Ypulse/Peer to Peer Marketing – MTV, MySpace, Disney


300 brand marketers from around the world gathered at the Hotel Nikko to share best practices on social media marketing to youth, and the biggest names in the business were mixing in the crowd talking openly about their hits and misses:  MTV, MySpace, Disney.  In great contrast to TWTRCON, which took place the day before in the same space, at Ypulse, all the talk was Facebook, with little mention of Twitter.   74% of GenY 18-24y does not tweet.

Campus Case Studies
Day One began with case studies of guerrilla marketing on campus.  There were hilarious Ask a Ninja recruiting videos for George Mason, “What’s  YourSmoothestLine campaign” for Pentel, MTVU putting the i in HP, Campus Media chalking for State Farm, an early Disney social network that kept alive a show with no stars and no marketing budget, Spring Break parties for Rockstar energy drink, and MySpaceRecords refresh of UOPX as Rockstar U.  Key points made:  

Relevance = Engagement  
Peer to peer marketing is the most effective, low cost way to create brand awareness.  Make the student portion of the work fun, and they’ll be marketing from the heart.  Keep it real, maintain brand authenticity, evangelism occurs when you match the brand to passion.  Allow the kids to speak the brand in their own language, will resonate more, carries more weight.  Messages that are pushed out are pushed back.  Detractors become promoters when a connection is made and complaints are acted upon.  Ensure ROI by setting clear goals with a rewards program, incentive pay, prizes like a cameo with friends or an industry job.  360 engagement is an effective way to season bridge a show without budget since film/TV marketing spend is all upfront.  

For Disney ABC’s Greek, campus kids were invited to upload videos to VirtualRush.com to win a walk-on role in the show.  UGC was used in 6 webisodes that played on iTunes, and the winner was hired at Disney.  At the close of the campaign the 20,000 fans aggregated were redirected to Disney’s community site.   One year later, embeds, apps, FB Connect and Twitter integrations are being experimented with on other properties.  Prizes now include a cameo with friends, and distribution of UGC webisodes extend to YouTube channel and  possibly Hulu.  There are deeper on-air integrations and at Disney they are working more cross-platform to drive each others priorities.  I asked Vicky Collier, VP Digital Media, Disney ABC Television Group, if a community of 20,000 engaged fans would be considered a success today, and she responded that “there is always an attempt to balance the numbers against the expense and the kind of show, so in some cases 20,000 would be a success and in others not a success.”  For Disney URock, the goal was to unify brand and cross-pollinate the platforms of Walt Disney Records, Disney Online, Walt Disney Internet Group to leverage the fandom that exists around Disney properties.  Allow fans to create custom content more organic to the platform.  Artists covering other artists on YouTube (Marie Digby), Happy U Year invited kids to make videos that showed up on tv shows as interstitials.  Nick’s iCarly, UGC is built into the conceit of the entire show.  Looking at best practices, objective is to drive traffic back to Disney.com as the hub site and core destination.  Moving kids from passive consumers to participants, using music as the driver, pick a song, download it, video yourself rocking out, check with parents, upload it.  Some kids even added CGI.  Key to success was that it was time compressed, just 3 weeks long. Then panel announced the launch of URock2 with new graphics, sandbox, toolsets and a mobile component.  Featured artists Selena Gomez, Demi Lovato, Michael Musso.  Marketed to moms means no embeddable function, no pesonally ID info, no addresss, clear rules of engagement.  Disney embracing more campaigns around fandom and UGC, amazing middle ground to nurture. Engagement metrics:  PPV page viewed per visitor, uptick in inquires.  

For Rockstar energy drink, Youth Marketing Connection integrated brand with relevant activities on campus, online, and at Spring Break, in 2009 recruited 75 reps with 900+ FB friends who fit the brand, reps were given VIP status, rewarded with celebrity meet and greets, free products, and incentive pay for reporting monthly FB monthly activity e.g. 6-8 photos, 3-4 events/parties, 8-9 mentions, achieved 320,000 cans in hands and 24mm+ impressions overall.  Make it fun, engaging, relevant, and authentic.  Incent behaviors that achieve desired results.  Kids will take a stake in programming when they can make it their own.  Brands also help them lead their own community.

