Low Latency Customer Response – Wheat Thins

Low Latency Customer Response

More low latency advertising that responds rapidly to tweets to or about the brand.

Actually the first one happened before the Old Spice culture hack.

[There’s a great comment below:

I’m very amused… I believe ’em… but… the one thing that’s preventing me from blogging about your incredible use of social media— HOW are you finding where these people are located in order to accost them with the wheat thins?]

It didn’t happen in near real time but it did respond to tweets and turn the response into a film, or commercial.

In fact, by that proviso, the Domino’s work which re-contacted people from the focus group and tweets with the new flavor of pizza has a similar quality – responding directly to consumer needs using ‘advertising’ vehicles.

[Full disclosure CPB client.]

What I think I like about this is that yes it’s again about reversed polarity, but it is specifically addressing customer needs or frustrations in a [metaphorical, advertising] way that had been expressed unsolicited, which is what companies should do in general because customer service is marketing.

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Ben said…

Hey Faris,

This is an interesting set of ideas (rising expectations for latency and social media), but I don’t think it’s particularly new. I did a program like this a couple of years ago (The Smart Show for Holiday Inn Express–written, shot, edited and pushed live every day for 40 consecutive days, responding to messages, news, etc:

This was before Twitter was anything but a nerd playground and built off of Ze Frank’s The Show, which I think was the pioneer (and most awesome) low latency project. Old Spice hit a cultural moment, and executed and activated the hell out of it–but it’s not new. (although now they have MADE it new through their success.)

Reply July 29, 2010 at 03:43 PM

farisyakob said…

ze frank is a genius, no doubt! Nothing is truly NEW my friend – that’s what genius steals is about. The show was indeed low latency response – hadn’t really thought of that.

I guess the forces that drive this form and the adoption of technologies that facilitate it are increasingly prevalent in culture. To your point – twitter has only in the last year filtered into the popular consciousness.

But yeah live tv has been around for a long long time 😉

Reply July 29, 2010 at 03:48 PM

farisyakob said…

or indeed radio call ins 😉

Reply July 29, 2010 at 03:48 PM

Brian M. said…

Isn’t the problem the ad world is built on latency? It takes a while to get campaigns off the ground, measurement is nearly always backwards looking, not to mention how campaigns go on and off. Pre Old Spice, W+K got a lot of kudos for the EA Tiger Woods video that responded to a YouTube video showing a flaw in the game that made it appear Tiger could walk on water. It was nice. The problem is the original YouTube video was posted eight months before the response. I don’t blame W+K. Clearly getting time with Tiger was hard when he was busy, well, you know.

A twist on your concept is high-metabolism marketing, which is the need to constantly produce content in large quantities based what’s happening in an always changing environment. One of my favorite less-heralded examples of high-metabolism marketing was Anomaly’s “Kissing with Ross” response to VH1’s Best Week Ever. It was done a day or two later. Was that response video in the plan? Probably not. But it was low-fi enough — a dude with a beard making out with glass — that it was possible.


Reply July 29, 2010 at 03:58 PM

Todd Pasternack said…

Hey Faris,

My initial thought on “low latency advertising” was that is wasn’t very scalable. Though possibly effective (and often humorous!), I can’t imagine how agencies can provide a solution like this for all of their clients.

Then I started thinking, well maybe not all of them should. For at least two reasons: First, it would create a ridiculous amount of unnecessary noise. Even if the content is phenomenal, there would be so much to weed through that the effort for LLA (nice acronym) would simply be diluted. Second, it still boils down to good creative, and making a connection with the viewer/consumer. You can respond within seconds to a tweet with a video, but if it sucks then… it just plain-ole sucks and gets the brand no where. It may even hurt them.

Guess I’m kinda typing out loud a bit, but really I’m curious what your thoughts are on this. If the future is an RSS-feed of brand response messages deployed across screens, does this leave the consumer at the bottom of a brand pile-on, forcing them to push to the top to find their “personalized response?” And are brands actually going to respond to each individual tweet with a production like Old Spice?

Or is it more about your other point that “customer service is marketing?” Indeed a brand is obligated to respond to each of its customers and address their concerns or issues… but with the scale and production of what we’ve seen recently?

So, Faris. Where do we draw the line on LLA and what do you feel makes it work?



Reply July 29, 2010 at 06:18 PM

farisyakob said in reply to Todd Pasternack…

So…good questions 😉

So – in order

to provide this kind of work for clients requires us simply to spend less time in meetings and learn to make things ourselves, not outsource them to production companies, remaining in tune to the world in real time. there are HUGE inefficiencies in how we produce things.

Should they all? No – not everything is right for every client.

but – let’s address the NOISE idea.

noise – or CLUTTER – from the POV of a client is simply other people’s advertising. but this is silly. there is already AN INFINITE amount of NOISE in the world. content is ubiquitous. youtube is infinite.

you cannot add anything substantial to infinity, so don’t worry about that.

Also – everything we do boils down to ‘good creative’. And yet 99% of it is not good.

which seems odd.

personalization can be algorithmic. but will brands respond more to people with reach and influence? always. the same way they respond differently to celebrities.

And finally yes the brand IS OBLIGATED to respond to everything its customers direct at it. that’s the job.

products are ALL services now.

the scale issue is OUR problem not customers. they can make film for no cost at all. we have to decrease our workflow latency.

the line, in terms of using customer response as content creation stimulus, depends, like everything, on whether it is the right thing for the audience, the brand, business and so on.

the challenge, i think, is making anything work, in a digital sense, that’s awesome, more than once. we get bored easily 😉

rock ON FX

Reply August 04, 2010 at 09:24 PM

Tim G said…

Back in 2001, we create a website for Dr Pepper where a brand character would respond to user’s emails in real time. The thrill of getting a real response from a brand character wasn’t lost on the market, and pretty soon we were flooded with requests. A lot came down to client trust. (I just wish I knew more about how to promote that story back then.)

I envision a future when some major brands could have ‘brand control centers’ that can create and feed in content in real time, and respond quickly. It would be partially automated, but also staffed with ‘brand actors’ who would be a cross between brand manager, strategist, and creative. Basically, like a daytrading room…constantly analyzing the market and responding tactically.

Why not? We’re a step away. If you could develop the software to manage all of that you’ll be set.

Reply July 30, 2010 at 04:51 PM

farisyakob said in reply to Tim G…

tim – i think you are on to something here. but real time agencies would only work if the agency is the client is the production company…..

Reply August 04, 2010 at 09:25 PM

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