Friday, March 29, 2013

hollywood casting call for brands

An article in Forbes just tipped us off to the next (and apparently well-funded) era in product placement: a torrent of brand names appearing on the sets of your favorite film or TV show. Expect to see logos anywhere there's a "free" space in a scene: on park benches, classroom chalkboards, walls behind comedian monologues. And, as happens today in broadcasted sporting events, the ads can made specific to audience. Thanks, Nielsen! Check out the video that just helped win $4.5M investment for MirriAd, a UK-based culprit, er, company that is "working to perfect the art of placing billboards, advertisements and even truck-sized products in your favorite television shows and films."

Sunday, March 17, 2013

social media life of pi

I (finally!) saw Life of Pi last night in all its multi-dimensional glory and it occurs to me that the story can offer a few parallels to managers newly trying to steward brands across unfamiliar seas of social media.

1. Facebook = The Tiger
Facebook is still the biggest, baddest social media animal on the planet, 750 million voices strong and a beast that anybody doing social communications must learn how to feed without losing one’s metaphorical arm.

Here's a helpful guide to the care and feeding of Facebook for business. But be warned. The Tiger doesn’t wake up the same animal every day. It goes through constant changes which you have to stay alert to or pretty soon you’ll be dead in the water. The rise of Facebook’s promoted posts is a new way the medium is asserting its territorial dominance. And have you noticed that Facebook has just unceremoniously swiped the hashtag idea from Twitter?

2. Twitter = The Hyena
The number two in social media’s primal hierarchy, 250 million monthly users strong. Like the hyena, it communicates in short bursts. (Tweets are 140 charcters) But the bursts can gather forbmidable force when replicated (retweeted) in number. Here's a guide to best practices.

3. Pinterest = The Orangutan
This site is mother of all social media start-ups, the fastest-growing web service in history. It was launched in 2010 and now has 85.5 million visitors a month. Use is heavily weighted female. They've just grown analytics. Here's tips from a power-user. Taming advice for business users here and here.

4. Tumblr = The Zebra with the broken leg
Tumblr is a micro-blog. A constrained space, but you can do a lot with it. It started out as a photo posting site and has since expanded into video. Here are the founders talking about it and how it's expanded over the last 5 years. A lot of brands have figured out how to make it work for them. More examples here.

5. Instagram = The Cock
There’s been a lot of crowing about Instagram since it was introduced in late 2010. What's more, it just got devoured by the Tiger. Here's some tips for putting it to work for business

6. Vine = Meerkats
SXSWi was overrun with enthusiasm for this new mobile app from Twitter. Content is 6 second videos. Brands are already coming up with creative uses. Here's a few more.

Friday, March 15, 2013

book launch!

I was thrilled to launch the novel this week at a party with themed napkins and real mead from the fictional company formed by the protagonist and her husband.  Transmedia fans: check out other web content "created by" the book's characters in an out-of-the-box epiblog for Making It. [Spoilers alert]
photo by Kate Johnson

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

once upon a transmedia table

When my millennial daughter set the table for a candlelit dinner with her boyfriend, she didn't open a box of beeswax, she reached for her phone. This, to me, is the essence of what transmedia is. And why it's the future (or present) of storytelling. We've raised an audience who doesn't think that virtual worlds=fiction and nonvirtual world=reality. They think in terms of experiencing the world in all its natural and technological dimensions. No wonder the longest lines at SXWi were for digital storytelling sessions.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

calling all storytellers at sxsw

I'm hosting a SXSW meetup on Saturday at 11 for writers, creatives, journalists, brand stewards and other social types for an hour of brainstorming, kvetching and sharing tales out of school. Please join us! Details here. FYI, the Empire is about a ten minute hike from the Convention Center. On East 7th Street, at 606 E 7th, about a block south of Stubbs. "Empire" sounds like a lovely hotel, but actually it's a hole in the wall bar next to a music venue disguised as an automotive repair center. Gotta love Austin.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

hey, kids, my book now has a QR code

1. Make sure your phone has a scanning app. If not, go the the app store and download Scanlife for Apple or QRDroid for Android.

2. Hold up phone to the square and you'll be magically transported to my book's Amazon site.

3. For every book bought, my phone will quack "Thank you."

Monday, March 4, 2013

literary fiction ventures out of the box

I'm excited about Making It not only because it's a book, but because it's a book that goes outside the box of a book. It's (I think) the first interactive literary fiction from a big publishing house. The epilogue is all visuals. Each visual links to content "created by" a character. So just when the reader thinks she has to say goodbye to the world of the novel, there's one more chance to connect with each character. As you know, I enjoy taking characters out of their boxes. Kudos to Simon & Schuster for supporting this new way of storytelling. It's an experiment. Let us know what you think.
 © Colin Anderson, Getty Images

my novel goes on sale today

I'll admit, when I started writing a book (um, ten years ago?!) I had no idea how difficult it would be, nor how many people would need to become involved in the making of it. I guess I'd thought a novel would be sort of like writing a veeerrrrry looooonnnnng commercial or print ad. And indeed, my first draft probably read like that. The agent I sent my first draft to mailed it back with a few kind words and also (kind) harsh ones, "A novel needs to tell a story. Yours doesn't." Back to the drawing board--er, keyboard--after some crying and gnashing of teeth. The next draft came a few years later (I was also, you know, writing for actual pay) until I had piles and piles of scenes and plotlines and my husband (tired of carrying the piles out to the car when we went upstate on weekends) suggested I devote a summer to finishing the novel, just to get it out of my system. And now, thanks to the interventions of him and a few others (which I'll save for more posts) I have a novel coming out today from Simon & Schuster. It's called Making It: A Novel of Madison Avenue. A story set in (where else?) Adland from the POVof an older, wiser, married Peggy Olson. (The book is not affiliated with AMC's Mad Men, need I say?) Feeling morose on a Monday? Cheer up by doing an adbroad a solid. Buy the book here. Each sale improves my ranking on Amazon by at least a thousand. Thanks!