Alloy Media & Marketing specializes in the 13-24y demo with media properties like Gossip Girl, online properties like Teen.com (23mm monthly uniques) and social media marketing campaigns, promotions and events for consumer product and entertainment brands.  To create awareness on campus for Pentel pens, Alloy launched the YourSmoothestLine campaign with the intent for its hilarious videos to virally spread the message.  Kids were asked, “What’s your smoothest line?” Answers ranged from “Are you tired, because you’ve been running through my mind all night” to “Is your dad a baker, because you’re a cutie pie”  FB app created by RockYou beat industry CTRs (.08% – .25%) with a whopping .5% CTR.  Marketers like to try different things every year, challenge is in leveraging fans and content aggregated when the campaign ends.

MySpace Records/University of Phoenix
For UOPX, MySpaceTV achieved a CTR 2.46% in their campaign to create tangible campus life around the University of Phoenix, an online school, by inviting nascent pop star Kate Voegele to talk to her peers about life on the road and how to finish school while pursuing your dreams.  Discovered by Tom Anderson, MySpace co-founder, when she was selling 500 tracks a week, Kate Voegele has now sold 300,000 albums and 900,000 tracks with no radio hit, no cover of Spin, no headlining SXSW, no SNL performance  yet.  Thanks to the exposure from the UOPX campaign she has gained 43,000 MySpace friends, 2B impressions on myspace.com/kateontour, and is topping the charts on Billboard and iTunes.  UOPX couldn’t be happier.  Attendance is up, alumni, faculty and students have an inspirational role model to rally around, and UOPX is becoming known as Rockstar U.  

For HP, it was all about getting street cred with creatives and challenging Apple’s dominance.  No small task for MTVU to transform young digital artists into HP evangelists, but fame is a great motivator and a contest to appear on a reality show, www.engineroom.com was how they deputized the core to carry the message. 60,000 submissions were received worldwide and showcased at CES and Sundance.  In the end HP hired some of the kids.  Ross Martin, SVP Content Development & Production, MTV360 was on hand to explain “Have the audience talk to the audience.”  Whether its the www.bestfilmoncampus.com, www.bestmusiconcampus.com where you can spend $70,000 on a creative spot vs. $300,000, or whattheflip.mtv.com  campaign, where Cisco had 100 student filmmakers capture the moments in their lives on a Flip.  Peer to peer marketing is the most compelling way to deliver the brand.

Who are the Millennials?  The definition is unclear, some say born 1980, 1981 or 1982 through 2000, or through today.  Pretty much everyone who came after Gen Xers, those latchkey 70s kids, who grew up in a hit-driven culture dominated by the Battle of the Network Stars and Saturday morning cartoon lineup.  No cable, no DVRs, no voicemail, no PCs, no web, no mobile, no nothing but being babysat by the tv, radio, record player and cassette.  The Boomers are the ones with the 8-track history and BW tvs.  The Millennials are considered the youth who are web/mobile natives because they grew up with the personal computer.   So when some marketers talk about targeting Millennials, they are mostly talking about 14-28y slackerface, sooner text than talk kids.  But of course there is a huge difference between a 14y and a 28y.  And there is much slicing and dicing the demo into attitudinal segments, as well as expanding the demo to everyone breathing.   

