Soft drinks are fattening, this is a fact not a particular opinion of mine. New York is putting a ban on soft drink sizes and now Coke has come out with what I can only describe as a cynical ploy to make themselves look as though they care about the issue of obesity.

Some highlights if you don’t want to watch the whole video:

  • We’ve lowered calories across our products and industry
  • We’ve created smaller, portion controlled sizes
  • We’ve added the calorie count on the front of our packaging
  • We’ve started putting water, juices and low or no calorie products into schools
  • We’ve given money to charities that promote exercise
  • It’s up to you to burn more calories than you put in

It’s hard not to feel a bit fuzzy about the effort Coke has put into their marketing effort but ultimately this is the same as the cigarette industry offering ten packs with a lower tar content. The effort required get rid of a single can of Coke is an hour run and the picture below truly explains what you’re putting into your body. Lower calorie drinks and juices still have a fair share of sugar in them.



Six digital trends for 2013

As 2012 draws to a close it’s time for some predictions as to what will be big in the next year. I’ll be writing my top five for next year early next week but for now I found some pretty interesting trends. For me the most exciting one is the thought of axing QR codes. I recently saw a QR code on the street pole ad (about A2) with a tiny QR code on it. What do they expect, for us to

Smartphone and tablets divided

Smartphone and tablets are often lumped together in the mobile category, but usage and impact of these devices varies greatly. Smart marketers will start delineating their messaging accordingly.

Tablet usage tends to be more research and entertainment focused, whereas smartphone usage is more task focused. In 2013, we’ll have more ways to target and identify device types and deliver better messaging. This not only applies to digital media opportunities, but also to your response goals and metrics as well.

The new shareable experience

Digital interactions have always been one-on-one. You don’t use your computer or surf the web with other people watching over your shoulder. We don’t invite friends over to gather around a computer to watch movies. But that’s starting to change.

Today’s mobile computer usage reminds me of the early days of digital photography. When people first started using digital cameras, the first thing they did after taking a picture was to quickly turn the camera around and show their friends the photo on the back of the camera. The same thing is now happening with mobile. Photos taken on smartphones are often shared with other people immediately via text, Facebook, Instagram, and via other means. This includes the people sitting on the couch next to them.

Death of the QR code

The QR code has struggled for years to gain adoption. It’s a simple idea: QR codes gave us the ability to quickly get to detailed information by simply scanning a graphic. Great concept — but a horrible experience for a variety of reasons.

First, code scanning isn’t native on many devices. You have to download a special app, pull it up, and scan the image. Second, marketers have, for the most part, fallen short on their implementation of QR codes. For those of you who have tried to scan a bar code, how many times are you brought to a home page, a non-mobile page, or a page that had the same info you just read when you scanned? Where’s the benefit in that experience? So, unless code scanning becomes native in new devices and marketers start really using them for the intended purpose, QR codes will be going the way of Betamax.

Direct video sharing

With tools like Instagram and Snapchat, people have realized the power and fun of sharing images. In 2013, I expect we’ll see opportunities to start sharing videos the same way. Marketers are going to jump at this opportunity by inserting pre-rolls, sponsor sharing, and other promotions.

The privacy debate will get a verdict

There’s been a lot of discussion about whether or not cookie tracking is an invasion of privacy, and in 2013, there will be some legislation either for or against cookie tracking. And either way, digital advertising will increase.

Marketers will still have a need to build awareness and increase purchase intent. How we do it might change, but the need and opportunity won’t diminish. I encourage marketers not to waste a lot of effort complaining about how this works out. Instead, embrace the decision. Direct mail has always had more consumer data than we ever see, and broadcast has built a huge business on limited ratings data with limited audience detail. Digital marketing isn’t going away.

Increased focus on the social environment, instead of building a social platform

Marketers will finally tire of trying to manage and lead the conversation in social. They will instead focus on surrounding and participating in conversations.

Social media is about personal interaction and conversation, and people don’t invite brands into those conversations. In 2013, we’ll see a shift from brands trying to build their own social platforms; instead, they’ll start participating in ways that provide consumer value.

Ideas from the traditional marketing world will begin to migrate to the social world. For example, a brand that might sponsor parties at spring break or align itself with a sporting event will seek and benefit from the same type of experience and exposure in social. I won’t need to “like” or follow a brand; it will just be part of my social world like it is everywhere else (just like billboards at a stadium).

There you have it folks, digital media in 2013. Of course in South Africa you might want to start Googling “Top campaigns from 2011″ in order to get some ideas that South African customers might be comfortable with.

