Monday, June 23, 2008

Phaeton: New Media IMC

Although VW had a highly successful marketing campaign for their New Beetle, there is another VW brand that did not fair so well, the Phaeton. Still sold in the rest of the world, it was withdrawn from the U.S. in 2007 after three years. Although VW seemed to hit, mechanically at least, all the IMC tactics and tools that made the New Beetle a success, there was not much buzz for the Phaeton.

This should not have surprised VW. The iconic Beetle still had traction a generation later, a part of our retro-chic culture today. The New Beetle IMC job was to reacquaint old friends for $16,000, the Phaeton IMC job was orders of magnitude harder, to turn strangers into friends, and charge them $74,000.

The VW corporate theme is advanced and innovative transportation solutions. They used the new media in the Phaeton rollout to the U.S., including short film. Here is their introduction to the Phaeton.

VW worked with new media such as during the introduction of the car through traditional press releases given to interested magazines. What's new Volkswagen.

Why didn't the new media rally behind this introduction like they did the New beetle? A critical news value is impact - what is the magnitude of the news event. Also is there a human interest angle? Not much with these - no nostalgia, no fond memories, no traction from clever old ad campaigns that revolutionized IMC as did the Beetle.

One wonders why, since VW already owns Audi, Bugatti and Bentley, they would want to also make the VW brand name synonymous with high end luxury cars. Nevertheless, their chief engineer thought it a good idea, and here they are sponsoring golf tournaments with the new VW Phaeton brand name, trying to make it a high-end marque. Miami sponsorship.

They did a good job with these. They had Indy 500 champ drivers taking the golfers for test drives. This would seem to be opportunities for local media to cover the story but not many takers. Early on there was incredulity about the price tag for the "people's car."

They do have video news releases (VNRs). There are also short film documentaries about the Phaeton on youTube that make it look exciting. Here is an example: Utube.

Steve Parker at Automotive news pretty well sums up the attitude from the press about the Phaeton: "It's a fantastic, fun car --- But VW has a division named Audi to sell cars in this price class" (seeBrand issue - AUDI not VW division).

The car is a wonderful machine. It is the only car to win the International Forum for Design. It has input from the Bugatti, Bently and Audi divisions of VW. It is the only car to win the gold award at the Iternational Forum for Design (see DesignWinner).

I think this was a failure because they should not have spent so much on a good car to put it in an odd market niche. How consistent is the Phaeton with target segment for VW?

Mobile Marketing for the National Gallery of Art

A proposed mobile campaign for the National Gallery of Art will use QR Codes to integrate National Gallery print materials with its online assets. QR Codes are a special type of barcode that is optimized for use by mobile devices. Smith (QR Codes) echoes the view of many. He observes that QR Codes and mobile form factors link print media with the Internet. By strategically locating QR Codes, mobile readers of Gallery print media can link to the Gallery Web site, getting more in-depth coverage, and the other useful online services.

By using a QR Reader, such as a mobile phone with camera and QR software, one can jump from the print world to the online world. This is unprecedented value for the customers of the Gallery store. As an example of QR Codes, consider Leonardo’s Ginevra de’ Benci. The URL for the web page with the detailed explanation of the painting is Ginervra, while the QR Code for that URL is below.

Gallery print materials for the book store will have QR Code to link to always up-to-date reference materials on the works of art or the artists. By also forwarding users from the Gallery Web site to associated blogs, and community sites further information becomes available and communities of interest can be accessed from print materials.

For a comprehensive look at the potential of mobile marketing at the Gallery, see Redmond Review Gallery

Friday, June 20, 2008

Fractal Art in Mobile Marketing

Fractals provide useful video art for mobile marketing. Large and amorphous patterns crystallize into smaller, distinct shapes. Or the logistic equation can be graphed in reverse from chaos to tipping point to order. The advantage of these as dynamic logos is that a small code module can be downloaded to create them rather than the download of a large video. The downside would be security concerns.

An example is the Focusing Triangles Fractal with code included in this post.

