Let's Get This Avatar Party Started!

So, last week's column made me feel really good about social media. If you bothered to read all 32 comments to my Starbucks column (five were me desperately trying to defend myself), you know there was quite a spirited debate, and even though it was a bit rough on what's left of my ego, two good things sprang from it:

1)      I discovered how seriously people take this column, and

2)      Since people now can vent their frustrations so easily on misguided columnists, they no longer have to go home and kick their dogs.

But seriously, folks, I enjoyed it, in an-eating-fiber-doesn't-taste-good-but-is-good-for-you way.

Let's move on.

Seems logical that we should spend a lot of time in this column talking about, critiquing and participating in social marketing efforts, and figuring out what's good, bad, or ugly. So, for this week's homework assignment, I'm asking anyone who wants to play along to go to the Burn Alter Ego application on Facebook and get their avatar party started. Then you can report back after you've played with it for awhile and tell me what you think, and, yes, I'll write about our community's reaction.

The reason I picked this as a first campaign for the Social Media Insider crowd to test-drive is because it's an application created by the venerable Coca-Cola Company, so, if you believe that one thing social media marketing needs is great apps from major advertisers, it's as good a place as any to start. Admittedly, the Burn Alter Ego promotes Burn, an energy drink that is only available in Europe, Brazil and Morocco, but anyone is allowed to play.

Here's how it works: once you've downloaded the application and set up your alter ego, it goes clubbing (which sounds rather attractive to me because I don't get out a lot) and promises to post to its own blog in the a.m. Mine went out for the first time last night, and apparently spent some quality time using the Xerox machine to make copies of body parts (none all that naughty, unless you count my avatar's bum). Those who download the app receive this warning:  "If reading about drunken nights, nakedness, and crazy decisions make you uncomfortable, delete this application and go back to your knitting." Cool! Well, I don't knit, anyway.

You can set up your avatar to go out with friends who also have Burn Alter Egos or meet new friends while it's out, and the more it goes out, the more options it will have in terms of wardrobe, furniture for the flat, and so forth. I've set up mine to find new friends mostly because I barely know anyone who has loaded it so far, but wouldn't mind it if a few of us Social Media Insider avatars went out together in the next few weeks to see what our blogs would report to us in the morning. Beware, though. I believe you can set up your preferences in a not-all-that-public mode, but the reports of your avatars' nights out will show up not only on the blog, but also in your newsfeed in Facebook and on your profile page. Maybe this will get too embarrassing for a mother of two, but, hey, I'm doing it in the name of research.

I hope this doesn't sound too frivolous an idea -- but it has occurred to me that since you can go out and experience campaigns in social media rather than just having them thrust unwillingly upon you, that it's time for a new style of ad-critiquing. Maybe it's an experiential ad critique or a group ad critique, since I'm asking all of you to join me. With that, I say eat your heart out, Barbara Lippert and Bob Garfield. (I'm kidding, of course.) Let the parties begin.

Next story loading loading..