Marketing Conference Intro Video: Inbound 2013

The following video is an introductory animation designed by Hubspot for the INBOUND 2013 marketing conference in Boston.

The clip’s ingenious animation makes it a vibrant, exciting video.

Arrowed lines turn into explosions of paint, there’s growing graphs, moving cogs, a sun that transforms into raining clouds before drifting into the sea and a city that’s built from mobile devices falling from the sky. It goes on and on in a captivating sequence of motion, and each image cleverly visualises every point the narrators make.

While the message that the video expresses is great, it’s delivered in an extremely annoying accent. The narrator changes from male to female half way through, yet constantly sounds a bit robotic, like Robin Williams in the 1999 film Bicentennial Man, which is bizarrely at odds with the video’s desire to inspire a “more human world”.

To be totally honest, some of the language makes me cringe. “Together, we can stop acting like strangers and start connecting as people. Together, we can build a new, more human world. Together, we will transform. Together, we are Inbound.”

I’m all for grandiose statements, but building a new world is a bit preposterous.

Nevertheless, the overarching sentiment of the video is admirable; “Don’t call me the customer. Don’t call me the consumer or the buyer. I’m not an order number. I’m not an entry in your database. I’m not an opportunity in your CRM… I’m a person.”

That’s the video’s chief concept and that’s the mind-set companies should be thinking in.

People need to be valued and treated with respect, it’s the only way to build a positive brand. As the video says, “While I may or may not buy your product, that doesn’t mean I don’t matter to you.” Our reviews and recommendations could make or break companies extremely quickly, with the internet acting as light-speed word of mouth.

Even if the verbal delivery is slightly nauseating, the video is a triumph of animation and purpose. It even ends by reiterating the vital importance of publishing content that’s relevant and helpful to customers – but never interruptive.


We all scream for Ice cream

This is a great marketing idea for Häagen-Dazs. I don’t know about you, but I’d get a tub just to check it out!

Watch the video above to see how it works.

Known as the Concerto Timer, the ice cream manufacturer’s app plays a “virtual violin concerto” when you point your smartphone’s camera at the lid of any pot of Häagen-Dazs.

My favourite aspect of the ingenious digital marketing gimmick is that the performance will last for two minutes, because that’s apparently how long it takes for the ice cream to reach the ideal consistency for eating, according to Häagen-Dazs.

Häagen-Dazs obviously haven’t considered my exceptionally cold freezer – I’d probably need the app to play a full opera before the ice cream was edible. Nevertheless, it’s a really cool app and buzz-inducing marketing strategy.

And personally I can’t wait to see where other brands take this technology in the future. Chicago Town Microwave Pizza boxes that play jazz for the time the pizza takes to cook? Jars of Nescafe that play protest folk while the kettle boils? Time in the kitchen might never be the same again!

Mini Marketing

In two previous posts on the e-shot blog we’ve highlighted some brilliantly inventive, modern advertising ideas.

From wi-fi-enabled recycling bins in London that can track your smartphone, to a bus stop that transported photos of waiting commuters into live advertising boards in funny poses and scenarios.

Well, this summer Mini took this personalised, live advertising idea. And made it bigger.

In their zany #notnormal campaign, the car manufacturer used human spotters equipped with iPads to locate a Mini travelling in traffic. The iPad wielders input a couple of quick details – the model and colour of Mini and so on – and instigated personalised messages to appear on each billboard further down the road.

One series of posters said, “Early start Mr. Grey Mini driver?” then, “Need a pick me up?” followed by, “Fancy a tasty bacon butty?”

Rather than a misleading tease, the succeeding poster read, “See you at the next garage”. Sure enough, at a nearby petrol station the grey Mini driver was given a free bacon sandwich as promised!

Some other messages encouraged drivers to pull over at the nearby petrol station for free car washes (if the iPad user had spotted a particularly dirty vehicle) or to receive complimentary bouquets of flowers.

Watch the video below to see some of the other generous rewards and special treatment dished out to Mini drivers.

The ingenious campaign was designed to make drivers feel like part of an exclusive “not normal” élite – emphasised with a #mininotnormal hashtag.

Potential of Smart Watches

Time for Change

With nearly everyone owning a mobile phone these days it felt like a safe assumption that the wrist-watch has been slowly dying out. Apart from as a fashion accessory or a nostalgic throwback, why bother wearing something so basic on your wrist when you can just as easily whip out your phone to check the time? And how about combining the two? Well, Samsung and Sony have taken it upon themselves to answer this question that nobody asked.

Sony’s Smartwatch 2 is out now and Samsung have recently unveiled their effort, the Galaxy Gear. While techies and nerds get excited by any unusual gadget – even at prices ranging between $179 and $299 – for the rest of us the whole thing seems a bit ridiculous.

Samsung’s Galaxy Gear looks like a futuristic take on the classic Casio, the ones with the calculator keypad that were popular with hipsters in 2004 and Marty McFly in the 1980s. The battery life is currently only a full day of “regular use” (whatever that means), and the presence of a spyhole camera with video recording gives the impression it’ll be popular with peeping Toms above anyone else. On top of this, the Gear allows you to answer calls which seems like an inventive but awkward idea, depending on how it works.


Sony's Smart Watch


However, I can be as disissive as I want, but Apple, Microsoft and Google are all apparently perfecting their entries into the modern timepiece market. And history tells us it’s that point when things will get interesting.

The potential for a wave-making technological development on the same level as tablets and smartphones is up for debate. But as the giants of the gadget world prepare for fierce competition, rapid developments surely won’t be far away.

Crucially, the Galaxy Gear’s biggest revelation is enabling email alerts and email access on your wrist. It’s an advancement that the marketing world needs to watch out for [pun intended].

With many companies either oblivious, or only now beginning to get to grips with formatting their messages for mobile devices, how quickly will they react to an even smaller display size? Undoubtedly, the potential for reaching prospects and customers via a device that’s permanently attached above the hand could be an opportunity too good to miss. And those that capitalise on this fastest could be unearthing a goldmine.