Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Mazda and their user-driven ad campaign (no pun intended ;)

Like the Burger King Poll-a-rizer I wrote about last week, Mazda's Do You Like Your Car campaign on LinkedIn is a perfect example of how to deliver branded messages that work with, not against, the overall user experience.

Mazda's campaign starts as a simple poll question on the homepage of LinkedIn. It asks: "Do you like your car?" The answer choices are just as simple: yes or no. Once the user clicks on an answer they are taken to a page where they can view results from people like them, meaning people with similar titles and in similar sized companies. Linked In of course has all of this information about because the user gave it to them when they registered.

Here's why this campaign works:

1. It's not about Mazda.
Mazda is simply the sponsor. At the same, time they do a nice job of inserting themselves into the user experience via light branding.

2. It's engaging yet commitment free.
Users answer one easy question, "Do you like your car?" There's no commitment to buy something or be bombarded with an advertisement for something they don't want. In fact, even if they answer "yes," and are not in the market for a new car now, ythey are still exposed to the Mazda brand.

3. It rewards the user with relevancy.
The data delivered back to the user is relevant to them, since it's based on their title, company size, etc. It's also interesting to look at -- one might argue more interesting than an ad. In fact, I'd be curious as to what the average exposure time is per experience.

By placing the user at the center and creating an experience around them, Mazda succeeds in advertising in a very Web 2.0 way.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Why I love the Burger King Poll-a-rizer

I'm not a big fan of Burger King, I think the last time I ate there was in the 70s. But that's why I love the Burger King Poll-a-rizer, Burger King's facebook application that allows people to create their very own political platform, and choose a running mate and a cabinet.

It's smart because it gets the environment in which it lives and instead of forcing old media ways onto new media platforms, it embraces the tenets of Web 2.0.

First, it's relevant. The facebook crowd is politically savvy, and BK connects with users on a topic in which they are interested (whether they eat Whoppers or not).

Second, it's about the user, not the brand. This has nothing to do with Burger King, which is excatly why it works. The brand simply connects by association, and in doing so gets lots of exposure (since every time a user adds the Poll-a-rizer to their profile all of their friends see the Burger King name).

Finally, it draws on those intangible elements, such as expression and social capitol, that fuel user participation (there's 25+ years of research that shows this).

So good job Burger King (and Crispin, Porter + Bogusky) — you get it!

Monday, October 6, 2008 personalizes search recently completed a technology overhaul of their search engine to deliver faster and better results -- and are now launching a new redesign.

I wrote about Microsoft's new search redesign recently which adds imagery to the search interface. takes it a step further by allowing users to skin their own interface -- even adding their own photo. This is so simple and a great example of how a little attention to user experience goes a long way.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

A new audience for twitter

Here's a stat for you: new users to twitter increased 135 percent during the presidential debate. Updates were up 160 percent during the debate as well, according to the twitter blog and reported in Wired as well.

It's been interesting to watch twitter be adopted by different groups. The first group was the geeks -- anyone at SXSW in 2006 most certainly got the twitter bug. Then we saw a series of disasters that required quick coordination (such as the fires in southern California in the fall of 2007) attract another group of people.

In the last six months the corporate presence on twitter has certainly increased with new accounts from MyStarbucksIdea, Verizon, and Whole Foods Market.

So now we have the political audience as well. Wonder who'll be next?