At OMMA, we spend a lot of time thinking, talking and writing about big ideas. Big campaigns. Big award winners. And usually, that means big bucks. And of course, when those home runs come along —a dance video from T-Mobile, lets say— we enjoy it as much as the next viewer.
But one of the reasons they command so much attention is that they’re rare. At most companies, digital marketing is still somewhat in its infancy, more Pawtucket Red Sox than New York Yankees. And most of the press releases we get generate about as much user interest as a Triple-A ball game on a chilly day.
Of course, that’s not to say the marketers, agencies and technicians dreaming up these plans are bush-league. They’re not. It’s just that they’re learning the rudiments of a pretty new game. Recruiting, hiring and nurturing teams who can help leverage digital’s unique skill set — analytics, social, mobile, search and video, to name a few — is challenging enough. Translating those skills into the singles, doubles, stolen bases and rbis that can build brands is even tougher. But some companies are winning. And just as author Michael Lewis taught us in Moneyball, they’re often doing it with smaller budgets than the heavy hitters.
So this issue of omma is devoted to them — the mad scientists in the media labs who are creating these digital delights. When researcher Gianna Palmer started searching, asking what works, and what doesn’t, she found that their success often comes from thinking smaller, not bigger.
A few took the way we think of social marketing to new heights. Literally. To get British women excited about Wonderbra’s new Ultimate Plunge bra (p. 54), Iris orchestrated a social media contest that ended with three brave broads bungee jumping. And we can’t think of many ideas smaller than Obermutten, Switzerland, population 79. But the response it got to its Facebook (p. 48) travel ad campaign was huge. Some are just wonderfully obvious, including Buick’s decision to build a Web site that actually helps people shop for cars.
And as we collected these digital darlings from around the world, we got to wondering: Sure, we love the genius of great branded
video content (thank you, Audi and Barbie). But just because they make us smile, do they really make us happy? OMMA’s Carrie Cummings took the question to media psychologist Pamela Rutledge. Digital marketing might not make us any happier, she says, but all those ticklish kittens might.