CASUAL GAMING – Addicting Games
Day Two began with a look at casual gaming.  Kate Connally, VP AddictingGames delivered the keynote.  According to comScore, in 2007 there were 67mm causal gamers and in 2008 that number shot up to 86mm.  Driving demand is simplicity, accessibility, relevance, low cost of development and distribution.  What the sitcom is to tv, casual games are to the web, snackable.  Casual is the overall gamer 8y-60y.  There are those who kill time while on a conference call, those who recharge with a quick self-esteem boost, the game enthusiasts, the guilty pleasurists.  Tweens like the virtual me who leads a parallel life in a fantasy world.   Teens  want to enhance the real me, establish own identity, seek social currency to feel cool and popular and hang out with real friends online.  Tweens are not on FB, MySpace.  Teens, perhaps as a result of the drivers license, teens spend less time on games and more time social networking.  Girls more social, want character to relate to.  Guys more competitive, want more action.  Can’t just reskin a game blue for boy, pink for girl.  Both multitask while they play:  IM, watch TV, phone, surf.  Both want to personalize the game experience, take game and turn it into something new, social, personal and original.  Makes games more appealing by layering in interesting storylines, a greater range of characters, scoring options to compete against friends, build in multi-tasking, games to play while on phone, pause function, high replay value, relevant to real world like Hero on the Hudson.  The shared public experience creates buzz.  Make easy entry and exit points.  Build in community, collaboration and creativity. Addicting Games primary revenue source is advergaming with brands integrating from the start of game development.  YouGotGame development contests invite play, vote, share with friends, upfronts paid to winners to license games for site.  Addicting Games Showdown runs from 6/3 – 6/27.  Awards show featuring the best in games will do a simucast web/primetime event on Nickelodeon Saturday, June 27, from 8 to 10 p.m. ET/PT.  Addicting Games iPhone app out soon.

AARP’s Lost Generation YouTube video sums it up: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=42E2fAWM6rA. 30 years from now I will not be celebrating my 10 year divorce, family will matter more than work, moving from an aspirational culture to an inclusive one, a society of worshipping heroes to a place where everyone is one, aspirational buying didn’t buy us happiness, seeking energy, inspiration, meaning, value, we wont change from being a western consumption culture, but it will become more sustainable and less wasteful, w
e live in a playlist culture, identity builder, kids are unique but part of a group, “I’m as unique and different as my friends,” everyone tries to be different and ends up looking the same, social graphs are fragmenting, small quanitities of diverse interests, brand stands in landfill as much as on the streets, fans forgive mistakes when transparent, this is the time to experiment, be upfront about failure, makes you more nimble, the dynamism of risk more living breathing to youth, conversation shifting away from hierarchy, dig to the truth, spin with whimsy, have an engaging back story, share, spread, mashup, integrate diverse ideas, kaleidoscopic culture, campaign is gone, relationship is everything, fans evangelize, build brand equity, cultivate relationship, shift from GenX cool as my own, to cool to share, how does fizzy soda get interesting, its about the story not the brand, what value are you adding to their lives, deliver entertainment, utility, fun, consider target needs, can fulfill them for time, money, brands can get in through those routes, brands seek out loyalists online and ask them what they want, do a twittersearch, google search – what is the brands perception online, be what you say you are, in a crowded marketplace give them things to improve their day and option to opt in or opt out, make info available but don’t push, demo is breaking into smaller groups, brands that resonate recognize that we dont like film, we like eco docs, recognize when someone is paying attention to me, most trusted brand – Apple, who else is doing a good job online Converse, Nike reaching out to culture (skaters) around shoes, cover niche groups/events, retribalizing continually – redoing it, learning, be flexible, nimble, dance with culture, don’t dictate, get as granular as possible, talk to people in environments where they live, recognize micro trend vs macro trend, macro trend is slower, its the soup we all experience, tune in with self, micro trends are fast moving trends annointed by media like pet rocks, hugging, used to medicate ADD, now its our culture, now its amplified as a trend, twitter skews older, creates moment to moment companionship that is addicting, easy in, easy out, more at cultureoffuture.com, undercurrent.com, trendcentral.com, intellig.com, influxinsights.com

LUNCH – Best Practices
At the table were Alloy, Microsoft, Undercurrent,Prospect Park record label, WhatKidsAreSaying.com, Colombia’s YouthMarketing.Info, and others.  We discussed best time to tweet for an entertainment brand.  Alloy confidently said best time was M 4:30pm EST, next best times, TT 4:30pm EST. Other discussion around how to measure sm engagement RT, impressions, wall posts, video response (weighted more).  Best tools:  Radian6, ScoutLabs, Cotweet.  What is everyone on:  FB, Flickr, YouTube, Twitter (but not for kids, must be 13y+ to be on Twitter).  Make ads to entertain, that are real, funny, authentic, connect with music, passion for causes, community.  Tell truth with irreverent humor.  Friends are the trusted advisor.  Ning vs. FB, skinning Ning is compelling for hub.  LA Count Dept of Public Health launching on June 13th teen focused social marketing platform about obesity.  Check it out at:  Werefedup.com 

