Monday, January 20, 2014

Of Death and Blogs

Coy posted this on his Wall last November 12, 2013.
I was encouraged to know that he was reading the Word
a few weeks before his passing.
I never really had so much close encounters with Coy Caballes when I was still in Globe. In fact, I only remember having a short conversation with him during the launching of iPhone 5 in Glorietta. But when I heard about his passing, a wave of mixed shock and sorrow hit me for a moment. I realized, knowing a person only for a short while doesn’t really matter in the face of death. Knowing that you have met the person and was able to talk to him while he was still alive, and then suddenly he was declared lifeless, is actually both saddening and paralyzing.

When I heard about Coy’s passing, I immediately buzzed the people who knew him to tell them about the news. Our reactions are the same. Sad and shocked. Death brings both, I realized. Truly, it was like a thief in the night. You won’t know when it will come.

Death, no matter how certain, is something that not too many people will talk about nor prepare for. It was so sad just thinking about it. But I also believe that thinking about death, as much as life, is brave and wise. Again, death is certain. Knowing that it can strike you anytime, there’s no point not reflecting about it.

Coy’s sudden death brought about too many realizations to me. Through his passing, I was able to think more about death and was also, to my surprise, did not feel uneasy about it anymore, unlike before. I am very thankful that I was able to meet the Savior around 2 years ago and after that, death wasn’t a scary topic anymore. In fact, that day, I decided to look at it closer and observe what will happen while it’s in the air.

There are 3 things that I’d like to write about in this blog post. These are the things that I have observed from the day of Coy’s passing until now.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

7 Things the Bible, LOTR and other Books Taught Me About Life, Friendship and Adventure

I woke up tonight, around 6:00pm, seeing visions of some scenes in the Lord of the Rings movies. The visions went along with mixed feelings of deep sorrow for some people who are special to me but I’ve lost along the way, and also a deep feeling of gratitude towards God for the gift of life that is full of adventure. Afterwards, I found myself writing a prayer enumerating the reasons why I am so thankful for this life. My first few words are “mountains to climb” and “seas to cross”. The next second, I was brought to thinking about the book entitled “Wild at Heart” written by John Eldredge, which I read around 3 year ago. In that book, he said that in every man’s heart is a battle to fight, a beauty to rescue and an adventure to live.

The Bible, Tolkien’s works, the movie adaptations of them, Eldredge’s book and Coelho’s The Alchemist are my inspirations in writing this blog post. I really believe that life is a great adventure and I am more than thankful that the God that we have is a God who gave us the freedom to write the chapter of our lives. With His guidance, I hope that we’ll be able to write a great story out of it.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

5 Important Lessons in Subtle Marketing and Video Ads

Samsung S4 Companion Stories Life Companion Broadridge1. Subtle marketing is the way to go.

During the most recent Metro Manila Film Festival 2013, I have seen how a movie was criticized for being a successful product placement rather than a movie. Now, product placements in movies are cute sometimes. But if product placements already found their ways to the movie reviews, then that’s a different story. When it was supposed to be a subtle form of marketing, it had successfully defeated itself by getting the “marketing” noticed. What’s supposed to be a smart and tasteful advertising done within a movie turned out to be blatant and offensive. Companies won’t want that for their brands.

But I commend the makers of the new Samsung S4 ad featuring the Broadridge Education Centre in Thailand built by Trisha Silvers. She built the school in memory of her husband who died during the tsunami that devastated Thailand in 2004. When I saw the ad, I was just looking for some live Ed Sheeran videos on YouTube, but when the ad played, I did not skip the ad (one thing I normally do by the way).

I was caught by its good sounds, good cinematography, good narration and good subject. The product placement waited very very patiently until the end and it was done very very tastefully. 

I wasn’t offended at all. 

In fact, I did love it and that’s why I am writing this blog review right now, out of the blue, this one hot afternoon, without anyone, not even a sponsor, telling me to do so.

2. Even from miles away, people can already detect if you will be selling to them. There’s absolutely no need to push your ads down their throats.

The problem with some companies is that when they want to create ads, all they think about is making money. They have forgotten that the people who they want to talk to, before seeing their ads, had already been preoccupied by the thousands of ads they have heard over the radio when they woke up, seen on TV while having their breakfasts, passed by posted on billboards on the way to work and stumbled upon while playing with their favorite mobile app. Now, if you are the advertiser, what made you think that your let’s-make-more-money ad will stand out from the many ads that your target audience had already seen past yours?

