Predictive Modeling

Target’s customer targeting is so spot on that it was able to determine that a girl in high school was pregnant before her dad did:

An angry man went into a Target outside of Minneapolis, demanding to talk to a manager: My daughter got this in the mail! he said. ‘She’s still in high school, and you’re sending her coupons for baby clothes and cribs? Are you trying to encourage her to get pregnant?’

The manager didn’t have any idea what the man was talking about. He looked at the mailer. Sure enough, it was addressed to the man’s daughter and contained advertisements for maternity clothing, nursery furniture and pictures of smiling infants. The manager apologized and then called a few days later to apologize again.

On the phone, though, the father was somewhat abashed. “I had a talk with my daughter, he said. ‘It turns out there’s been some activities in my house I haven’t been completely aware of. She’s due in August. I owe you an apology.

via Forbes

I’m Writing A Post

The Old Spice Man videos that are taking the internet by storm are a result of a marathon 3 day production from the brand’s agency and the actor Isiah Mustafa

A team of creatives, tech geeks, marketers and writers gathered in an undisclosed location in Portland, Oregon yesterday and produced 87 short comedic YouTube videos about Old Spice. In real time. They leveraged Twitter, Facebook, Reddit and blogs. They dared to touch the wild beasts of 4chan and they lived to tell the tale. Even 4chan loved it. Everybody loved it; those videos and 74 more made so far today have now been viewed more than 4 million times and counting. The team worked for 11 hours yesterday to make 87 short videos, that’s just over 7 minutes per video, not accounting for any breaks taken.

Marshall Kirkpatrick over at RWW has a nice write up on the shoot, and calls out what I think is the most important element of this campaign: that the brand team at Old Spice had the courage to trust the Wieden + Kennedy team and give them the freedom they needed to crush it.

The Future of Display Advertising

…runs through Google. On the official Google Blog today, a “pat on the back” post about the future of display advertising, and the integrations they have launched over the past two years since the acquisition of DoubleClick. Yet another step towards ensuring that all significant online advertising will be run through either Google’s AdSense platform, or DoubleClick’s display platform.

I find it ironic that Google assails Apple for creating a “closed” platform when it comes to technology and applications via iPhone/iTunes, yet it is turning around and building just as closed, centralized a platform when it comes to online advertising.

The CM Summit

I’m settling in nicely to my new job over here at Federated Media. I’m working on some great stuff. And to that end, I wanted to let everyone know of an event that FM is hosting in June here in NYC.

So I’m proud to announce the 2010 CM Summit, which will take place on June 7th and 8th at the Hudson Theater and Millennium Broadway Hotel in NYC. We will have some amazing speakers and conversation, which I will let our fearless leader John Battelle speak to in his post on the FM blog. As a preview, some of the booked speakers include Avner Ronen of Boxee, Dennis Crowley of Foursquare, Arianna Huffington of The Huffington Post, and Arthur Sulzberger, Jr. of The New York Times Corp. Here is the full list of speakers.

Some additional resources for your viewing pleasure:

CM Summit Website:
LinkedIn Group:

So book early. Every previous one has been sold out. It’s going to rock!

Coupon Cards on iPhone

Now here’s a useful application. CardStar is an iPhone application that enables you to put all your loyalty “reward cards” on your iPhone. Right now, I have six of these “fobs” on my keychain. With this application, instead of handing over your keychain to the cashier, or holding onto all sorts of loyalty cards that you use maybe once every few months, you can have all of them at your fingertips via your iPhone.

And I’ve got to think that the cashiers would be psyched that they don’t have to handle every person’s set of keys that have been sitting in a pocket or handbag. This alone could cut down on the spread of Swine Flu. OK, maybe not.

Man, I need to get an iPhone. Apple, when will it be on the Verizon network?

Happy 5th Birthday, Subservient Chicken

Where has the time gone?!? Burger King’s Subsurviant Chicken turns 5 today.

Five years ago today, a bunch of youngsters at two companies called The Barbarian Group and Crispin, Porter + Bogusky launched a small minisite three days in advance of the late night running of some broadcast spots. They wanted to iron out any last minute wrinkles in the site by emailing it around to a few more friends, and get a little early buzz before the spots ran.

In the next 48 hours, before the spots even had a chance to air, the little viral site that could had already bombarded the poor XServe in Crispin’s internal data center with 25 million hits. Within days, a cultural phenomenon was spawned.

All for a creepy dude in a chicken suit with garters, who looked like he was running some sort of shady web cam operation.

Here is blog post detailing the conception of this Internet and pop culture icon (get a cup of tea, it’s a long one).

Power To The Peeps

Over the past week, we witnessed two distinct but related uprisings of customers voicing their opinions and companies backing down. It started with the Facebook Terms of Service fiasco, where FB made subtle but significant changes to their ToS such that there were questions over who owned the data that you have put on the social networking site. Eventually, Facebook backed off but the damage was done. This is a poster child for how NOT to handle this sort of change.

Then this week, Tropicana did an about face on a much more costlier change they made. Recently they released a new design platform for their brand and packaging and it was widely lambasted by critics and, most importantly, its customers. Today they announced that they would revert back to their more popular and pedestrian “orange with a straw in it” package design. On a side note, I don’t know who is advising or making the package design decisions over at Pepsi, but man, they are getting hammered.

These are again two very different but still clear demonstrations of how word of mouth and the power of customers coming together, rising up, and providing a big single fingered salute to companies will drive positive change.

The Red Sox Brand

Knowledge@Wharton recently posted an article on the Red Sox from a branding and marketing perspective. It talks about the Sox’ run to the 2004 World Series Championship and the notion that Red Sox Nation may not exactly know how to react to the fact that the Sox won it all, after 86 years of frustration and painful defeats. Its an interesting article however it re-inforces the notion that as much as we want to think “its just a game”, the reality is that its really all business.

And as irony would have it, the Red Sox lost last night to the White Sox in typical Red Sox fashion, when an error by Tony Graffanino led to a 5 run inning for Chicago. As the NY Times put it, “Just because the Red Sox won the World Series last season does not mean that baseball can nont torture them on occasion.”