Of course, Oprah…

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… Works.

I was at the first Ad Age Madison + Vine conference four years ago, an event created to discuss momentum in the then “new” world of branded entertainment, and yesterday’s activities which marked its fifth anniversary. And what remains common is that it still comes down to your basics; a) great collaboration (partners) to create b), great content (creative that delivers on objectives and agrees with consumer), and c), some form of measurement. What was very different about yesterday’s event is that we now have history and examples of tactics that worked. Like giving away 276 fully loaded Pontiac’s to Oprah’s audience. (Of course that would work! But not necessarily without it’s own drama.)

“Pontiac’s Mark-Hans Richer Is All for Branded Entertainment — If It Works”
“There is nothing magical about doing deals with Hollywood or with major brands. It only matters if it works,” Mr. Richer said during a lively keynote speech today at the fifth annual Madison & Vine Conference. “There is nothing magical about being part of a cool online community. It only matters if it works. There is nothing magical about not doing TV ads or doing viral video ads instead. It only matters if it works.”

Mark-Hans Richer was able to back up his words with examples of some of Pontiac’s successful tactics.
– “For the $8 million Pontiac spent on the G6 launch on “Oprah” in 2004, which included giving away 276 fully loaded G6s to audience members, the automaker received $110 million in promotional support, he said.”
– After the “Apprentice” episode aired, 1,000 Solstice roadsters were sold 41 minutes, and traffic to Pontiac’s website jumped 1,400%.
– A summer 2005 performance by Jet on the Pontiac Garage stage in Times Square was watched live by 55,000 people and by 1.5 million on “Jimmy Kimmel Live.” The number jumped to millions more when the stage was set up for New Year’s Eve. “Our sales and share were up in New York last year,” Mr. Richer said.

Mark-Hans Richer was a great speaker and clearly good at what he does. Also worth noting is that in his speech, Richer softly challenged Ad Age themselves to go beyond reporting buzz of measurements, and to possibly spearhead an initiative into (numbers) research itself.

In addition to Pontiac, we also heard from Mark Koops, executive producer, “The Biggest Loser“, and Brad Fogel, CMO of 24 Hour Fitness, and they discussed the trials and tribulations of their combined efforts. What Fogel stressed is that the third year was its most successful because the lessons were learned: integration of brand into the show can not stand alone. It will not be as effective without traditional promotional back-up – supportive advertising dollars must be spent across all venues. The other thing to be noted about The Biggest Loser and its success is the subject matter, and the draw of the emotional bond with its audience. Like Extreme Makeover and American Idol, everyone is routing for the underdog… and what’s new.

There was, “oddly,” (odd as in noon was way to early for the likes of Perry), a live performance by Perry Farrell’s newly formed, “Satellite Party” which was followed by an Q&A. Perry discussed the age-old responsibility of the ad community and artists to stay “cultural archeologists” to preserve on a global scale. When asked why he had such a revitalized passion for the purpose, he summed it up by saying (much to the amusement of the crowd): “I’m a daddy now.”

btw/ Perry Farrell is entertaining possibilities of corporate sponsorships. lol
As delightful as the day was in LA, if it hadn’t been like a zero degrees in NYC, I would had probably jetted back east to attend McGraw Hill’s Media Summit to see Murdoch and Diller… (hopefully tell us something we didn’t already know.) xx!

Filed: branding, cali life

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