Left Image: An impoverished Darfur child is shown holding an LV-like purse, image sold as a T-shirt from artist, now being sued, see Hi-Res version.
Thanks to Søren Storm Hansen for bringing this to my attention.
It could have been your brand
It could have been Rolex, Lexus, Gucci, or even your brand, sadly for LV, it was theirs.
A 26 year old artist named Nadia Plesner has been sued by Louis Vuitton for brand jacking their famous purses in a anti-genocide campaign.
The artist was trying to make a point that the media cares more for Paris Hilton extravaganza’s more than the genocide in the nation of Darfur.
Nadia states her intentions for the grass roots campaign:
“My illustration Simple Living is an idea inspired by the medias constant cover of completely meaningless things.
My thought was: Since doing nothing but wearing designerbags and small ugly dogs appearantly is enough to get you on a magasine cover, maybe it is worth a try for people who actually deserves and needs attention.
When we’re presented with the same images in the media over and over again, we might start to believe that they’re important.
As I was reading the book ”Not on our watch” by Don Cheadle and John Prendergast this summer, I felt horrified by the fact that even with the genocide and other ongoing atrocities in Darfur, Paris Hilton was the one getting all the attention. Is it possible that show business have outruled common sense?
If you can’t beat them, join them. This is why I have chosen to mix the cruel reality with showbiz elements in my drawing.”
LV: “Cease and Desist”
Luxury brands certainly have teams of brand police within Marketing to ensure their products aren’t being misplaced or improperly positioned, and have taken action by first sending a cease and desist letter (notice they “applaud the efforts) PDF.
Nadia: “Free Speech”
Nadia then sent a return note, stating this was her ability to self-express and claimed the logo was not referring to LV in particular (PDF).
LV files lawsuit
The letter was not met well, and LV has now filled suit against Nadia, claiming damages of over $20,000 a day, each day the campaign is continued.
The Groundswell begins
Since then the Darfur has grown in awareness, having now been on Digg, a Facebook group formed, spread in the news, and hundreds of blogs pointing to her site.
two a few options
Here’s my take, from what I can tell, Louis Vuitton (and the dog) have nothing to do with Darfur, and their brand is being dragged through the African mud. Their response is pretty standard and expected, to protect the image and brand that they’ve been working to build. I’m sympathetic to them getting brand jacked, as they’ve not done anything to occur this unwanted attention.
Option 1: Continue legal path: Continue this path and settle with Nadia, given the many lawyers they have access to and resources, they will likely win a copyright infringement for the design being on another paid product.
Option 2: Join the campaign: They could drop the suit, and work with the Save Dafur organization to help raise funds by doing events, creating a specific product, or help promote the cause. This too has it’s downsides, the brand will be brought into the human rights spotlight, and if they have any dirt in this arena (perhaps oversees manufacturing) they’ll be in turn scrutinized. Secondly, this would be a nod to activitists everywhere to brand jack major brands in order to get support –and funding, the cycle will continue.
Option 3: Redirect focus on issues: Submitted by John Bell. I enjoyed John’s option so much, that I’ve embedded it here on the post as an update. “What they could do is work with Nadia and other artists to host discussions about media focus. They could partner with a neutral party like my friends at ifocos.org to steward the conversation. Keep the discussion away from luxury brands (which is not Nadia’s point anyhow). LV can become part of teh solution without taking on the brunt of an issue they do not own.”
Option 4: Walk away: Submitted by Alison Byrne Fields: “Drop the suit. Walk away and wait for the dust to settle. This little hullabaloo will have no long term negative impact on their brand.”
I’m weighing both options here for LV, there’s really not a great way out of it for them. I believe they are collateral damage, having done no wrong to invoke this groundswell, yet this is a nod to what could easily happen to other brands.
I asked my Twitter community to voice their opinion, on the topic, here’s what was said in public
ronbailey: – why not just donate a few bucks to the cause in exchange for her NOT using LV products in her campaign?
