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We’ve all see the Take This Lollipop or HTML5/Arcade Fire campaigns (and if you haven’t you can see them here:

HTML5/Arcade Fire: http://thewildernessdowntown.com/

Take This Lollipop: http://www.takethislollipop.com/

They were innovative, unique, and smartly leveraged personalization and used the open graph/Facebook Connect.  They had a high value of ‘social currency’ – something not specific to today’s digital world, but the power of it is exponential now.  The water cooler was the facebook of our past, now with email, facebook, twitter, blogs, a high value of social currency will cause something to spread like wildfire (some may call this ‘viral’).   There have been a few new marketing campaigns trying to use this same ‘personalization’ and interactive video mechanic expecting similar impact.   However,  they didn’t really innovate over previous campaigns or give the consumer a new level of ‘currency’ and so, they fall a little flat for me.  As a marketer, I applaud the campaigns, the risk, the technology and time to build it, but i’m curious about their success metrics.  I fear technology for technology sake or trends for trends sake is at the root of this.

Now not all innovative campaigns will reach the usual definition of success (brand KPI’s, click throughs, purchase intent, etc).  However, allowing innovation will help keep your teams and your brand moving forward.

A body in motion stays in motion, a body at rest stays at rest…

Three tips to innovating not replicating:

1. Bring it to The Next Level or a New Level.   Innovation requires improvement upon or creation of something new.  If you are inspired by other work, that is great! A lot of innovation is on top of others’ creations, but you must improve and push past the point that the original developed.  If someone created ‘take this cookie’ and did a similar campaign but maybe with a slightly different storyline inspired by ‘take this lollipop’ – it would not be innovating.  However, what Take this Lollipop did with facebook connect may have been inspired and innovated from Intel’s Museum of Me or other ‘personalized’ experiences that we’ve seen.  But “Take this Lollipop” took the concept of Facebook Connect to a new level…which is why it’s the most popular app in facebook history.

2. Truly Take Risks and Embrace the Unknown.  If you can step up to the ledge look down and take the leap (even with some hesitation) – you can innovate.  If you want to know every potential outcome to every data point and be able to predict all success metrics before you even build it…. you will not innovate.  You may create great projects, you will likely be successful because you create campaigns that you can predict the best outcomes, BUT, you will likely not innovate. You won’t explore new territories, experiences or technology mash-ups.  Those willing to take risks, capable of embracing failure and have a willingness to explore will take us on to the new frontiers of creative technology campaigns.  Brands and companies that embrace this (not on all levels of course) in their creative departments and across partners have the foundation to achieve innovation and greatness.

3. Give Them Something New.  Not every person has seen Intel’s Museum of Me, Take this Lollipop or The Wilderness… BUT the people who spread it – the influencers- have likely seen at least one.  When innovating always consider what your target audience has already seen.  You can’t be late to the party and be the innovator.  Build upon what you’ve seen, bend the rules, and give them something to talk about.  If you want to innovate across the social graph and other unique technology available, provide the ‘wow’ factor…the ‘creepy’ factor…the ‘no way that just happened’ factor.   Providing them something that is below their current experiences will just negatively impact you more – Go BIG or go home… don’t do it half way.

-lways easier said than done from this perspective.  🙂

Keep questioning. Keep inspiring.  Keep pushing.  Keep innovating.


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