The 2008 US presidential election was hailed by many as the first digital election – but in truth, it was more of an online massacre than a competition. Where Obama and the democrats innovated and engaged with a new generation, McCain and the republicans looked and acted like they had no idea how to engage with new media.
Mitt Romney and his campaign team clearly learnt some harsh lessons from the bloodbath and have invested heavily in a digital campaign, which may not match the scope or innovation of Obama’s, but has gone a long way to levelling the playing field.
Romney’s digital director, Zac Moffat claimed in an interview with Mashable that the Republicans had learnt from the digital whitewashing they suffered in 2008 and there was now parity between the two campaigns. His boldest claim was that they had the lead in a crucial area- online advertising. Online advertising is where the real money is spent in the US digital environment and mastering it is becoming as crucial as mastering the radio and TV ‘air war’.
Once the Democrat convention has finished, there will be a sudden and dramatic increase in the number of adverts splashed across sites- expect to see political advertising on almost every US based site you visit.
What we are yet to be convinced about is whether carpet bombing works in this way or if a more focused, targeted ad campaign is the way to go. When working on digital campaigns, we tend to focus on the potential reach the campaign offers, but reach is only so important and at the end of the day, it is engagement that is the crucial factor.
Both campaigns need to remember this and realise that however much they spend on advertising; it is all for naught if the audience they are searching for simply ignored the advertising. Online advertising has potential, but if done poorly it has the potential to alienate an audience in a matter of seconds – just think of how annoyed you get when an ad takes over your whole screen.
This problem has led the Obama team to continually explore new ways to engage with the online audience, most recently taking to Reddit to host an Ask Me Anything session. This proved so popular (2 million views and counting), that it very temporarily broke Reddit and showed the campaign team was willing to try new and potentially risky things if it helped them reach a new audience.
The Romney campaign has been narrower in its approach, choosing to focus on a few core platforms and favour a quality over quantity approach. They argue that this has been successful, citing greater engagement with their content on Facebook. But, where this approach is lacking is reaching potential voters who would not normally engage with the political sphere. People who take the time to become a fan of Romney on Facebook or follow him on Twitter are either supporters or people with an interest in the political process.
We’ll be following the campaign with interest and in particular the experimentation as new tools are tried and either embraced or consigned to the scrapheap. We’re very excited by the potential of Chirpify – a new micro donation tool that allows you to give money via Twitter. But, part of the joy of the process is seeing what has been missed – is there a tool or site you think is currently being neglected?
I’m not sure if anyone else did this, but when I was a kid, I used open almost every chocolate bar with just the slightest hope I would find a golden ticket. Don’t get me wrong, I was fully aware that Caramacs and Refresher bars (personal favourites) didn’t contain tickets to Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory, but a piece of me always lived in hope.
Now, skip forward about 15 years to last Thursday afternoon. I was walking down the street to get ice creams for the guys at 33 and out of the corner of my eye I caught sight of something on the floor. I actually kept on walking briefly before my brain registered that I had in fact seen a key and the word “lost” amongst others on the lanyard.
This was a massive moment for a Thursday afternoon. Instantly I knew there was going to be some kind of treasure hunt involved. I stepped back to what I had seen and was greeted with one of the most inviting and exciting strap lines I had seen in ages…“I’m lost! Help me find my owner: www.thelostkey.co.uk”. I honestly felt like Charlie Bucket. This was me on my way back to the office. So many questions ran through my overexcited mind. What could this mean? Who were Lost Key? Had I won something? Was I now part of some amazing club?
Needless to say, on my arrival back at the office I made a big song and dance about what had happened. We all grouped around as I typed in the website address. By this point several others were as excited as I was. The ideas had already started to flow about what I had definitely won and how cool it was.
The first page you come to was a good start. As you can see from the picture below, you get a nice look through a keyhole and they know I found a key! Things were looking up as I hit enter and hoped for more. But then it went downhill fast, “EARN MONEY” were the first words to grab me and at that point I knew all the fun had ended. I also instantly switched off. It was only a little later when I went back and looked at the site that I really understood what they were about. The pin board style screen was a fresh look. The text gave me all I needed to know “Do you have an apartment, spare room or couch?” But after the key had proved such an enticing flyer for a new site, I really hoped I would have found a little more. I honestly felt like this. How could something that was so potentially awesome have gone so wrong?
There was anger and outrage amongst my colleagues! Something had to be done. This was a genuinely exciting start to an idea that seemed to fizzle out before it had even started. So we decided that for free, The Lost Key could have all the creative ideas we could muster in the time it took us to polish off our ice creams.
So here you go…
First up we thought that actual key was a bit sucky. It was obviously a fake and didnt open anything! Make less of them and make them real!
It’s screaming out for a bit more drama and excitement. Admittedly you don’t want people thinking there is too much involved, but anything more than just hitting enter and finding a normal site would be ace.
Every key should have a code on it that you can enter when you get to the site. Then, whatever happens you are giving someone the feeling of exclusivity.
A video on entry to the site? At the least explain what’s going on and why you have a key!
Willy Wonka theme continued, we definitely think some kind of exclusive event for anyone that finds a key would be amazing. If every key holder brings along 3 friends you are going to have a great crowd primed for publicity and a quirky release at the very least.
Then the screaming obvious – social integration to get more people talking about you online…Drip feeding people with the info across Twitter and Facebook would be ace. Once someone has entered the code from their new improved key on the site, make them Tweet or Facebook it to find out what they have won. Give them enough info to entertain them, but not enough to figure it all out. People will keep coming back and you will get far more exposure and buzz online.
So The Lost Key, that’s all you’re getting. Roughly 3 minutes from the 33 team and we think we have turned your good idea into a genuine campaign. If you want any idea in more depth…you just need to ask.