Dan Lewis: legalities aside, I’d be mighty upset if my name were wrongly associated with genocide. the artist is morally wrong here, no doubt
Alberto Nardelli: besides LV point being morally disturbing, IP case doesn’t stand: would be like campbells suing warhol
Kim Pearson: I’m a former PR person, not a lawyer, but I’d argue that LV is doing itself more harm by its response, not protecting its brand.
Ed Saipetch: ironically in the same vain, I heard the (RED) campaign benefits retailers and product producers much much more than the AIDS fight
Rainne: I say not, b/c the artist did not use the vuitton pattern, she simply invoked its similarity.
mlogan: They turned this into a big story and managed to put themselves on the wrong side of a humanitarian crisis. Smooth
bethdunn: it’s another case of a company doing more harm than good to their brand by trying to halt something they can’t control
ronbailey: how has LV been harmed by Nadia’s campaign? – She was poking fun at celebrity culture in general, not LV in particular
ronbailey: They could have easily turned a blind eye to the whole episode.
Ok, you weigh in, If you were the CMO, what should LV do?
If you’re in need of a vacation, take this roller coaster ride with Shel Israel, who’s on a mission to explore social media when it comes to companies, a topic I’m focused on as a researcher. Sea World worked with Kami Huyse to “move the needle” to reach out to an influence community called “American Coaster Enthusiasts” to reach them using social media tools.
They used YouTube, Flickr to publish their media and encouraged the community to use the videos (creative commons rights) and were encouraging content to be created. You’ll learn that this six week campaign reaches specific downloads and activity, some were downloaded 100,000 times.
What about this makes a good strategy? Sea World found their passion community (many brands have one) figured out how to have a discussion with them using their tools, let go of their own content for it to spread and be used by that community, and resulted in positive increase in product (park visits) usage.
What could they do better? Sea World should involve the coaster enthusiasts to help design, build, and promote the next generation coaster. Sea World could also sponsor their site, hold and event for them, and figure out other ways to make them brand ambassadors.
Towards the end of the video, they make some pretty incredible findings on how people found out about the real-world park through the web.
Also, I recommend you follow Shel’s Israel’s blog, or his Twitter account to learn more the impact of social media on culture.
Is it just me, or did the opening remind you of an older (ok a lot older) version of Johnny Knoxville?
Update: Kami gives an summation of the whole campaign, over a year later. For counterpoint, econsultancy raises important questions about metrics and measurement.
The market pressure to create technology products that protect or at least damage their impact to the environment continues to grow. Sustainability and green-tech campaigns are coming from nearly every tech company –esp hardware manufactures. Dell is no exception and launches this Regeneration campaign.
[Dell Leaned on an Active Artist Community In Facebook to Create, Vote, Self-Regulate what it “Means to be Green” Regeneration Campaign]
I’ve not spoken with the Dell marketing team, but it’s pretty obvious this is a campaign helps to help improve Dell products to be more eco-friendly, and of course, spur affinity torwards the brand from green leaning consumers, the ReGeneration site has more details.
Dell Computers, along with Federated Media (A social media marketing agency), and Graffiti Wall (A popular self-expression Facebook application), deployed an interactive marketing campaign that encouraged existing Graffiti artists to be involved in a contest that spurred a member created campaign resulting in affinity towards Dell. The artists were encouraged to ‘own’ the message, their creativity would spur a contest, and would continue to fuel the campaign.
I was briefed by James Gross, who shares his thoughts mid-flight, a Director at Federated Media, as well as CEO John Battelle (interview), and they explained the contest to me.
1) Existing application with thriving community
Graffiti is a self-expression application in Facebook. It has popular (rated 4 out of 5 stars) Based on 242 reviews, and has 177,506 daily active users. Rather than creating a new application, this campaign took advantage of an application –and community–that already existed.
2) An art contest: What does Green mean to you?