The truth is, people are smarter nowadays. They can already smell, even from miles away, if someone wants to sell something to them. But being smart doesn’t mean being snob. People did not necessarily become more snobbish by becoming smarter. They will still want to listen to you, talk to you and ask you questions. But you have to be worth their very very limited time and attention. You have to be credible, creative and authentic. Remember that three.

This may be the reason why I watched the Samsung S4 ad from start to finish. The story wasn’t about the phone, with which I won’t be able to relate to, not yet, not right away. But I will be able to relate to Trisha Silvers. Her story wasn’t so different from the stories of my fellow Filipinos who survived the devastation brought about by the super typhoon Yolanda, also known as Haiyan.

Some of my important lessons in online video marketing, I learned through this Samsung S4 ad, and are hereby encapsulated by the three statements below.
  • Share a story that your target audience will be able to relate to.
  • Focus on that story, not on your product.
  • Patiently wait for the time when you shall reveal your product. Do not overexpose.

3. Too much marketing (like in all other things) is bad marketing.

A new day has come. 

Finally, subtle marketing is taking over the other traditional ways to advertise a brand. Also, a new breed of ad-sensitive but still the same story-loving people is here to stay. Will this give birth to better advertisers too?

That will depend on how sensitive advertisers will want to be in the coming days. Will they listen solely to their annual profitability goals or will they listen to their audience? Or will they find a way to do both?

In my humble opinion, advertisers should be great storytellers, first and foremost. And great storytellers should have a deep sense of what’s enough for the story and what’s overdoing it. For video ads that involve subtle product placements, please listen to the storytellers and not the Chief Financial Officer. The former will most likely know the way.

4. If people like it, they will search for it. If they are not yet looking for it, create a demand by targeting the emotions in an almost invisible way.

Okay, I really like the Samsung S4 Trisha Silvers video ad. Hands down. But there’s a loophole in the campaign. When the ad ended, I wanted to see the ad again. However, YouTube has no replay ad button. So I Googled the ad. The result? Nada. I tried the website. And then? Disappointing. I tried Facebook. Well, it wasn’t easy but I found it eventually. But let me say that it took me ages. But I still took the hassle of looking it up because I was truly impressed by the ad that I want to write about it. But what if I am just a regular guy who still want to replay the ad but doesn’t have the time or wasn’t persistent enough?

Okay, my point is, the “way back” to the ad must not be that difficult to find. You place a really good ad for a few seconds on YouTube, you make sure people will be able to find it again easily. Samsung S4 can make use of their current website or maybe even create a separate microsite for this. I did not find the Trisha Silvers ad easily on their website that’s why I got a bit disappointed. But one thing I learned is that, in looking for something, especially when I already know what brand I am looking for, my initial instinct is to look at the website, and then Facebook. Sadly, the ad wasn’t on the website. I found it on Facebook, which loads slowly by the way, and the resolution of the video, smaller.

On its Facebook page, I found out that Trisha Silver’s story is just one of stories under the campaign entitled, “Companion Stories”. There is one story by Grandma Mary and the other by Richy Carrasco. I will check them out later.

To summarize my whole point, I just want to say that this Companion Stories campaign must be easily searchable by fans like me. Without a good and sustainable call to action or follow through, the life of a video ad (just like any other online ad) stops.

By the way, I remember posting about 2014 being the year of storytellers. When I saw this campaign by Samsung S4, I got the chills.

5. Your ads shall target the emotion. Your website and social media pages will feed the mind afterwards.

The emotions, the irrational ones, the feelings. These are the initial targets. When you got your audience curious, you lead them to your website and social media pages to feed their convictions, their rational sides, their minds. This is why product features and benefits must only be revealed detail by detail in the website, not in the video ads. It’s all about using all these online touchpoints smartly and strategically.

Again, kudos to the team behind the Companion Stories campaign. If you guys decide to send me an S4 to my doorsteps, I will never decline it. Haha! :)) Thank you for sharing the story of Trisha Silvers and for this beautiful campaign. May my inputs be of help.

Of course, you may want to check out the video that made me write all these things above. The video that started it all. So here you go guys, click play!

For more Companion Stories, please visit Samsung will love it.