The On-Demand Brand: 10 Rules for Digital Marketing Success in an Anytime, Everywhere World

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Call it the digital generation. The iPhone-toting, Facebook-hopping, Twitter-tapping, I-want-what-I-want, how-I-want-it generation. By whatever name, marketers are discovering that connecting with today’s elusive, ad-resistant consumer means saying goodbye to “new media,” and hello “now media.”

Featuring exclusive insights and inspiration from today’s top marketers—as well as lessons from some of the world’s most successful digital marketing initiatives—this eye-opening book reveals how readers can deliver the kind of blockbuster experiences that 21st century consumers demand. Spanning social networking, augmented reality, advergames, virtual worlds, digital outdoor mobile marketing, and more, this book presents an inside look at digital strategies being deployed by brands like Coca-Cola, Burger King, BMW, Axe Deodorant, NBC Universal, Doritos, and many others.

Revealing ten essential secrets for capitalizing on the right mix of digital channels and experiences for any brand, this book reveals how to demand attention…before the audience hits the snooze button.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Well-written, and extremely interesting....Truly a banquet of new, fresh ideas, Mathieson's book deserves a spot on every marketer's bookshelf." --Inland Empire Business Journal

Publishers Weekly
The consumers of yesteryear—a captive audience glued to “mandatory” commercials during a weekday sitcom—are long gone. Today's consumers dodge ads whenever they can, watching streaming video, immersing themselves in online content, and becoming more and more removed from traditional advertising. And today's marketers are desperate to connect with this elusive, increasingly ad-resistant consumer republic. Madison Avenue has had to struggle to keep up, and Mathieson (Branding Unbound) has excellent ideas for how it can. A brand is a story, and it's a company's job to find a way to make it compelling. Advertisers need to start thinking more like programmers, considering more creative content for their audiences. The most successful campaigns of late have spoken to consumers in a way that's interesting and engaging beyond the scope of the product itself (e.g., Burger King's Subservient Chicken site) or possess shock-value (e.g., Dove's Campaign for Real Beauty) or provide entertainment beyond the scope of the hard sell. Through persuasive arguments and q&a's with the major players in advertising, Mathieson makes an excellent case for greater creativity and outside-the-box thinking backed up with solid ideas. (Apr.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814415726
  • Publisher: AMACOM Books
  • Publication date: 4/28/2010
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 6.48 (w) x 9.32 (h) x 1.12 (d)

Meet the Author

RICK MATHIESON (San Francisco, Calif.) is a leading voice on marketing in the digital age. Harvard Business School’s Working Knowledge calls him “a strategic marketing expert.” His insights have been featured in ADWEEK, Advertising Age, Wired, Broadcasting & Cable and on MSNBC, CBS Radio and NPR. A regularly featured speaker at industry events, Mathieson also serves as vice president and creative director for Creative i Advertising & Interactive Media, and is the author of Branding Unbound.

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Read an Excerpt


You can always blame it on Burger King.

It was, after all, nearly three decades ago that the “Home of the

Whopper” first introduced a simple, seemingly innocuous notion into

popular culture that would have profound and unexpected repercussions

well into the twenty-first century.

As those around in the 1970s can tell you, consumers everywhere

were told that, yes, they could “hold the pickles,” or “hold the lettuce.”

With a song and a smile, TV commercials featuring dancing

cashiers reassured a previously unrecognized nation of anxious fast

foodies that “Special orders don’t upset us. All we ask is that you let us

serve it your way. Have it your way—at Burger King.”

Have it your way. A simple, refreshing, underheralded introduction

to “mass customization,” the technological capability to personalize

any order, on demand.

Fast-forward to the present day, and you can see the workings of

what has irresistibly and incontrovertibly become an on-demand

economy. The medium that introduced us to that old-time fast food

campaign couldn’t be more different. Where once there were three

broadcast television networks, there are now literally hundreds of

TV channels, seemingly niche-programmed down to subsets of subsets

of consumer tastes.

History buffs, homosexuals, gardeners, and gearheads all have their

own TV networks. Programming is no longer a one-time-period-fitsall

affair. Indeed, it is no longer a one-device-fits-all affair, either.

In what the television industry often refers to as 360-degree programming—

the practice of making content available for consumption

via any number of consumer devices—you can watch the latest episode

of NBC-TV’s The Office or MTV’s The City either live or time-shifted

on your TV screen, your computer screen, the screen of your mobile

phone, your car’s built-in entertainment center, or the monitor on the

airline seatback. On your schedule. At your convenience. Always.

What’s more, this content is no longer bound to what you view and

hear, but how you interact with it, mold it, make it your own.