' This program creates a diffuse pattern and focuses it to a crisp, smaller triangle.
' Author: George Ray
Option Explicit
Dim iGMR, RandNum As Integer
Dim gmrDenom As Double
Dim gmrAx, gmrAy, gmrBx, gmrBy, gmrCx, gmrCy, gmrPx, gmrPy As Double
Sub Main()
gmrDisplay.BackColor = QBColor(0)
Call gmrLogo
End Sub

Sub gmrLogo()
gmrAx = 5000 / 4
gmrAy = 3000 / 4
gmrBx = 4000 / 4
gmrBy = 5000 / 4
gmrCx = 6000 / 4
gmrCy = 5000 / 4
gmrPx = 5000 / 4
gmrPy = 4000 / 4

gmrDisplay.PSet (gmrAx, gmrAy), RGB(255, 0, 0)
gmrDisplay.PSet (gmrBx, gmrBy), RGB(255, 0, 0)
gmrDisplay.PSet (gmrCx, gmrCy), RGB(255, 0, 0)

gmrDenom = 1.5
For gmrDenom = 1.2 To 2.2 Step 0.4
For iGMR = 1 To 10000
RandNum = Int(3 * Rnd + 1)
If RandNum = 1 Then
gmrPx = (gmrAx + gmrPx) / gmrDenom
gmrPy = (gmrAy + gmrPy) / gmrDenom
gmrDisplay.PSet (gmrPx, gmrPy), RGB(255, 0, 0)
ElseIf RandNum = 2 Then
gmrPx = (gmrBx + gmrPx) / gmrDenom
gmrPy = (gmrBy + gmrPy) / gmrDenom
gmrDisplay.PSet (gmrPx, gmrPy), RGB(0, 255, 0)
ElseIf RandNum = 3 Then
gmrPx = (gmrCx + gmrPx) / gmrDenom
gmrPy = (gmrCy + gmrPy) / gmrDenom
gmrDisplay.PSet (gmrPx, gmrPy), RGB(0, 0, 255)
End If
Next iGMR
Next gmrDenom
End Sub

If you have difficulty with the code, please post a comment and I will try to help.

The Backend Mechanics of SMS Mobile Marketing

The Short Message Service (SMS) is a network protocol for sending short, usually text messages to wireless devices . Sarah Perez (see Perez on Mobile Mktg),says that SMS is a growing trend in m-commerce. SMS has many features that support m-commerce, which include (see Adobe on SMS)

1. Built-in Authentication
2. Secure Communications
3. Interactive Communications
4. Mobile devices already include the client

Cell phone carriers, such as Sprint or Nextel, provide SMS gateways for the transfer of text messages from computer to mobile phone. These gateways are the foundation of the mechanics for an organization, be it an aggregator mobile marketing service or a commercial business entity, to implement a mobile marketing campaign. As mBlox notes (2006, p 6, see mBlox on SMS), there are over “a dozen US-based carriers to serve all their customers. As such, SMS connectivity provided by any single carrier would be incomplete.”

The solution is to determine the carriers that service the customer publics targeted by the campaign. Their SMS gateways are published and provide the hook for a database driven campaign to reach the customer. For example, Wikipedia has a list of mobile phone SMS gateways by carrier (see SMS Gateways in Wikipedia).

Duncan (2005, p 392), says an important aspect of mobile marketing is that “messages can be targeted not only by individual cellular phone number but also by time and location of targeted customers.” Having a relevant customer database is critical, so that demographic and psychographic characteristics can be used to customize message content and to insure that only customers interested in the message are included in the distribution.

An example data retrieval from a customer database using the ColdFusion language common for Web projects is:

(cfquery name="gmrMobile" datasource="heat")
LastName, FirstName, CarrierGateway, Phone, Demographic1, DemographicN, Psychographic1, PsychographicN

FROM dbo.Customer

dbo.Customer.SelectCharacterisitic = #CampaignCharacterisitic# and dbo.CustomerOptIn = ‘YES’

To send the message from our computer based application to the customer cell phone, we need to combine the cell phone number and carrier to form the correct gateway address. The process using our results above is:

(cfset gmrgateway=" #gmrMobile.Phone#" + “@” + #gmrMobile.CarrierGateway#)

For example,

Assuming my phone number is 800-555-1212 and my carrier is Sprint, the Sprint SMS gateway is according to Wikipedia. So my email from the computer would be sent to the gateway

which in turn forwards it to the SMS client on my cell phone.

