MICpicks: Normand Miron’s ‘Three Things to Think About in 2010…’

Montreal-based Normand Miron, president of Ogilvy 2B Interactive, serves up three digital New Year's resolutions.

To identify the work Canada’s media gurus think best exemplifies smart new media thinking, MiC regularly invites guest curators to share their thoughts on the Really Important Things That Are Happening in the mediaverse. Today, Montreal-based interactive creative dude and social network buff Normand Miron, president of Ogilvy 2B Interactive, serves up three digital New Year’s resolutions.

For years now, you’ve been noticing it. Or at least I hope so. Interactive media and social networking are driving a total and unstoppable reevaluation of all media – and above all, of the way we’ve been (or should be) using them. If you’re still using these media as lame digital replicas in the perpetual quest to interrupt the theoretically (and hopefully) right target group in the right place at the right moment, you’re missing huge opportunities to become part of the countless conversations that are taking place on the web. Right now. Wanna be part of them? Here are three little web rules that could (and should!) become your resolutions for the New Year.

Think inside the big box
The banner at age 15. In the era of the 28 kps modem, 5k animated GIFs and low-speed internet connections, it made sense to create safe, brightly coloured hyperlinks that transported internet users, as if by magic, to a brand’s website. But today, with click-through rates stuck at a pitiful 0.1%, it definitely doesn’t anymore. Why deprive 99.9% of your potential customers of the opportunity to experience something engaging right now…inside the little big box?

Here are a few examples of advertisers who seized their opportunity and made the most of their media in the here and now: a musical comedy banner, an (in)voluntary cooperation banner, a weather-wear banner and a concert banner. And here’s my 2009 favorite, a prize-winning banner for Pringles that has probably generated more clicks than any banner in history…without taking the user anywhere!

Forget about eyeballs, feed the mouths
On the web, especially on social networks, consumers are hungry for content, experiences and news to share with their friends. So every time a media planner or a client tells me, with pride, that they’ve joined the 2.0 wave by buying ad space on Facebook or opening a Twitter account, I feel like…poking ‘em.

Let’s say it once and for all: on social networks, you don’t (have to) buy media – you (must) feed conversations. The more you see consumers as target groups, the more you’ll miss the mark. And believe me, they won’t miss you! Be useful, be relevant, be entertaining – but above all, don’t get in their face. If you do, it’s no different than it is with a door-to-door salesman. Virtually or not, you’d better get used to the sound of a door slamming closed.

Here are two Facebook campaigns that made some noise this year, but in the right way. In ‘Ikea Showroom,’ the manager of a new Ikea store in Sweden posted photos of their new showrooms on his Facebook page – then announced that the first person to tag any given item of furniture would get the item for free. A guaranteed way to generate friendly buzz if I’ve ever heard one! And speaking of friends, Burger King’s ‘Whopper Sacrifice‘ showed everyone that friends may not always be what they seem, when they offered a free Whopper to anyone who was willing to drop 10 Facebook friends! In both cases, the buzz flowed from Facebook and generated tons of posts, tweets and web links.

Let the idea live outside the media plan
When we think of media, we too often think within a frame that has set boundaries. From the start, everything is planned out, and, as a result, has a specific end built in. In that respect, it’s a bit like assuming that a good idea is scheduled to die, no matter what its potential impact. But ‘The Best Job in the World’ is a perfect example of a campaign that simply keeps evolving. Launched as a classified job search newspaper campaign, this contest invited people to apply for a dream job as a caretaker in Queensland, Australia. But over a period of months, it evolved to become the subject of discussion on both the web and in traditional media worldwide.

After generating millions of conversations and choosing a winner (unfortunately, not me), the architects of the contest could easily have rested on their laurels. But instead, they had the brilliant idea of having the winner of the contest announce that the job was too big for him…so they had to have a second contest to find four other people to help him! In one fell swoop, not only had they found a (cheap and effective) way for the Tourism Queensland to maintain the buzz, but they had found a twist for them to evolve the campaign from a singles campaign to a couples-and-groups-of-friends campaign, generating thousands and thousands of new conversations that will be ‘seen’ by Google for years. I can hardly wait for them to extend the contest and figure out a way to talk to presidents of Montreal interactive agencies with two kids!

Good luck with your digital resolutions – and your digital conversations – in 2010!

A heavy-hitting interactive creative dude and a fierce defender of brilliant interactive advertising worldwide, Normand Miron has received over 120 kudos and awards both here and abroad. After heading the interactive creative departments at Palm+Havas and Marketel/McCann-Erickson, he is now president of Ogilvy 2B Interactive in Montreal.