Today, you can take part in extended realities of your favorite

shows—online games and experiences that expand upon the program’s

plotlines and characters so you can delve into backstories or divine the

next major plot twist.

You can react to, or spoof, what you see on the Boob Tube via

YouTube—creating and uploading your own video satires in record


You can comment on or even shape storylines by lobbying online

among the show’s community of interest—those who are passionately

involved with the show and even those who produce or distribute it—

via forums, blogs, and more.

You can even live within your favorite TV programs, through 3-D

virtual worlds where you can hang out with characters and fans in

environments replicated from the shows.

This media revolution has not occurred in a vacuum, of course. It

has been enabled by technological advances that have come to define

every facet of modern life.

Back in the antediluvian days of Burger King’s “Have It YourWay”

campaign, consumers who knew their bank tellers on a first-name

basis looked on skeptically at the rollout of ominous, monolithic

machines known as ATMs.

Today, these same consumers routinely and cavalierly check balances,

make purchases, and place trades from home via their laptop

computers or while on the go, via their iPhones and BlackBerrys.

The trip to the bookstore is often usurped by a quick click to Business trips and vacations are arranged in moments,

with nary a thought of calling one’s travel agent (remember those?).

And high-ticket items, from automobiles to real estate, are regularly

searched, categorized, compared, and even purchased on the fly.

In just about every corner of society, “just a moment” isn’t good

enough anymore. Waiting for anything—cash, food, our favorite

products and experience, dished up just the way we like them—simply

will not stand.

Clearly, this revolution is having a seismic impact on every facet of

how we work, learn, and play. But in an age of immediate, malleable,

and very social real-time media, its most profound effects are on those

seemingly least prepared for this changing world: marketers.


Indeed, a generation of consumers weaned on Facebook, iPhones,

TiVo, Twitter, chat rooms, and instant messaging has grown accustomed

to living seamlessly and simultaneously on- and offline, accessing

the people, content, services, and experiences they want—when, where,

and how they want them—using whatever devices they have at hand.

In short, “now” is the new “new.”

I’ve long referred to this phenomenon as “the Burger King

Syndrome,” the notion that in an increasingly fragmented, tech-driven

media universe, the only rule that matters is as simple and powerful

as those television commercials of yore: Have it your way—or no

way at all.

Over the last few years, what was once a world of quaintly interactive

Flash- and HTML-based “new media” web experiences has

morphed into a digital universe that’s highly personalizable, uniquely

sharable, and eminently social—characterized by new applications

and services that are driven by the so-called “Web 2.0” effect. Now,

the web is no longer merely about content retrieval. It’s about realtime

content creation, participation, collaboration, and exhibition.

Amazon shoppers long ago moved from just buying books and

videos to dissecting them—arguing their merits and debating their

value with others—threatening to unseat professional movie, television,

and music critics along the way. Likewise, those trips to iTunes

are not complete without reading shopper reviews of everything from

The First Avenger: Captain America to the latest album from Coldplay.

This “social web” is growing fast.

According to the Pew Internet & American Life Project, 35 percent

of the adult Internet population in the United States actively uses

social networking sites. Once logged on, updates to their personal

“profile pages” are instantly broadcast to their far-flung family and

friends’ computers and mobile phones.

Most are updates of the most banal variety—“I just had a burrito

and I’m thinking about taking a nap”—or involve updates and results

from a myriad of supremely irritating quizzes and games, from “What

Does Jesus Think of You” to “FarmVille.”

At this writing, over 1 billion people participate in social networking

worldwide, with a growth rate of about 25 percent per year,

according to comScore. The growth rate in Europe is 35 percent; in

the Middle East, it’s 66 percent.

And then there’s microblogging.

Nearly 8 million people regularly use applications like Twitter,

with which they send and receive “tweets,” very short updates for

“followers” about what the “twitterer” is doing at any given

moment—homework, coming home from a date, or picking their

noses—in 140 characters or less. Never mind that 60 percent of people

stop using Twitter within a month of signing up, at this writing

anyway, it’s a hyperbolic wonder.

For whatever reason, television news and talk show personalities

seem especially enamored with sending an endless stream of updates to

feed the cult of personality—a notion that went into overdrive when

Oprah Winfrey began twittering, and when actor Ashton Kutcher

became the first person to top 1 million Twitter followers, or “tweeps.”

The content of these celebri-tweets tend to range from the solipsistic

to the soporific. A missive from David Gregory, host of NBC’s Meet

the Press, for instance, might share with followers that he just finished

rehearsing this week’s show, and that he’s thinking about having a bagel

before airtime. A typical tweet from Oprah: “Worked out an hour. And

now going to read the Sunday papers and have a skinny cow or 2!”