Source (IMedia Connection)


The growth of visual marketing

Content marketing is rapidly growing overseas as brands realise that being a publisher online is a great way to get their products noticed and growing. As someone in the content marketing business I’m very focussed on words but further to that with the growth of Instagram and 500px it’s inevitable that imagery will eventually tell a thousand words. Here’s an infographic on the growth of visual content marketing:


Content Marketing in 2013

Loyal readers may be aware of my fascination with content marketing and how I think it’s going to be the next social media. That said it’s almost the end of the year and time for us to to start looking at 2013 for ideas. The Content Marketing Institute has put together a brilliant slideshare presentation on the topic:

Take a look and start planning your budgets. Once done, contact Distil for your implementation.

It’s time to run Jozi again

From the creators of the “Run Jozi” race comes the latest 10KM race: the “We Run Jozi” taking place on the 7th of October.

This is one of 34 races to take place in Nike’s 2012 global WE RUN series which aims to inspire, enable and connect runners around the world.

20,000 South African’s will form part of the 395,500 runners from 34 cities participating in the WE RUN 2012 Series, which commenced September 1 in Prague, and will travel to countries across Africa, Asia, Central Europe, Middle East and Latin America, concluding in December in Brazil, while connecting runners through Nike’s most innovative and digitally advanced Nike+ technology.

Runners can expect a unique race experience however, in another first, this season’s race route it yet to be disclosed. The route will only be revealed once the 20,000th entrant has registered for the race. Everyday athletes will be encouraged to collectively inspire one another to help reveal the route by registering on Race goers will have the opportunity to expose sections of the route, revealing the course in stages, with the last entrant ‘crossing the 10 kilometre finish line’ and unveiling the final point in the race.

The race is divided into two categories, namely Student and Open, with the registration fee pegged at R70.00 (including VAT) per student with a valid student card, and R150.00 (including VAT) per Open Runner. A portion of the race fee will benefit youth athletes of the Alexandra Running Community.

It’s going to be a big one and 10KM isn’t that hard to train for in such a short timeframe. Make it happen, it’s the best thing I ever did.


New media smackdown!

Growing up Time Magazine was always the pinacle of weekly journalism so it came as quite a surprise that anyone would leave Time for a blog network:

Kim Kelleher is leaving her post as worldwide publisher of Time magazine to become president of Say Media, the blog network that includes sites such as XOJane, Gardenista, ReadWriteWeb, Style Bubble and Techdirt

Why is this a big deal? Simple: publishing is moving towards the direction of aggregation and curation. While Time’s ad pages this year through its July 2 issue have declined 20% from the year-earlier period, Say Media has managed a $30 million round of funding in order to grow their business. It’s also interesting to see how a company needs a network of sites to monetise rather than a smattering of individual portals that local sites tend to subject us to.

For me the most interesting issue to consider is the need for a traditional publisher to be involved in a web content business. This shows that despite the fact that there are vastly different business models the underlying content needs to be extremely captivating and requires a “traditional” publisher overseeing this side of the business. This has never happened locally and I feel would be something that would give a greater editorial voice to our online content sources.

Source (Ad Age)

PS: Featured image is of birthday boy Nelson Mandela, wishing him a happy birthday from Loosechange.


Cloning kills music before piracy

In a crazy story music labels don’t only have piracy to worry about but now the issue of their artists music being cloned. A traditional practice is a single being released before an album in order to improve sales of said album once it’s released. This gives the cloners time to make their own version and release a single of the song being played on the radio. The marketing is done by the record label and the cloners sit back and rake in the money.

A new phenomenon which sees cover versions of songs like Maroon 5’s Payphone released before the originals is causing controversy across the music industry.

Some of the world’s biggest pop stars have fallen victim to the practice, which sees near perfect copies of their latest songs enter the charts before they have even released their own version.

A fortnight ago, for the first time, one of these copies – a cover version of a song by the band Maroon 5 – made it into the top ten of the British charts before the real track was released.

The success baffled the music industry because the identity of those behind the copycat version – released under the name “Precision Tunes” – remained secret.

Now an investigation has revealed the true identity of the man behind the phenomenon.

Precision Tunes managed to reach around 35000 downloads that equates to around 17000 pounds in revenue, a pretty decent amount of money for the effort required. The rest of the article can be found here


How to get a bajillion likes for your Facebook Page

James Altucher: odd name, smart guy. James is one of my favourite Techcrunch columnists and has his own blog with some great daily updates here. His latest article is a pretty amazing story of how he managed to get 100000 people to like his blogs Facebook page within a month. Hat tip to @garymeyerza for this nugget of genius. Basically this is what he sets out to do:

I wanted to have 100,000 Facebook fans for my blog. I don’t have a product to sell. I’m not trying to get advertisers on my blog. I’m not even trying to get more speaking gigs because of my blog. But I believe in the message of my blog and I enjoy having an audience for it. So I wanted to expand that audience.

Playstation kids, this might test your attention span a little bit but it’s worth reading the whole article if you’re in any way linked to online marketing. Read the whole article here.