A function would be called for each customer record returned from our database call in a loop. The function call looks like:

(cfinvoke component="Your.Component.Name" returnvariable="SendMailSimpleRet" method="SendMailSimple")
(cfinvokeargument name="strTo" value=" #gmrGateway# ")
(cfinvokeargument name="strFrom" value="Your_Name@Your.Company ")
(cfinvokeargument name="strSubject" value="Your Mobile Topic")
(cfinvokeargument name="strBody" value="Your Mobile Message")

The “your mobile message” in red would be formulated based on the customer demo and psychographics.

The code for the SendMailSimple function above that sends the mail to the SMS gateway is
(cffunction name="SendMailSimple" hint="Send Mail Simple" displayname="SendMailSimple" returntype="string" output="true" access="remote")
(cfargument name="strTo" default="" required="true")
(cfargument name="strFrom" default="" required="true")
(cfargument name="strSubject" default="" required="true")
(cfargument name="strBody" default="" required="true")

(cfmail from="#ARGUMENTS.strFrom#" to="#ARGUMENTS.strTo#" subject="#ARGUMENTS.strSubject#")


Duncan, Tom (2005). Principles of Advertising and IMC. New York: McGraw-Hill Irwin.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Microsoft and New Media. Port25.

There is a growing belief that the Internet is a more interesting place than the PC and that the next generation of software will be developed on the Internet. Such work is furthered by the Open Source Initiative, which encourages the sharing and contributions of the wide audience on the Internet. Open Source software strikes at the essence of Microsoft, the value add it gives to the environment is offered for free by open source.

Microsoft must address the emergent open source software. The most important publics are not only the open source community, but equally government and large corporate customers. Social media can give Microsoft both feedback information as well as voice for its open source related messages. Port25 is a Microsoft blog for interactive communications about open source.

Naturally, Microsoft puts a positive spin on the Port25 mission. “Port 25 is about having a healthy conversation with customers and the industry wherein people can talk openly and honestly about their biggest interoperability challenges, whether it is on UNIX, Linux, Windows, or among other open source packages.” The pillar posts for the blog were published in March 2006 and stressed the interoperability theme. A prime example is at and is a video interview with a noted Open Source guru who had been hired by Microsoft.

The site seems to be in decline. Over the past two months, only seventeen posts have been made. Here is an IceRocket trend graph:

My conclusion in reading the Port25 postings and responses is that Microsoft is trying to send an interoperability message to the three publics I mentioned above. Only the Open Source technical public is commenting. This is no interactive communication with strategic buyers. Top Microsoft management should engage in this blog to expand the scope of interactive communications to also capture strategic buyer interest.

To read a more complete analysis, see Redmond Review Port25.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Social Media at the U.S. Mint

The U.S. Mint is a revenue-generating agency that has a profit making relationship with its numismatist public. The U.S. Mint for Kids site (Link to Mint for Kids) is good case study for analyzing how the ethics of marketing to children would apply in the new media.

A Detailed Site Description
The U.S. Mint handily describes the site as a “fun, educational tool to generate interest in coins the U.S. Mint and U.S. History.” The site displays animated cartoons appropriate for children. It also has coloring pages related to the topic of the U.S. Mint and coins. For older students, there is an on-line library, and downloadable articles on topics related to coins.

It also has 21 games ranging in difficulty from simple to complex. All of the games involve a trivial pursuit theme, naturally related to coins. All in all, this site has comprehensive information about the products it sells in an age appropriate, attention getting format.

Does the Site Work in Promoting Coins?
According to Director Michelle Bartrum, (See Wiley) the Mint’s revenue generating activities were ideal for the Web. After her introduction of Web marketing, sales at the Mint jumped from $2000 per week to $1.4M per week. She also introduced a series of communities of interest accessible from their Web Site.

David Scott’s ground-breaking book The New Rules of Marketing and PR could have used Bartrum’s strategy with kids as a case study to reinforce his points about “thoughtful and informative” content driving marketing (p 31). David continues to emphacize content on his blog, see Optimizing a Site.

Bartrum’s stated purpose in creating communities of interest was “to develop an ‘online community’ of coin enthusiasts that return to the site over and over.” This not only included kids but a special effort was made to reach out to kids.

Is it Ethical?
In his book, Business Ethics, DeGeorge (2005, pp 343-344) discusses the morality of marketing to children. Marketing intended to be manipulative is generally held to be unethical. Because of their unique vulnerabilities, children are more easily manipulated and so precautions are necessary.

Young children are very impressionable and believe most of what they hear and are unable to clearly separate truth from fantasy. Adolescent children can critically attack fantasies but are still vulnerable because of their social insecurity. The morality test is "does the marketing coerce or manipulate?"