Facebook members who used Graffiti were encouraged to join in a contest to win a 22″ environmentally friendly Dell monitor (appropriate for artists) to create art around the theme of “What does Green mean to you?” The contest lasted for one week
3) Engaged contributors spur theme
Over 7000 pieces of artwork were created and submitted to the contest. If you watch the replay of the art being created, you’ll see hidden messages (like easter eggs) from the artists as they discuss what green means to them. Many of the drawings had the Dell logo or the regeneration logo embedded in it. The Regeneration microsite promotes a few contributors.
4) Self Regulation
There were few negative pics that would detract from the campaign, as the community of existing artists will self-regulate and vote off pics that were not appropriate.
5) Community Voting and Winners Announced
Voting began on the second week by the members and over one million votes were cast. The winners were from United States, Canada, Sweden and Maldives. You can see the actual winners here, or click image.
The campaign was a success, thousands of engaged members participated, created the campaign on behalf of Dell (similar to the Chevy Tahoe campaign a few years ago), and the community was rewarded. I don’t know for sure, but I’ll guess the majority of the campaign dollars were spent creating the microsite, then hiring FM, and working with Graffiti. The monitors, were likely less than a $1000 each.
Over 7300 Graffitis created from Jan. 16th-Jan 23rd around the theme of “What Does Green Mean to You”
Over 1150 fans of the contest
Over 1,000,000 votes were logged from Jan. 26th-Jan.31st for the artwork. (Here are the Top 150 based on votes)
Over 1,000 ideas have now been submitted over at ReGeneration.org
209 comments to the post at ReGeneration.org
Over 197 blog mentions in Technorati
What could have been better
When it comes to social media, the mentality of short lived campaigns should go away. Communities existed before a brand reaches to them and after the campaign stops. Marketers should plan for long term engagements with these people, rather than short two week spurts. There was clearly traction here and now’s the time to step on the gas and continue forward.
Secondly, the artwork created by the winners (and runner ups) should be included in future products, such as digital wallpapers, in the primary branding for Dell, and even the artists should be given an option to continue as sponsored artists. With the relationship forming, take it to the next level. Encourage artwork to be part of next generation green computers, with proceeds going to non-profits or back to the artists to continue forth.
Thirdly, the campaign was limited to Facebook, which isn’t the extent of artists on the web, as well as limited to other social networks such as Bebo or MySpace where similar communities can be found. The contest should have been created not just within the walls of a closed gardens, but also spread to the open web.
Unlike most marketing campaigns that deploy heavy ads, fake viral videos, or message bombardment, this campaign let go to gain more. Overall, this is a successful campaign as they turned the action over to the community, let them take charge, decide on the winners, all under the context of the regeneration campaign. The campaign moved the active community from Facebook closer to the branded Microsite, closer to the corporate website, migrating users in an opt-in manner that lead to hundreds of comments was clever. Well done.
Articles and Related Case Studies
Article: Virtual art for the natural world
MediaPost Social Media Insider: Maybe Advertising In Social Media Should Be An Oxymoron
LA Times: Web Scout: Spinning through online entertainment and connected culture
Case Study: How Sony connected with the Vampires Application
Case Study: Facebook Sponsored Group Analysis: Target vs Wal-Mart
As a vendor, part of your job is to represent yourself well in front of prospects, customers, partners, media, investors and analysts. In nearly all of those cases, you’ll be expected to tell a case study. In the space that I cover there are over 70 vendors, and you really will need to stand out of the crowd, telling an effective, memorable case study can really help.
How To Tell An Effective Case Study
First of all, think of a case study as telling a story: start with a start, end with the end, there is a plot, characters, opposition and an ending with a resolution. Use diagrams or slides or screenshots to supplement the discussion.
1) Define the Objective
Define what the problem or challenge that your client was trying to overcome, express why the marketing campaign was needed in the first place. Examples of an objective could be: the need to connect with a certain audience/market, raise awareness for a product, glean insight into an existing market, or directly impact sales. Ideally the less objectives you have, the more focused your campaign will be, so try to be succinct.
2) Tell what you actually did
In detail, outline the steps that you did for your client, include the features, services, and deployment. Give specifics: reaching to acommunity, endorsing a contest, deploying ads, or launching a series of podcasts. Of course, each activity should align with your objective(s).
3) Define how you overcame challenges
Many vendors are afraid to show their weaknesses, instead be forthcoming, no campaign ever goes perfect or the client would have done it themselves. Talk about challenges and how you overcame them or what you learned. Demonstrate your flexibility and ability to be a quick savvy marketer.
4) Tell what the costs were
In some cases (such as an Analyst briefing) it can be to your advantage to discuss costs and pricing, because: 1) Analyst can guide clients to the appropriate vendor if they have price considerations 2) The Analyst likely has pricing of your marketplace and if you ask, they may tell you how you compare to market pricing (of course, never giving away confidential information). This can be on or off the record, and they will respect your wishes. Still uncomfortable? use ranges of prices or price bands.
5) Measurable results
This is the clincher. Provide detailed analysis and results on what you accomplished. Use numbers. For example: 100,000 new registered users were gained and 30% of them were very active resulting in an average duration of 20 minutes where 1500 of them talked about the campaign, click through to a microsite, or interacted with a game, etc.
I hope these tips help you, it will certainly help me understand why you’re the worthy company you are. I’ve tagged this ‘analyst’ with my other posts related to this topic, be sure to cruise through those. (like What an Effective Analyst Briefing is Like)
A Widget Case Study
Yesterday, I gave a teleconference on Facebook as a ready-made marketing program. I gave a few examples of success, and the audience was hungry for success metrics and numbers. One of the case examples was about rebranding an application/widget in this case, Rock You’s vampire application.
Sony rebrands popular Vampires Widget with 30 Days Night, upcoming Vampire movie
Vampires, which you may already know as the RPG where members bite each other to receive points (and duel) was already popular with over 3 million installs in Facebook.
Sony pictures, the parent company of the very scary 30 Days Night vampire horror film rebranded the existing application, and launched a sweepstakes contest to generate registrations and glean intelligence. The grand prizes? 4 wheel ATVs and $1500.
Specifically, they placed banner ads on the rebranded vampire applications which promoted the movie (one could assume that those who opt-in for the vampires application would also like a vampire movie) promoting the sweekstakes.
The measurable results?
The campaign was only live for 3 weeks, and there were 59,100 sweepstakes entries. (success was deemed at 10k, this clearly moved beyond that)
The visits (I don’t know if they were unique or repeated) were 11,642,051 for the bite page, and 17,652,567 for the stats page (I believe these are part of the interactive experience of the game.
Sony was happy, it exceeded expectations, and users of the application weren’t over branded.
RockYou asked me to keep the price confidential, but based upon the results they told me, I suggested they double the rates, this is despite what Mashable reports on.
Fishing where the fish are: Sony figured out where the already existing community was (remember to fish where the fish are) and rather than trying to rebuild something completely by scratch, they leveraged an existing successful application.
Rely on specialists for new arenas: In my many briefings with vendors and clients, specialized firms often provide something a general interactive firm or corporate web marketing team can’t. They have experience, know their area, and in this case, they knew to rely on someone that already knew Facebook.
Compliment the existing user experience: Sony didn’t beat the 3 million existing users with heavy advertising (and I’m sure RockYou wouldn’t have let them) over the head, instead offered value by giving away prizes, and tied in a movie that already existed.
What could have been better?
In my opinion, it would be great if:
The campaign lasted longer than 3 weeks.
Rather than simply embedded, Sony could sponsor elements from the movie and integrate within the game. (vampires could fight at different scenes from the movie, key characters from the movie could become non-player characters, etc). They already have a multi-player game that could have tied in.
A spin off game could have emerged just around the game, where members could give virtual gifts to each relating to the movie, then cross-selling other sony products and merchandise.
Also realize there are very few applications in Facebook that are this popular, don’t expect these type of results to occur every time.
Widget Network Developers
Looking bigger, RockYou isn’t the only vendor doing this type of work, also see Slide, Clearspring, Gigya, and a bunch of others. If you’re in the space, feel free to leave a comment below adding to the conversation.
For those Forrester clients who attended the webinar, I hope that clears up the question (as I promised to find the answer), and thanks to Ro Choy and team of Rock You for the details. If you need to know more, read this weekly digest of the social network industry, or see all posts tagged Facebook.
Web Strategist Connie Benson pointed out the Target Wal-Mart Sponsored group in Facebook isn’t getting a warm reception. As I cruised through the group, I noticed a much higher degree of interaction, amount of members, and community engagement.
[Target and Wal-Mart have both deployed a Sponsored Group within Facebook, each deploying contrasting strategies with different results]
Here’s a comparison of the two groups as of Sept 10th, 2007:
Please note, it’s impossible to tell who’s really behind some of these comments and threads, some could be hired on various services.
The timing is right to launch these site, as it’s back to school season
Wal-Mart: College students, dorm rooms
Target: College students, dorm rooms
URL to view live group:
Wal-Mart: Direct lnk (Facebook account required)
Target: Direct link (Facebook account required)
Target: ? (update: AKQA)
Launch Date, estimated:
Wal-Mart: Early August
Target: Early July
“Your Personal Checklist” eCommerce links to Walmart.com
“The Roommate Style Match Quiz” Personal persona wizard, eCommerce hooks, very clever
“Mix it Up” Mix and match roommate styles
“SoundCheck” Media samples of popular bands
“College Store” Green products, Freshman tips
“Tip Me” Product Marketing images
“Is it edible” interactive animation, I found to be clever
“Not your mom’s checklist” eCommerce selector
“Find your soul furniture” customized product wizard
“Snoop for inspiration” Design ideas gallery
“Good roomate” Media animations with tips
Number of current members:
Number of Discussion Threads:
Wal-Mart: Sadly, None, as feature is disabled
Target: 33 Discussion threads
Most are under 5 responses, however “Tips from someone with experience” (started by Target employee) has over 55
Number of Pictures:
Target: 396 Photos, many appear to be CGM (can’t confirm)
Wall Posts Quantity:
Blog Trackbacks (Technorati:
Wal-Mart: 6 Tracbacks
Target: 51 Trackbacks (most are from Marketing and PR professionals)
Wal-Mart: Very negative, details on this post
Target: Majority positive on wallposts
I need data to check interaction levels, only Facebook and the respective companies will have this. I would want to see, time on site (attention), interaction levels, spikes and trends, and other information.
Screenshot: Target’s Sponsored Group, “Dorm Survival Guide”
Screenshot: Wal-Mart’s Sponsored Group “Roommate Match”
Web Strategy Analysis: Embracing customer interaction yields Target as leader
Last month, I published a White paper on Social Media Measurement (co-authored with Matt Toll) and I could easily quantify these numbers are return a score card, if I had more time (or if it was my job) I would measure and score. Regardless, it’s clear that based upon engagement and interaction that Target is performing much better. Students even linked to their “Dorm room tours” on YouTube, whereas Wal-Mart lacks a discussion feature.
[Brands that “release control” to customer involvement have an improved chance from brand stewardship, customer ownership, and consumer advocacy. Let go to gain more]
What’s the difference between the two strategies? Target is clearly involving students to shape and be part of the group, whereas Wal-Mart’s strategy appears to be more of interactive web design, which is evident as the discussion forum is not enabled. I also suggested to Wal-Mart to consider an authentic evangelism program, the comments suggest a female evangelist would be best.
Update: If you want to know more about Facebook, read my Web Strategy: What the Web Strategist should know about Facebook. Also, I’ll be Keynoting The Seattle Facebook Conference on Dec 5th.