None of this is to say Twitter hasn’t become an important tool for

journalists, editors, writers, and others in the media industry who use

it to stay on top of, or follow, news as it breaks—as evidenced by developments

many first heard about via Twitter—from the death of pop

star Michael Jackson to unrest over disputed presidential elections in

Iran to the earthquake in Haiti.

Which brings us to that original form of microblogging—text messaging—

which everyone from political activists to party-going

teenagers to celebrity stalkers uses to organize collective actions ranging

from staging protests to throwing raves.

Today, over 100 million Americans send and receive text messages

on any given day—including 65 percent of all mobile subscribers

under the age of thirty. Indeed, if tweeting is the purview of celebrities,

texting is the lingua franca of teen lifestyles. According to

research firm comScore, just 11 percent of Twitter’s users are between

the ages of twelve and seventeen. By contrast, over 83 percent of teens

use text messaging.

In the mobile space, this on-demand connectivity is taking new

forms every day. Looking for instant access to new recipes? The latest

sports scores? A digital musical instrument you can play with others

around the world in real time? How about the bestMexican restaurant

within a three-block radius, at least according to some 142 patrons

who’ve recently eaten there? Today, it’s safe to say that, yes, there’s a

mobile app for that.

And all of this is just for starters.

Thanks to an explosion of broadband accessibility in recent years,

nearly 62 percent of all Internet users in the United States—some

184 million people—consume the kind of free or ad-supported

online video to be found at, YouTube, or Hulu, or subscriptionbased

services like Time-Warner Cable’s TV Everywhere service.

According to Pew, nearly 57 percent8 of these viewers routinely send

links to videos they’ve watched to others, creating a network multiplier

effect that frequently produces viral hits. Just ask Susan Boyle, who

rocketed to international fame after her spinster-turned-superstar

appearance on Britain’s Got Talent. Within nine days her performance

of “I Dreamed A Dream” was viewed over 100 million times online.

Of course, some like to do more than just watch. According to

Pew, nearly 15 percent of online consumers actually post their own

“user-generated” videos to sites like YouTube, where they can be

instantly shared with the 79 million people who have so far viewed

some 3 billion videos there.

Meanwhile, nearly 4 million online Americans9 regularly log onto

virtual worlds like PlayStation Home, Second Life, There, and Vivaty.

Once there, they select and customize “avatars”—cartoon representations

of themselves—and proceed to make friends, buy real estate, open

businesses, join clubs, attend art exhibitions, go swimming, or even

fly—at whim or with the help of a handy jetpack—while jacked into virtual

versions of their real-world selves from anywhere on Earth.

Today, these worlds increasingly work in reverse—in adventure

games like JOYity, in which users run around real-world cities, from

London to Helsinki to San Francisco, with an “augmented reality”

game overlaying the physical world, and visible only by viewing the

cityscape through a smart phone’s camera screen.

Factor the $4.8 billion we spend on online games, from World of

Warcraft to Tap-Tap Revenge,10 the $11 billion a year we spend on

console games like Guitar Hero, and the endless hours we spend on

multiplayer casual games like Lexulous, and it’s clear that instant,

social gratification is here to stay.

In short, something cool, and truly profound, is happening in the ondemand

economy. But for Madison Avenue, keeping up is hard to do.

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Table of Contents



RULE #1 Insight Comes Before Inspiration

Q&A: The Klauberg Manifesto

RULE #2 Don’t Repurpose, Reimagine

Q&A: Alex Bogusky Tells All

RULE #3 Don’t Just Join the Conversation—Spark It

Q&A: Virtually Amazing: Sibley Verbeck on Building Brands in Second Life 2.0

RULE #4: There’s No Business Without Show Business

Q&A: Adrian Si: Rewriting the Rules of Branded Entertainment

RULE #5: Want Control? Give It Away

Q&A: “Obama Girl” Makes Good: Ben Relles’s Racy Videos and the Democratization of Digital Media

RULE #6: It’s Good to Play Games with Your Customers

Q&A: Mike Benson and the ABCs of Advergames

RULE #7: Products Are the New Services

Q&A: Agent Provocateur: Goodby’s Derek Robson on Reinventing the Ad Agency

RULE #8: Mobile Is Where It’s At

Q&A: BMW and Beyond: “Activating” Traditional Media through the Power of Mobile

RULE #9: Always Keep Surprises In-Store

Q&A: The Future of the In-Store Experience, from the Father of Social Retailing®

RULE #10: Use Smart Ads Wisely

Q&A: The Social Net—Privacy 2.0

Additional Resources




About the Author

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