 SOCIAL MOBILE – Nokia, Loopt, MocoSpace, Kajeet
 Nokia one of the world’s 5th most recognized brands according to Interbrand now has an apps and media entertainment marketplace at store.ovi.com with the SDK at publish.ovi.com.  Today over 1B people around the world use Nokia phones and last year about 450 million phones were sold.  90% on time on smartphones not spent on voice, rather surfing, games, music, messaging.  Geolocation will deliver value but the industry needs to make privacy controls easier in order for the masses to opt in, should be able to change privacy settings per action, not dig around on page 7.  Mobile offers much relevance.  In Star Trek, Nokia in the dashboard gave a great vision of the near future.  There was product placement in the movie, and the movie in the device.  The character/story has a halo effect on the Nokia brand and the entertainment brand with free themes, free wallpaper, free ringtones, free games, could still be on the device six months from now.  Fragmentation is the biggest challenge in mobile, outside of iPhone, you’re on a device/carrier/platform, and its still easier to throw up a website than it is to throw up a short code.  So the market has a long way to go to grow.  But there are powerful applications.  MocoSpace has a partnership with Def Jam Records who throws up unfinished tracks on site for fans to finish.  Loopt offers young urban pros 18-24y out on the town the chance to locate friends and family and find things to do nearby.   Dependant on the time of day, contextual ads are useful at influencing last minute decisions on where to go.  Kajeet, a startup with $74mm Series B funding from Draper Fisher, recognizing that kids get the first phones between 8y and 10y offers no-contract $20 disposable phones to tweens.  Kajeet markets to the mom, must earn moms trust, moms have dashboard to turn off picture mail, block phone numbers.  And Kajeet even promotes peer to peer marketing with a mom direct sales program with a referral fee of $25 per activation.  Some moms are earning $1500/year.  Relevance drives deep engagement.  Movie studios promoting the right property, ringtones, wallpaper, text/email to email have an open rate north of 50%.  Open rate on email is typically only 2.5%.  The sessions ended with great Q&A with input from Alice Lankester of Photobucket

TWEENS ONLINE – Yoursphere 
At the break it was time to check out the sponsors and learn about Yoursphere, a social network for tweens.  Because of COPPA, most social networks are only for 13y+.  But  Yoursphere was specifically designed with the tween in mind.  Catering to moms, the site verifies all IDs via drivers license or SSN prior to account set up, thus blocking criminals from participating.  This way your kid is socializing only with kids their own age, not adults pretending to be kids.  In this sanctity of this safe space, your kid is then rewarded for creative expression and positive interactions with friends. Cyberbullies get terminated.  The company spokesperson, the founder’s 10 year old enthusiastically took me on a tour of the site.  “You build spheres around an interest like the Raiders and are rewarded with points you can use to win prizes like an iPhone or the Wii.”  His eyes were glowing, “I almost have enough points for an iPhone!”  His mom, Mary Kay Hoal, told me of other social networks where the entire economy is based upon the buying and selling of hot photos, and owning profiles of other kids.  Gasp!  It sounded horrifying.  Kids these days are very entrepreneurial and want to show off their films, stories, music, analyses, inventions. Hey, they even want to sell them.  I suggested monetizing YourSphere around the buying and selling of the kids original content and merchandise, tapping into the allowance economy.   She replied, they are doing well with selling branded spheres to kid-friendly advertisers because engagement is so high, but is looking into ecommerce as well.

