Launched: Papa John's Road Trip augmented reality

Launched is a series that highlights practitioners who are using social media in consumer and B2B campaigns. The goal is to cut out the theory and rhetoric and focus on real world examples of social media in action.

This example is for a Papa John's campaign created by Fleishman-Hillard (my employer) and includes physical events, social media hooks and includes a cool augmented reality example. The campaign is in support of Papa John's 25th anniversary and ties into the Road Trip program. This post looks at the augmented reality application and tie to the broader campaign.

Here is a quick video overview of the technology:

[Feed readers please click through to the post to see the video.]

Marketing takeaways:


  • Good use of technology to tie physical customer interactions back to virtual elements and then through to transaction
  • Measurement through unique coupon codes in the augmented reality environment

If you have a suggestion for a future episode of Launched, drop me an email.

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Launched: MyVegas

Launched is a new series that I am doing to highlight practitioners who are using social media in consumer and B2B campaigns. The goal here is to show you what companies are doing out there, no theory or rhetoric, just real world examples of social media in action.

This edition features a private, branded social network for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority called MyVegas. The campaign comes from the folks at Critical Mass in Chicago and is a great example of creating a social utility around an experience. The site also does a great job of adding value to the user experience by making trip planning something fun. The RSVP (Really Simple Vegas Planner) boils down hours of frustrating phone calls and website visits into one fun, interactive tool. The site also allows for users to customize the look and feel as well as invite friends (or "entourage" as they call it) to partake in the planning.

Here is a quick video overview:

[Feed readers please click through to the post if you cannot see the video.]

Key takeaways:

  • Creating a private social network isn't for everybody, this works because it centers around an experience and it adds value to the user
  • The look and feel and copy writing are very much in tune with the Vegas theme and convey the attitude they're looking for
  • Fun and interactive elements add value by simplifying a very complex and laborious process into a couple of easy steps
  • The site uses the social elements of a network to connect people around the theme and make the planning experience better
  • I'd love to see more takeaways (applications or widgets) from the site that I could use on other networks like Facebook and Twitter

Overall this is a great example of how to do this type of branded network the right way. If you are launching a new site, application, widget or campaign let me know and I may feature it in an upcoming Launched post.


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Launched: Kenneth Cole's "Awearness" blog

Setting foot into the blogosphere can be a paralyzing task for many marketers. Despite the technological ease of entry, there are major psychological and organizational hurdles that have to be overcome. This new series will look at the brave marketers who overcome internal and external forces to join the conversation.

kennethcole.jpgKenneth Cole is the latest major consumer brand to swing into the new media jungle. Their new blog, Awearnessblog.com, focuses on social issues that are a major part of their business philosophy. If you are a Kenneth Cole customer you already know about the company's support of AIDS research and other causes as well as their quippy way of telling their story. Those things are combined here to tell a new story.

The blog has very little direct product messaging outside of a small link in the top right corner to "Shop Kenneth Cole". They've no doubt found that their customers share their social advocacy and it does in fact drive sales. The technology behing the blog itself is WordPress MovableType and rebranded to fit the Kenneth Cole look. The four main categories are navigable at the top of the page (social rights, hard times, well-being and political landscape).

I liked the way that they decided to launch this. Every newcomer should consider the following formula for launching a blog on the right foot:


  1. Tease the blog's launch well ahead of time and do PR outreach around it
  2. Allow people to be notified by email when it launches (one-click signup)
  3. Build a solid foundation of content (2 weeks minimum, but 1 month is preferable)
  4. Allow a group of advocates early access to build the conversation (comments in the case of a blog)
  5. Use imagery and video whenever possible
  6. Engage the head cheese (yes, Kenneth Cole himself has a voice here) to show commitment and understanding of the shift in the marketing paradigm

I think this is a solid formula to follow to get up and running. The following points are how I rate the effort overall:

Voice gold_star_sm.gifgold_star_sm.gifgold_star_sm.gifgold_star_sm.gifgrey_star_sm.gif
The blog stays true to its mission and the content is very focused. The voice of the brand comes through in the content as well as the auxiliary content.

Pre-launch readiness gold_star_sm.gifgold_star_sm.gifgold_star_sm.gifgold_star_sm.gifgrey_star_sm.gif
This blog launched with a very strong, focused cache of content. This allows newcomers to jump right in, see the direction, subscribe if they like it and start engaging through commentary. Having the top post be from the leadership of the company is a nice touch to set the tone right away.

Design/look-and-feel gold_star_sm.gifgold_star_sm.gifgold_star_sm.gifgrey_star_sm.gifgrey_star_sm.gif
The design is clean and to the point. The blog looks as I would expect being a Kenneth Cole customer, but also sets the tone for the brand to new customers. I would like to see a few items be added to make sharing easier including a clear RSS icon, subscribe by email feature and more prominent social bookmarking icons (del.icio.us/digg/etc.).

Content quality gold_star_sm.gifgold_star_sm.gifgold_star_sm.gifgold_star_sm.gifgrey_star_sm.gif
The quality of the content is really fresh, aligned with the tone of the site, carries through the voice of the brand and sets the stage for things to come. I love the use of photography and video to grab your eye and keep you engaged.

Content update frequency gold_star_sm.gifgold_star_sm.gifgold_star_sm.gifgrey_star_sm.gifgrey_star_sm.gif
The team at Kenneth Cole is setting the bar high right out of the gate. The posting frequency is around 3-4 posts per day which makes me wonder if they can keep that up. The initial frequency sets an expectation that is hard to back down from once started. This is a key consideration for any company looking to start out. Make sure that the expectations match the reality of your finite resources.

Conversation gold_star_sm.gifgold_star_sm.gifgold_star_sm.gifgold_star_sm.gifgrey_star_sm.gif
The conversations that were already going when the blog launched this morning make it clear the team knows what it is doing. These are not websites that we're launching. These are two-way conversation vehicles. The comments on existing posts make sure that newcomers feel comfortable sharing their thoughts. This is the same situation as in a classroom, nobody wants to be the first to raise their hand. The KC team has eliminated that anxiety.

Upper-level involvement gold_star_sm.gifgold_star_sm.gifgold_star_sm.gifgold_star_sm.gifgold_star_sm.gif
The top post on launch day is from Kenneth Cole himself. This shows a firm commitment to the medium as well as positioning him as somebody who knows what social media is and why it is important.

Are there other measurements that you would add to this list? What do you think of Kenneth Cole's Awearness blog?

If you are ready to launch a new media effort at your company and would like me to cover your launch just drop me an email.


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