Traditional Media

K-Swiss+Kenny Powers=Marketing F@cking Genius

K-Swiss finally decided that they were tired of being the punk of the sporting apparel realm. With their foothold on the free-running market and new Tubes training shoes, an outsider may have preciously guessed that K-Swiss was at the edge of greatness with their products. Unfortuntely, the ‘edginess’ of their products did not match their overall brand identity. Happily, with the help of 72andSunny (LA), that all changed with three little words: Kenny Fucking Powers. Okay, maybe those are big words and somewhat brash but that’s where K-Swiss is going. No matter the size, K-Swiss and Kenny Powers just changed the game.

If you haven’t seen the full, uncensored Kenny Powers movie, here it is. There’s no sense in reading before you know what I’m talking about. You can ask yourself later why this was uploaded by an ‘independent’ YouTuber.

Why Was it Genius?

It was genius because K-Swiss finally found the combination that speaks to the male athlete (or wannabe athlete). Kenny Powers was a cult icon in my dugout during college baseball. He has the same cult following with the G4 audience (gamers for you n00bs). This blunt, loveable yet very assholesque Kenny Powers is someone that everyone can enjoy. When you combine him with athletes that span the gamut of competition, you have a crew that the American people can really get behind. Even young women fall in love when they see Kenny Powers hanging out with stud athletes like Urijah Faber and workout fiend, Jillian Michaels.

That being said, many marketing teams may understand the genius of this combination and love it but it was the brass ones of K-Swiss that made this genius. Don’t get me wrong. I love 72andSunny and all of their work. However, as many of us know, going into a boardroom and bringing the crazy awesome is one thing; accepting the crazy awesomeness is another.  K-Swiss let Kenny Powers be Kenny Powers. They didn’t water him down for a mainstream audience. They gave him to you raw-dog and that’s what makes them geniuses.

What Happens Next for K-Swiss?

This initial roll-out on sites like FunnyorDie.com and Break.com isn’t the only thing that K-Swiss is coming out with. According to The Ad Buzz, K-Swiss will run a 90 second spot during the ESPY awards on ESPN on July 13th. You can count on this campaign’s viral buzz to only go up once that video runs for sporting fans around the world. The Facebook and Twitter numbers will continue to boom as K-Swiss’ YouTube channel will cease to be irrelevant. (Maybe they’ll even skin it!)

Will there be a backlash within certain communities? Maybe. Does it matter? No. K-Swiss has shown that they are seeking that ever-elusive young male market. They can deal with a couple religious groups getting mad when their excited sons play the video for their friends.

The real question is what will the response be from Nike, Adidas and Under Armour? Do they even care at this point or will they let this slide. I have my own opinions about what each will do but I’m trying to keep this article short and sweet for you all. There’s no need to be long-winded just to sound more intelligent. Kenny Powers would call that _____ _____(insert epletives here) and I’m not a _______ (one more expletive).


Where Marketing is Going: Tim’s Opinion

Marketing degrees around the country are proving to be less and less relevant as academia has struggled to stay a year behind the power curve. Truly, the dynamic atmosphere that attracts many young professionals to the advertising industry is also what makes the industry impossible to be fully prepared for. What is over the horizon one month is cool, popular the next, adopted in three months, and obsolete in two more months.

As academia has struggled to keep up with the marketing industry, so have the agencies struggled. Constantly, once formidable agencies are falling behind the power curve. As the world once changed from traditional media to digital media, so too is it now changing to an integration between digital media and reality interaction.

The digital world is consuming itself as it moves closer and closer to towards reality. Social media and search continuously move closer together as Facebook and Google continuously fight over bandwidth and control over your information. Music and sports are now consumed on a personal level as fans can connect with their favorite celebrities on different sites such as Facebook, Twitter and VYou (still in Beta). Now, digital touchpoints are becoming a piece of a much larger puzzle. It is up to the agency world to realize that and plan accordingly.

In addition to the merging of the real and digital worlds, social Media and viral content are now becoming mainstream. The birth of “ceWebrities” is truly something that cannot be ignored. It started with Tila Tequila and now forward thinking companies are integrating viral celebrities such as DeStorm in their campaigns. (If you don’t believe me, look up DeStorm and then look up Wonderful Pistacios, Pepsi Refresh Project and GE Green campaigns.) These viral figures have an uncanny ability to connect with their loyal fanbases and turn general campaigns into grassroot efforts. Agencies that understand this crossover will be able to connect companies to younger, hip target markets at will.

Basically, the industry is changing just as it always has. Those who take too much time to evaluate the direction will soon find themselves alone in the dark. It is more important now than ever to understand that only a campaign with integrated touchpoints can work. As advertising professionals we make our living by thinking outside of the box for our clients. How could we neglect doing the same for ourselves?


Why You Should Use Social Media for Your Product Launch

I was in a meeting the other day where the debate was held about whether or not we should open up discussions on social media about a product that I am currently launching for a client. I couldn’t believe that there was a question. I quickly grabbed my soap box out from underneath the conference table and informed the rest of our group exactly why we NEED to use social media in this product launch. I’ll spare you some of my condescending tone and less valuable points. If you ever find yourself in this situation though, remember these talking points. Feel free to memorize and regurgitate them like a pandering politician during a primary debate.

If you can't control them, embrace them!

People Will Always Talk

This is the information age. If you think that people interested in your product will not find out about it well before your official launch, you’re kidding yourself. It doesn’t take an army of tech-savvy people either. It takes one teenager with too much time on his hands and a big mouth to get the word out. If you don’t know where that voice is coming from, you can’t address it. When people talk, it is better that they talk in front of you where you have a voice than where you don’t.

People Root for Their Friends

If you are open with your consumer, they know that you care. If there is a problem, you want your consumer to know that you understand the problem and are looking to fix it. Let them know what’s different. If they voice their concerns, social media gives you a chance to let them know that their voice is heard. When you show your desire to please them on a personal level, you become a consumer’s friend and, in turn, gain their loyalty. They may not buy from you until you surpass your competition but they will go with you when it’s close and are less likely to leave you at the first speed bump.

Success Goes Viral

When you openly share, albeit through whispers, the next big thing; people want to know. While the first two bullets dealt with how social media can combat negative attention, if your initial responses are all positive, prepare for a viral onslaught. People will always share when they have knowledge of the next big thing. By quietly releasing more and more information about your successful product, you can ignite the kindles for the viral wildfire when your campaign launches.

Disclaimer: TEST GROUP MATTERS

If you want a viral ability to be built into your product launch, make sure that your test group is chosen by the right people. You want cooperative, vocal and industry-trusted figures in your test group. Make sure that they know that their opinions are not to be shaped by their relationship with your company. You merely ask that they talk to you about any large problems before relaying their concerns to their audience. This will allow for them to be honest while also informing them that you are taking steps to correct the problem.

In summary, social media allows you to control the conversation that will happen anyways. If the conversation is negative, you can address the issues before they spiral out of control. If the conversation is positive, you can feed that positive energy until you have brand ambassadors long before your true launch. Nobody trusts a closed company or one who only talks at its potential consumers. If you think that being quiet and staying out of the spotlight is your best option, prepare an opinion blitzkrieg when you finally launch your product and hear what people have to say. Worse yet, prepare for them to say nothing if they like it. It’s no longer cool to know that something is great when everyone knows that it’s great. Think about it. When’s the last time that you heard someone writing a story about how awesome crescent rolls are?