and Twitter as a modern-day version of the newspaper. I tweeted this observation and got a good dozen of answers from my followers, all telling me they were like me. Truth be told, I’ve never had a newspaper habit, but I now love getting my news via friends and peers, from those 500 of so people I chose to follow. From memes to jokes to marketing news and blogs, it’s my daily source of most relevant inspiration, information and entertainment.

For many, Twitter, Facebook, or bookmarking services now serve as news sources, all with a major advantage over traditional media. This advantage is best described as the Social Filter. No need to crawl yourself through the endless clutter of ‘all the news fit to print‘: simply read what trusted sources post or repost, and you are guaranteed to find news relevant to your interests. Some people even argue that a serious user of such services should never subscribe to any publishers directly (be it CNN, Mashable or Chris Brogan), but rather set their sights on readers of these sources who will retweet only the best pieces.

It’s all a huge ponzie of social news that Dick Costolo and Mark Zuckerberg are preparing for us.

OK, this is what I do. And it works well… Much too well in fact.

Here’s the big downside of Social Networks as sources of shared news and opinions: you like everything. Everything is relevant to your interests, consistent with your established opinions, fits your view of the world. It hit me while reading yesterday’s post by Seth Godin, titled “Three ways TV Changed Everything“. I’ll quote the segment that really got me thinking:

The mcw (million channel world) bring silos, angry tribes and insularity. Fox News makes a fortune by pitting people against one another. Talkingpointsmemo is custom tailored for people who are sure that the other side is wrong. You can spend your entire day consuming media and never encounter a thought you don’t agree with, don’t like or don’t want to see.

Think about it. Can you spend your entire day on Twitter, reading tweets and clinking links, without ever encountering a thought you really disagree with? I went back in my timeline yesterday and realized how right Seth was.

The Social Filter is highly polarized.

There is no evil plan at hand here; just human gregariousness. Everyone I friend on Facebook is… well, a friend. I picked all my trusted sources on Twitter. Chances are that if you are reading this, you are probably connected to me via one of these two (@ me on Twitter if that’s not the case.)

How did I pick you?

  • either I already knew you,
  • you said something I thought was clever,
  • you shared a story I found interesting,
  • or you were recommended by someone I respect.

Photographers will appreciate the ‘polarizing’ filter analogy – it’s a filter that lets light rays come through only from a particular direction. As a Social Filter, my twitter-following-list is highly polarizing because I populated it with people I agree with in the first place. So there is really no surprise that I only see opinions and news I agree with: it comes only from people I agree with, from one direction only. Mostly.

Why this is bad: if we’re 106,000,000 and we all think alike, we’re 105,999,999 too many.

Well, unless you’re a real fan of Fox News or another news outlet tainted by a particular view of the world, you may like to get multiple perspectives on any issue; you want to have the opportunity to weight both sides of a debate to form your own thoughts; and seeing news that are sometimes unexpected and different from what you’re used to will broaden your perspectives. If I’ve learned anything from holding a “global” marketing job, it’s the value of diversity – situations, points of views, opinions. What’s the point of having access to 106 million Twitter users if you only listen to the ones who think like you? You just end up talking and listening to yourself.

So what should we do about it?

Simple – we need to find our contrarians, our antagonists. We must seek sources of divergence, value debate and disagreement. Have as many zaggers to our own ziggings in this so-called Social Filter of ours. This is why I value the point of view of someone like Dan Perez (@danperezfilms), who won’t hold back when he does not agree. Or that of Olivier Blanchard (@thebrandbuilder), who posted a major rant yesterday about social media conventional wisdom and his frustration at not being able to impact more of its practitioners. And this is why I will be most happy if at least half the comments to this post tell me the thousand ways I got it wrong (so long as the other half wishes me a Merry Christmas!)

We can all start today!

Here’s my plan. Let’s make #FollowFriday useful again, as opposed to this self-serving clutter of @mentions.

Instead of recommending someone because you agree with them, or like them, find someone who bugs you, who shared something you did not like or did not agree with. And explain just that. Let’s cherish #zaggers in our timeline and make it a point to hold on to those who make us cringe… and challenge our established points of view.

Trust me, you’ll thank me later. You can even say that person you disagree with… is me 😉

December 14, 2010 / tommoradpour

5 Things I Learned From Kim Kardashian’s Death

Relax. Kim Kardashian is not dead. Or at least, she’s been brought back to life.

What am I talking about? In the first week of December, Kardashian joined some 20 other celebs in a fundraiser organized by Alicia Keys’s great foundation – Keep A Child Alive – to help children orphaned by AIDS in Africa and India.

The campaign, orchestrated by TBWA\Chiat\Day, was called “Digital Death“. On Dec 1st, it dramatically announced the death of the 20 stars, and then invited their fans to “buy them back to life” through online and texted donations.

Of course, no one really died – the stars were only dead on their social media, meaning they pledged to keep silent on Twitter and Facebook until a certain donation goal had been reached. One million dollars to be specific.

This is my second post in a month taking learnings from “cause” marketing in social media – I don’t plan on making this an ongoing topic, but I think there’s a lot to be learned from this space (plus, I believe “social” will make “good” more and more effective, which is… a good thing!). The first thing to say is that this campaign drove a lot of conversation, and achieved its objective. So, Kudos. Big Kudos.

Still, as I compare it with the results of the cause in my previous post, I’m left with the nagging feeling this could have been much bigger. Digital Death raised $1mm in one week with their all-star cast, while Movember exceeded $60mm worldwide through the united efforts of anonymous supporters. Good, but probably could have been better.

