There has been a noticeable uptake in brands giving the public a vocal influence over product and marketing decisions, this could stem from the internet’s ability to crowdsource on a global scale. Most recently the Occupy Wall Street protests, Stop SOPA, and KONY 2012 have seen mainstream attention garnered from both offline and online sources. In addition, Crowd funding has had its share of attention with Tim Schafer of Monkey Island, Day of the Tentacle, Grim Fandango fame reaching out to fans to fund the development of a new point-and-click adventure game on Kickstarter. Fans were given the power to become stakeholders in a project that would never have got off the ground otherwise.
Grassroots: growing the passion point
Successful campaigns are fueled by the passion of fans, a great example of this is the “pay it forward" scheme where fans share their love over something with close friends in order to generate word of mouth buzz. However, the success of this approach can be rather hit and miss with prizes at stake, this ultimately inspires a lack of community and divides passion rather than bringing it together.
But alternate reality gaming has created a sense of community time after time through experiences that call on people to solve the game as no single person can do otherwise, the rewards are generally shared so there is nothing to lose and everything to gain in this instance.
Based on the Halo fiction, ilovebees was an original radio drama that was deconstructed and delivered to consumers over an unlikely broadcast medium: ringing payphones. ilovebees was a giant multi-player, multi-platform story, immersing players in the world of Halo2 in the four months leading up to the title’s record shattering launch.
During the campaign players hunted down and answered payphones in all 50 states and several countries around the world. Each week a new episode was broadcast to the phones which the players obsessively sought out in order to unlock the content online for the broader community playing the game.
I Love Bees Campaign (42 Entertainment)
Recent cases of crowdsourced marketing at work
Case 1: Fan involvement in movie score (The Dark Knight Rises)
In November 2011, Hans Zimmer reached out online for fans to contribute to the chanting heard at the end of the first teaser trailer to The Dark Knight Rises. They could record their sample of the chant, Moroccan for “He Rises, He Rises”, which Zimmer would then cut into the final score.
The chant became a very complicated thing because I wanted hundreds of thousands of voices, and it’s not so easy to get hundreds of thousands of voices. So, we Twittered and we posted on the internet, for people who wanted to be part of it. It seemed like an interesting thing. We’ve created this world, over these last two movies, and somehow I think the audience and the fans have been part of this world. We do keep them in mind. And I thought it would be something nice, if our audiences could actually be part of the making of the movie and be participants in this.
Hans Zimmer on The Dark Knight Rises (Collider, 2011)
Case 2: Entertaining market research (Nestle Kit-Kat Chunky)
This was UK market research on a grand scale. Peanut butter, white chocolate, orange, and double chocolate flavours were launched in January 2012 under the limited-edition banner. The public were then given the chance to vote for their favourite flavour on Facebook or by scanning posters for the campaign with the Blippar app. Well over half a million votes later peanut butter was crowned champion with 47% of the public vote and permanently added to the Kit-Kat Chunky roster.
Case 3: Early access to content (The Dark Knight Rises)
Another great instance spinning out from The Dark Knight Rises marketing machine came in April 2012 with the tweet graffiti campaign. The third trailer for the much hyped movie was set to be screened infront of The Avengers in cinemas on May 4th; howver, if users could find the Batman graffiti listed in real world locations across the world, it would go live ahead of official release which it eventually did.
The common thread to of these cases comes down to the interconnected web and our ability to harness it as a networking platform but more so than that, there is a an invisible concept at work that plays out behind the scenes.
Biologist Rupert Sheldrake explains the term morphic resonance as a memory principle that forms around social groups such as a flock of birds, a school of fish, or an ant colony. This extends toward the friendships and interconnections we create in modern society feeding into our collective memory and our influence over others with the morphic fields we share.
What you do, what you say and what you think can influence other people by morphic resonance. So we’re more responsible for our actions, words and thoughts on this principle than we would otherwise be.
Rupert Sheldrake (Crossroads Times, 2012)
Neuromarketing gone viral
If morphic resonance can explain how laughter is contagious and why people are tempted to join a really long queue without knowing what it’s actually for, it may go a little way into explaining the viral nature of the meta experience because we are driven by a subconscious and telepathic desire to contribute within our social groups (family, work colleagues, football teams).
If marketers can rally fans around a brand and then solidify this attachment by creating a shared experience that carries emotional weight, our human brain will give these experiences meaning and extra stickiness in our minds. Furthermore these unique experiences have the ability to be shared through social networks and then read on the largest morphic resonance field that we share in common, the internet.
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