Today is the first business day of our new business year. July means new budgets to do exciting things with, new clients to get stuck into, and this year it also means some new team news to share.
After a wonderful year working with the talented Mr Sigrist, our awesome news is that 33 Digital has a new MD. Pete Sigrist has taken on an exciting new role as 33 Digital’s managing director after some monumental efforts in growing and inspiring the team here at 33 Towers.
Pete joined us exactly one year ago and has contributed phenomenally to the growth of the company, the clients that have chosen to work with us and evolving the services we offer. Pete’s vast knowledge on all things digital (well, on *all* things in general, actually) along with his passion for a varied range of things in the world including cycling, pies, Scotland and Shreddies, means he is already taking to his role as big kahuna like a duck to water.
All of us at 33 Digital and the wider Hotwire team wish him continued success in his new role. Congratulations, Pete!
When you put in exceptionally hard work and show real passion for the work you do, it is nice to be rewarded every once in a while.
For PRs, there is an annual book that highlights these types of people. With only 500 in the list, the PR Week’s Power Book lists the top 1% of the industry’s best. And for the second year in a row, 33 Digital’s Drew Benvie has been added to that list.
Drew is also listed as one of the top 5 influencers in digital PR – a position which this year was voted for by the Power Book’s 500 professionals themselves.
Now Drew isn’t the sort of guy to go on about this, which is why I’ve (like Phil did last year) gone under the radar to show our appreciation of having Drew as our MD. Congratulations fella!
Are you a PR account manager with a passion for social media? So much so you would like to do it full time?Or do you work in a digital agency project managing kick-ass campaigns and fancy a new challenge? Or maybe you’re an all-star performer from another walk of life looking to enter the world of digital and social media PR.
33 Digital is growing. We are looking for someone with 3-5 years experience in PR and/or social media consultancy to further grow our team. Client or agency side experience would be great. And an ability to conceive and manage some of the most cutting edge social media projects around.
We offer a bunch of benefits you might like. We are based in Clerkenwell, in London. We have copious supplies of good coffee. We will give you gadgets coming out of your ear holes, flexi-time, flexi-location and flexi-rulers to help you do great work the way you like to.And the salary is designed to attract the best.
Anyone who’s met our MD Drew Benvie would agree on a couple of things: firstly he’s massively enthusiastic about digital PR and secondly he’s also a pretty humble chap.
Because of the first thing, Drew’s just been added to PR Week’s annual ‘Power Book’ for 2010. He’s been dropped straight into the top 5 for digital, among some very good company. You can’t actually read the entries online (you’ll need to buy a copy for that) but you can read generally about the launch on the PR Week site.
Because of the second, we’ve decided to sneak this post out without telling him because he’d not want to blow his own trumpet. I’m betting that he hears about it through Boxcar before we get chance to tell him we’ve done it.
Well done Drew, we’re very very proud of you here at 33.
Phil wrote this on March 25, 2010 - 1 Comment
It's filed in the Team box.
It”s an exciting day for the 33 Digital team. After launching on 7th May 2009 and spending our first nine months in 33 Dallington Street with Hotwire, we”ve reached the point where we need more space to grow. We”ve found a home to call our own and today… we”re moving.
[our new digs]
Our new headquarters are on Clerkenwell Green in London. We are looking forward to having oodles of open space to expand (our first nine months as an agency have been kind casino internet on us – we”ve grown in every way a company can). All of us will miss the Hotwire team that we have been part of (sob!). And most of us will be looking forward to frequenting the new luxury of having our own coffee bar on-site.
Thank you everyone for your support so far. Look out for our 1 year birthday celebrations which will be coming up in May.
We launched 33 Digital just two months ago and we’ve been fortunate enough to take on some awesome and exciting work since then. With the world generally the way it is, we’re lucky blighters indeed.
Our much-loved clients we love more every day, not only because they continue to expand our remit (although that is one of the reasons we’re hiring) but they ask us to push boundaries too, and that makes for fun work. We’re also doing some barmy new digital type stuff, like train people, audit brands, optimise them on search engines, build their websites, that kind of thing. And we’ve won what has to be some of the coolest new work since our launch. Honestly. Ask anyone
Always keen to learn what other people in the industry are doing with measurement and metrics on their campaigns, 33 Digital went down to the latest Measurement Camp in London. Hosted by Will McInnes from Nixon McInnes, the event took place at The Good Agency and was attended by about 60 people.
The format of the event was to have two presentations from different campaigns that acted as case studies for how people are measuring their campaigns. Afterwards, the room was split into four groups, so that each group could take an example campaign and come up with some ideas on how to measure it effectively.
A new agency is launching… In the last 12 months we’ve seen the media landscape contorting beyond recognition. To the PR campaign these shifts are both creative and destructive, with opportunities for those prepared to ride the tidal wave. Speed, ease and control of information have led the charge in forging this change in the way people consume media, in the plugged-in generation and deep into all parts of society.
An entire demographic of consumers which does not turn on the radio, watch the evening news or feed solely off editorial opinion is swarming into the business world. Decisions are made on social buzz and swarm behaviour. The impact on PR has been dramatic, leaving an industry flexing as media consumption habits shift. Where’s the buzz and how do we create it? Progressive brands have adapted and in a lot of places you look, you’ll see evidence of this new way. Yet only recently have we seen entire campaigns conceived, run and measured by digital natives who have the experience to hold their own at the top table and talk a CEO’s language too. And that’s why there’s been so little of it out there.
Today we’re officially launching 33 Digital, a new international agency spanning the PR and digital industries, to provide brands with that bit of web wizardry they are missing and wouldn’t consider going anywhere else to get. We’re starting up with a team across Europe, a client roster and an approach that we hope will turn a few heads.