Two Cost-Effective Ways To Boost Customer Engagement

Editor’s Note: This is a sponsored post. Customer engagement. These two words are on the tips of marketing communications executive’s tongues from coast to coast today. Without significant and meaningful customer engagement, marketing programs die a silent death. When that happens Chief Marketing Officers and others are forced to find new jobs. Know Your Audience and […]

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Like Texas, SXSW Is Huge, Rich, Diverse and Impossible to Ignore

South By Southwest, or #SouthBy for short, is a mashup of industry festivals—film, music, interactive, gaming, education—all of which take place in and around the Austin Convention Center over a 10-day span in March. The first SouthBy was held in March of 1987. Now, 32 years in, both SouthBy and Austin are huge. The city’s […]

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Brand Experience in the Wild: Uber’s “Radio Live” Stage at ACL Fest

Weekend one of Austin City Limits Music Festival is complete. With 80,000 music fans a day coming and going from Zilker Park, experienced festers find alternatives to driving. For brands active in the ride-sharing space, ACL Fest is an incredible platform, and what better way to provide an opportunity to local Austin musicians who drive […]

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Hot Desert, Cold Brew

To make Peet’s Cold Brew, the craft coffee company steeps freshly-roasted East African Baridi coffee slowly, without heat, to create a refreshingly bold and smooth beverage. To make Peet’s Cold Brew the beverage of choice at Coachella, Peet’s lined up a series of experiences, a.k.a. “brand activations,” for the music-loving people to enjoy, including an […]

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Walk-Ins Welcome at the Bumble Hive on Melrose

Whether it’s for dates, meeting friends or growing your professional network, you can use Bumble to make “empowered connections.” Starting today, Bumblers in LA can put down their phones and connect in person, thanks to a new pop-up space from Bumble on Melrose. Designed to embody Bumble’s digital experience in a physical form, Bumble Hive […]

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The Avalon Ballroom Is Argonaut’s Launchpad To New Space

“Hipsters, tripsters, real cool chicks, sir, everyone’s doin’ that rag…” -Robert Hunter Fifty years ago in San Francisco, LSD-fueled rock-and-roll parties raged deep into the night at The Longshoreman’s Hall, The Avalon Ballroom, and The Fillmore. A new culture was born from this artistic Renaisance—a culture which continues to feed people’s spirits and bank accounts […]

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Minnesota Wild Fans Claim Their Ice

Minnesota is different. For once, many of the people have Canadian-like accents and they ALL love hockey. When your state is endowed with 10,000 lakes and eight months of winter, it makes sense. Like this new commercial from ICF Olson makes sense. The Minneapolis agency partnered with NHL team, the Minnesota Wild, to create a […]

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More Cheetos! Don’t Hold Back, Cat.

In a brilliant experiential move that may surprise and delight snack food lovers, Cheetos will open its first-ever fine-dining pop-up restaurant called The Spotted Cheetah in Tribeca in NYC from August 15th through 17th. Celebrity Chef Anne Burrell has curated the ultimate Cheetos dining experience, featuring 11 of her signature dishes – from Cheetos grilled […]

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You Can Rest Now. O&M Has Integrated Marketing for the Digital Age All Figured Out.

Sampling is the oldest play in the book. Sampling works where ads do not, because people often need to “see it to believe it,” or taste it, as the case may be. Take Coke Zero. How can it possibly be as good as full-calorie Coca-Cola? The idea defies logic. It’s a problem that requires new […]

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Social Gets Some Big Time Face Time @Dreamforce 2013

Heads up SFO. A small city of people are flying in for Dreamforce, the annual user conference put on by in San Francisco this week.

According to reports, some of the Dreamforce badge wearers will be seeking information on how to incorporate social media marketing and social selling into their practice. Others may be looking for a good party to attend. I hear Green Day is performing at a VIP function. How punk rock is that?

According to USA TODAY’s preview piece on the conference, L’Oreal began using new marketing and analysis tools Salesforce rolled out this year.

The software helps automate the process of discovering the interests of existing customers, then deciding which promotions to send to their social media accounts, via text or video ads.