So, I think there are learnings to be taken from both what went well and what didn’t. I’ll welcome more facts to balance this point of view, but in the meantime, here’s 5 key things I think we can already learn from Digital Death:

1. STAR POWER CAN START A FIRE (…) – Alicia Keys, Lady Gaga, Kim Kardashian, Ryan Seacrest, Justin Timberlake, Usher, Jennifer Hudson, Khloe Kardashian, Lenny Kravitz, Jay Sean,  Serena Williams, Elijah Wood… The impressive list goes on. It’s enough to make every brand marketer who’s ever experienced the cut-through boost stars can bring to a campaign, drool with envy. The “SO AND SO IS DEAD” headline was provocative and bold and the combined audience of the 20 celebs on Facebook and Twitter was a whooping 94 million to start with. Killer awareness combination. And so it shows in numbers: on the first day, close to $150,000 were raised, and countless tweets, retweets, likes, comments and blogpost drove awareness of the campaign launch.

2. (…) BUT YOU NEED TO FAN IT – This is where the execution starts to fall short. Day 2, 3, 4… donations drag, and it looks like the stars might be dead longer than planned. No worries, they’ll rally the troops, right? wrong – they’ve gone radio silent with less than a single daily reminder per head. Think about it: this campaign had access to some of the most popular personalities on the planet, and yet chose to… silence them. And don’t assume fan retweets and likes would be enough to keep the momentum going – stars do have million of followers on Twitter, but most of them have virtually no following of their own. For example, I took a random sample of 350 twitter followers of Kim Kardashian via and found an average of only 27 followers per fan, and less than one tweet a day. Getting the stars to actually promote the campaign seems to me like a no brainer. Did they really all have to “die”? Why not keep some big guns alive to promote more actively? Why not make it a social competition between the stars, first to reach their share of the target with help of their fans?

3. SOCIAL MEDIA IS NOT A POPULARITY CONTEST – This may be the biggest insight gap of the campaign. Of course, no-one took it literally, thinking the stars were really dead. And nobody missed the update so much they felt compelled to give. But still, the assumption was that the high popularity of the stars would translate into influence, “driving their fans to action”. Check out this Dan Zarrella research suggesting Kim Kardashian is one of the most influential celebs, as measured by an amazing 1.1% click through rate on her links. But make no mistake: clicking to see pictures of Kim meeting Katy Perry backstage is not the same as clicking to make a donation. This is the limit of defining influence or “loyalty” through blind metrics such as the size of your social media audience; a “follow” or “like” is not a measure of universal respect or commitment. Take Facebook, even the almighty Lady Gaga commanded only 0,32% post-likes from her 24 million fans; “likes”, not “donations”. Not to mention that asking followers of these stars for a $10 minimum donation was… well, let’s just say it was very ambitious!

4. SUCCESS IS WHAT YOU SAY IT IS – Back to the $1 million target, and to a positive. You know what? They set a goal and reached it. I’m not quite sure how, but they exceeded it even, as $1,106,000 have been donated so far. Alicia Keys set her sight on a target, and achieved it in a week. This matters because it puts her in a great position to reach a higher target next year, building from the positive reputation of a “win”.

5. DON’T GO WITHOUT AN EXIT STRATEGY – Finally, no matter what, making sure you have a plan B is crucial. 6 days after the start of the campaign, donations reached a half million total, and a generous donator called Stewart Rahr matched the amount single handedly, pushing Digital death over the finish lines. How long would it have lasted without him, was it planned from the start… we’ll never know. I’ll chose to believe this was well planned to allow for a graceful outcome. Just in case – hope for the best and plan for the worst.

Of course, I can’t conclude without thinking of how much would have been raised if fans had the option to keep some of those celebs silent instead of bringing them back to social media life. Sorry, cheap shot I know – I couldn’t help it 😉

What did you think of this campaign? Anything else you would have done differently?

December 12, 2010 / tommoradpour

Spectacular Mind-Control In BMW Advertising

Eating popcorn, waiting for the feature to start, the cinema audience is watching the usual tunnel of movie trailers and ads. In one of them, Ruben Xaus – World Vice Champion of Superbike – tells the audience “why he races“; a question he gets “every day“.

Should the audience feel particularly interested? Well, the photography is beautiful, wide and low, in black and white; the edit is a good-paced blend of speed and human emotion; the story has got tension, in particular when Ruben concludes “…it’s my dream and it’s your dream too – close your eyes and you will see it.

The only strange detail is the total absence of branding. Other than that, is it remarkable? Probably not.

Except that when asked to close their eyes at the end of the film, the audience can now see a very distinct BMW logo appear in front of their shut eyes. Magic? Mind-control? Or was it what they wanted to see all along? One thing is for sure, they will be talking about this BMW ad for longer than they will talk about the feature they purchased a ticket for.

You’ll have to watch the video below to find out how BMW did it. It’s actually much simpler than you’d think and borrows more from simple medical knowledge than from the secret codex of a Sorcerer’s Apprentice.

To me, the learning is that when you do truly “remarkable” and hit your audience with a punch they really did not expect, you can achieve all three elements of brand building at once – the creative teams behind this amazing ad turned a common Broadcast occasion into a unique Brand Experience, and will be driving scores of Buzz & Sharing. Yes, it cost them more than the standard advertising slot. Yes, it will also be controversial as it conjures up old demons of subliminal advertising and other neuro-marketing fantasies. But I’d say well worth it, well done BMW!


Let’s just hope the logo did not permanently embed itself on spectators’ retinas 🙂

What do you think?


Related posts: