Russ On The Road

From Utah to Texas, notes on how tech and social media are changing for marketers Marketing writer Russ Martin is touring through the U.S. a bit, making stops at the Adobe Summit in Salt Lake City, Utah and at the ever-popular SXSW (that’s the South-By-Southwest music and tech festival in Austin, Texas for the uninitiated) […]

From Utah to Texas, notes on how tech and social media are changing for marketers

Martin's location not exactly as shown

Marketing writer Russ Martin is touring through the U.S. a bit, making stops at the Adobe Summit in Salt Lake City, Utah and at the ever-popular SXSW (that’s the South-By-Southwest music and tech festival in Austin, Texas for the uninitiated) to see what’s on the horizon in the digital realm.

Check back frequently for insights and interviews with up-and-comers, innovators, senior executives and hard core nerds.

Some trends last just one news cycle. Others span weeks or months before fizzling out of the zeitgeist and into the pile of almost-forgotten artifacts alongside pet rocks, Pogs and Gangnam Style. It’s difficult to wager on what will gain popularity and harder still to place bets on the web, where what’s trending changes by the moment.

As the creative director of Mister Face New York, Tony Mennuto taps into pop culture to create ads for the likes of Coke, P&G and Comedy Central. At SXSW, he’s making a presentation called “Why we STILL love honey badger” about what makes ideas viral. Marketing spoke with him about trends, web culture and how the fear of bombing on stage as a comedian informs his approach to advertising.
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While there are some willing to give influence ratings like Klout and Kred time to evolve, members of SXSW’s “The Secret Dangers of Online Influence Marketing” panel seriously challenged these online tools’ effectiveness. Some went as far as suggesting marketers drop their use altogether.

“Klout and Kred don’t work. They never did and they never will,” said Jure Klepic, panel host and a Lucule Consulting strategist who has worked on brands such as Givenchy, Microsoft and Skype.
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As CEO of Cheezburger – a media empire driven by memes, fails, viral videos and cat photos – Ben Huh is surrounded by humour all day. Through its ad program, Huh and the Cheezburger team helps brands leverage humour and invites them into the world of web culture.

Ahead of his SXSW talk about humour in the ad world, Marketing spoke to Huh about how brands can can benefit from user generated content, when they should stop worrying about control and laugh instead.
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SXSW has a reputation as the meeting place for market-leading startups and brands who want to jump up the adoption curve. But it’s also a chance for digital marketers to seek advice from the current statesmen of social and mobile in the flesh, including Kevin Knight, Facebook’s lead of global creative solutions, who is speaking on a panel Saturday alongside marketing execs from Frito-Lay and Pepsi.

Before his session, which boldly positions “brand fans” as the new marketers, Marketing spoke to Knight about what Facebook Graph Search means for marketers, what made the Lay’s Do Us A Flavor campaign a success, and why begging for likes will make a brand seem desperate.
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Cats are the overlords of the internet. On YouTube, Reddit and Instagram, cats are everywhere. There’s Maru, the super famous Japanese cat whose YouTube channel has racked up over 188 million views and Grumpy Cat, the Snowshoe Siamese cat behind one of last year’s most popular memes.

Then there are thousands of hours of less famous cats driving traffic to YouTube and giving value to its ads. Last summer Katie Hill and Scott Stulen of the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis spent hours sifting through these videos for #catvidfest, a festival celebrating internet cat videos.

Hill and Stulen are giving a talk at SXSW about the success of #catvidfest and the cultural significance of cats on the web. Ahead of their talk, and just for fun, Marketing challenged them to pick their five favourite videos starring cats.
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Meet Arnie, the world’s smartest beer vending machine. The brainchild of Arnold Worldwide‘s director of creativity Anthony Stellato, Arnie talks to the agency’s staffers and makes beer recommendations. He can even socialize with them on Facebook and Twitter. Developed through the same rapid prototype cycle Arnold uses on client work, he’s a living, drink-wielding manifestation of the opportunities the agency sees in creative technology.

Stellato and Arnold Boston have taken Arnie on tour to show him off at SXSW during a talk on the intersection between creativity and technology. Prior to the conference, Marketing spoke to Stellato about his prototype process, how side projects benefit agency culture and what it’s like to talk to your fridge.
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Every change Facebook makes, from the smallest shift in privacy policy to the massive overhaul of its profiles that led to ‘Timeline,’ is scrutinized by users, the press and the brands that use the social network to connect to their customers. Few changes, though, have raised as many questions from the ad industry as Facebook Graph Search.

Marketers are scrambling for information about the feature, which is being rolled out slowly to users in the U.S. who signed up for early access. To help demystify Graph Search and what it means for marketers, Marketing spoke to Max Kalehoff, Syncapse’s vice-president of product marketing, who will speak on a panel about the feature at SXSW.
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Twitter chief revenue officer Adam Bain confirmed yesterday that the company is working on an enhanced analytics ad offering for TV marketing campaigns.

Speaking on stage at Adobe’s annual marketing conference, Adobe Summit, Bain said the company has tapped Bluefin Labs, a social TV analytics firm is acquired last month for a reported $100 million, to help broadcasters and advertisers learn more about how consumers are engaging with shows and ads on Twitter.
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Dozens of Adobe staffers are holding up green glow sticks, drawing lines of light down between thousands of seats set up in the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City. It’s not yet 9 a.m., but Fatboy Slim is already blasting through the convention centre, home this week to Adobe Summit, a three-day conference Adobe hosts annually to promote its suite of tools for marketers.

An annual brand activation event for Adobe meant to put products in the hands of current and future clients, this year’s summit is the launching pad for a series of tweaks to Adobe’s Marketing Cloud, a web hosted campaign management system that aims to connect marketers to creatives and agencies to clients.
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