L’Oreal brand managers used it to sign up thousands of hair salon owners in the U.S., who in turn used it to create thousands of Facebook pages that were peppered with social media ads for shampoos and conditioners.

I am a huge fan of discovering the interests of existing customers. That’s the fuel on which marketing runs. But I will admit to getting hung up a bit with the idea that software will effectively automate the process. I’m not saying software does not work in this capacity, or that this particular software as a service is not needed. Rather, I want to question which sales and marketing processes can and should be automated, and which work best when done manually.

I know this much, an email does not equal a phone call and a phone call does not equal a face-to-face meeting. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the matter, and possibly include said thoughts in an upcoming feature article.

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Levi’s Art Happenings Go Station To Station

Hello Barstow. This hardscrabble town in the California desert is home to Levi’s new art project on rails, for the day. Following Barstow, it’s on to LA and and then San Francisco, which will wrap up an epic cross-country journey.

According to Levi’s, Station to Station connects leading figures and underground creators from the worlds of art, music, food, literature, and film for a series of cultural interventions and site-specific happenings.

Last week when the train stopped in Minneapolis, musicians Patti Smith, Eleanor Friedberger and No Age performed. Yesterday in Winslow, Arizona, Jackson Browne, who co-wrote “Take it Easy,” was literally standing on a corner.

The train, designed as a moving, kinetic light sculpture, also broadcasts unique content to a global audience via Soundcloud. And there are lots of little films being created, like this one:

Without question, Levi’s is once again making its mark.

Watch the story unfold on Instagram.

stntostn on Instagram

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Can Brands Dance? Sir Martin Says Yes

Music moves people. Live music moves people deeply. The experience lingers for days, weeks, sometimes for years.

Naturally, brand marketers would love to gain some of this attention for their own purposes, and increasingly they’re turning to experiential marketing to deliver. Which is why it is not surprising to learn that WPP has ponied up $10 million for a share of SFX Entertainment, media mogul Robert F.X. Sillerman’s recently revived company (he sold the company to Clear Channel for $4.4 billion in 2000).

In January, SFX Entertainment purchased the North American division of Holland-based ID&T Entertainment, the world’s largest dance music concert promoter.

Here is footage from 2012′s Tommorowland event in Belgium:

SFX also owns nightclubs and music download store, Beatport.

WPP “recognizes the power of dance music to coalesce and address an increasingly difficult-to-reach audience,” Mr. Sillerman said.

Martin Sorrell, chief executive of WPP, compared the move to WPP’s investments in Vice, the Weinstein Company and others.

“Sillerman’s been extremely successful in consolidating fragmented industries which have untapped growth potential that generally have excellent marketing opportunities attached to them,” said Mike Principe, a former SFX attorney who is now CEO of The Legacy Agency. “He goes in, acquires en masse, and enjoys a leading position.”

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An Agency In Five Days: JWT Pops Up At SXSWi Next Month

Big agency services for startups, at retail, for five days only. WALTER looks to be another great idea from JWT.

Call Us Walter

Next month in Austin, technology startups in town for SXSW Interactive will have the chance to meet with JWT’s “collective of industrious outsiders who embrace uncertainty and invent within chaos.” I take it they’ll leave their suits back home in New York and Atlanta, because this sounds like a roll your sleeves up event.

Startups can submit their elevator pitches on now. If The WALTERS like what they hear, they’ll create a “customized, strategic marketing plan for your startup during SXSWi.”

I like this idea on so many levels. It’s great PR for JWT, but more than that, it allows the big agency people to grapple with a different set of problems, while lending the startups access to expertise that would be otherwise unaffordable (assuming there’s no VC money on the table).

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Thin Is In


Today at MacWord, Apple introduced the world’s thinnest notebook: MacBook Air. It measures an unprecedented 0.16 inches at its thinnest point while its maximum height of 0.76 inches is less than the thinnest point on competing notebooks.

Here’s a more detailed report, or if you prefer some tweets from fakesteve.

[UPDATE] Emily Chang won’t be buying one.