Archive for March, 2005

Brands That Really Get It

March 17th, 2005, by Peter Hirshberg | located in Conversations | Comments off | trackback

Sure marketing’s a conversation. And a relationship. But Shoe if a brand really got that idea and didn’t just pay lip service, what would they do? They’d trust their customer to do some  marketing, make the commercials, and be the voice of the brand. (Note to those who haven’t spent a lot of time around brand marketers: this is kinda rare behavior.)

This is just what Converse, the shoe company owned by Nike, is doing at They’ve invited their customers to make 24 second films and submit them.  Spots that make it to TV earn $10,000 for the film-making customer.

Converse’s instructions to their customer: "Make a film, not a commercial. It’s a great opportunity for you to tell us what Converse means to you". Translation: "We don’t want you to just parrot our marketing and commercials, you’re the customer dammit,  you get it,  so interpret the brand as you see it.  We’re just the guys at headquarters…."  That’s trust, thats really listening, and that’s treating your customer as an equal, not some consumer.  And thats definitely unusal behavior for a brand.

Church of the customer— a truly great word of mouth marketing blog—covered this awhile ago, with links to Mercedes and, both of which have similarly let the customer shoot their own videos. The Converse effort strikes me as the most integrated campaign in this genre. The Mercedes videos are on a tough to find part of their site (and most definately not part of a national TV advertising campaign) , and while Moveon helped out during the last election, the brand was John Kerry and he certaintly didn’t let the public craft the message.

Welcome to the opening salvo of Open Source Marketing—  the combination of user genrated content, of overtly letting the customer define the marketing voice, and of letting this whole effort show up on network television is  a leading indicator of Marketing To Come.  (And think of the agencies: Just when they are waking up to the fact that 30-second ads are an endangered species, the brands let customers start making the remaining ads, for $10,000 no less!)

Digital Convergence-The Movie

March 15th, 2005, by Peter Hirshberg | located in Conversations | Comments off | trackback

Bob Kalsey and I made this brief film for Bill Gates in 1994. It was pre-internet; we still called it "The Information Superhighway." But a decade later the industry is still chasing after the same Digital Livingroom vision. And we’re as hopped-up on convergence as ever!