There couldn’t have been a better transition to the MyYearbook presentation, this time by Geoff Cook.  Recently I interviewed Geoff’s sister Catherine at SDForum’s TeenTech and was impressed with the amount of money they were making in lunch money, their virtual currency.  In just the past 6m+, they experienced revenue in the tens of millions with 10mm members 13y+.  “Branded actions spread product message like wildfire” explained Geoff.  “My Yearbook offers more engagement at a fraction of the cost of other social networks.  We offer 300% – 400% more engagement for the same level of spend as the other networks.  MyYearbook owns all the apps and can build in deep engagement for brands through game widgets, custom battles, featured gifts, shout out.  The better metric is cost per interaction, friends comments, widgets, gifts given.  MyYearbook can integrate the feature set around the currency.  The kids earn lunch money for engaging with sponsor, so with incentive for interaction, the eyeballs are near guaranteed.  Who would resist casting a spell on your friends especially if you’re going to earn money doing it.”  Then Geoff offered recession-busting pricing to drive down CPM.  His VP Advertising Bill Alena said they could offer game demo widgets per install at $.75 – $1.  Close to the CPC we’ve all been seeking.  As for safety, they assured me that 30 of their 100 employees are dedicated to trolling the site to takedown accounts that violate the TOS, and have won all sorts of industry safety awards.

The conference concluded with a near mobbing of Ross Martin of MTV360 who had returned to the stage to discuss fiscal responsibility with SmartyPig and others, when he answered a question with “MTV does not age up.”  Then he was asked why MTV had forsaken music programming and the generation that made the brand, and the chanting of “I Want My MTV” got louder and louder.  In an attempt to align with the audience, he cried out, “Even the back of my business card says I know you want more music programming.” (Actually the back of his business card says: “Card”) “We are starting to bring you 24 hours a week of music programming on AMTV.  MTVMusic.com has music videos.”  I guess what we really meant is that music sucks, we want the videos when Adam Curry was VJ.  That said, the audience seemed appeased until the next question, “How can you justify superficial programming like the Hills when you tout MTV as a vehicle for social change.”  And Ross made yet another great recovery by talking about Lady Gaga, that the definition of glamour was changing, no longer about the red carpet but about expressing who you are, and luxury brands need to reassess messaging with this value shift, we know what excess leads to, we want tools to create a better world, kids want to be part of the conversation, “Right now if you’re not getting into trouble, you’re doing something wrong.”

And that was it.  Couldn’t stay for Guy Kawasaki’s giveaways as I was off to CONNECTIONS, but I did have a chance to check out the awesome schwag on the side bar including a tongue wagging marshmallow lolly from Mindspark, Premise Warhol tees, Fuze mochas, SurveyU red cap, MyYearbook black tote, HeyJosh CD, and a big bag of Disney goodies including a mouse (not Mickey), thumb drive, Pixie Hollow/Club Penguin stickers, URock 2 CD, a ToonTown gift card and lunch.

Live Coverage Of The First Ypulse Urban/Multicultural Mashup



Live Coverage Of The Campus Case Study Slam



Live Coverage Of The Ypulse Mashup Day One Part One



Live Coverage Of The Ypulse Mashup Day One Part Two



Live Coverage Of The Ypulse Mashup Day One Breakouts 1



Live Coverage Of The Ypulse Mashup Day One Breakouts 2



Live Coverage Of The Ypulse Mashup Day Two Part One



Live Coverage Of The Ypulse Mashup Day Two Part Two



Live Coverage Of The Ypulse Mashup Day Two Part Three



Live Coverage Of The Ypulse Mashup Day Two Breakouts 1



Live Coverage Of The Ypulse Mashup Day Two Breakouts 2



4 Responses to “Ypulse/Peer to Peer Marketing – MTV, MySpace, Disney”

  1. Hi Martine,

    Lots of good coverage from the event! Glad you liked the limited edition Premise t-shirts. It’s fun being 10 years old! 🙂

    Premise Marketing Adventurist

  2. 2 Jason Lieberman

    Ypulse had some great thought starters hitting the teen audience. Hey Josh was a great presenter and really shot straight when talking about hitting the teen audience. I thought Mindspark did a great job with their table and both their sales guys were funny and engaging. I wasn’t sure if some of the panels or speakers really provided new insight. I’m looking forward to seeing some new innovations in the market.

  3. Hi Martine,

    It was great meeting you too @Ypulse…great coverage! I enjoyed a lot reading the Urban/Multicultural Mashup it was like being there again, tks!
    You have to cc Carisa for the Rockstar activity. carisan@youthmarketing.com

  4. Great event! I hope to attend next year. Very informative for newcomers to the industry.

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