According to this standard, the U.S. Mint for Kids site is right on the line. It is reaching to an interested segment of young children, with a potentially high frequency. It is driving home the allure of coins. It has effectively increased sales. In reviewing the site, though, the intent seems to be information rather than manipulation.

The Word of Mouth Marketing Association, WOMMA prohibits marketing to children under the age of 13 as unethical (See Media Post or WOMMA). According to this standard, the U.S. Mint is unethical since it has clearly defined marketing goals and tactics it is employing to reach pre-teens. I do not consider the U.S. Mint Kids site to be unethical. Integrated Marketing Communication per se is not unethical and the U.S. Mint Kids site does not attempt to exploit the mentioned vulnerabilities of young children or adolescents. The WOMMA Code does not seem realistic in this regard.

The law pertaining to child web marketing is the The Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) (see EPIC) and it prescribes limits to the “collection of personal information when a child participates in online games and contests.” Naturally, the U.S. Mint did not violate the statutory restrictions.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Buzz Building Basics for Blogs

Yaro Starak has published ten techniques to create buzz for a blog (see Blog Buzz )

I am experimenting with Starak’s first tip and have created five pillar posts for my blog, which is about new media. He also recommends preparing a steady supply of other postings on new media that can be added to the blog so it doesn’t get stale.

My first buzz building technique is to do what both Starak and Scott recommend and comment on other blogs. Scott (p 211) says “Commenting on other blogs and including a link back to your own is a good way to build audience.” I plan to go to the blogs that have high traffic according to IceRocket, for “new media”, “integrated marketing communications” as keywords.

My second buzz building technique is to find a blog carnival on “new media” or “integrated marketing communications” and submit one or more of my blog posts. I will go to to find appropriate carnivals.

My third and longer term buzz building strategy is book-marking. I have included widgets on my blog for book-marking with Del.Icio.Us and Digg so others can bookmark my site. I will bookmark my blog with my accounts on these sites once everything is ready to go. According to Arrington (2008, p1 ), Yahoo has integrated Del.Icio.Us into its results rankings. Del.Icio.Us book-marking can improve the search results ranking for my blog.

Here is the html for adding a link to Del.Icio.Us book-marking:

(a onclick="''+encodeURIComponent(location.href)+'&title='+encodeURIComponent(document.title), 'delicious','toolbar=no,width=700,height=400'); return false;" href="")
(img src="" /)

Here is the html for adding Digg book-marking:

(a title="George's%20New%20Media%20Review%207"" href="" target="_blank")
(img src="" /)

Another buzz building technique that Starak recommends is Trackbacking. This is including my posts references to other popular blogs on new media and integrated marketing communications such as Paul Gillin’s blog, and David Scott’s blog. Unfortunately, does not support TrackBacking at this time (see BloggerCom_TrackBack ).

Sunday, June 1, 2008

SMS Sender

The SMS Sender is javascript that formats an e-mail from your computer for delivery to your phone company's sms-email gateway. That gateway then forwards the email as a text message to your cell phone. On your cell phone, if you reply to that text message, it goes back to the gateway and is converted to an e-mail and sent to your email service.

It shows the mechanics of how a computer can send and receive messages from a cell phone and this is the essence of how sms marketing is done, except this is using your email client for demo purposes.

The javascript code is:

(SCRIPT LANGUAGE="JavaScript")(!--
function getLink(text) {
for (var i=0; i(document.links.length; i++)
if (document.links[i].href == text) return i;
return null;

function gmrAddr() {
var output = 'mailto:';
for (var i=0; i(document.smsGateways.selectName.length; i++) {
if (document.smsGateways.selectName[i].selected) {
if (output == 'mailto:')
output += '?to=' + document.smsGateways.selectName[i].value;
output += '&to=' + document.smsGateways.selectName[i].value;
document.links[mailtoLink1].href = output;

(FORM NAME="smsGateways")
(select name="selectName")
(option value="")Sprint Mobile(/option)
(option value="")Virgin Mobile(/option)
(option value="")Verizon Mobile(/option)
(option value="")Teleflip(/option)(/select)

(A HREF="mailto:gmr" onClick="gmrAddr()")Send Mail(/A)

(SCRIPT LANGUAGE="JavaScript")(!--
var gmrMail= getLink('mailto:gmr');