24 September, 2007

Ecko Rocks the Vote, or Why I'm a Genius.

OK, for the regular readers of this blog (thanks, Mom and Dad!), you may remember my post discussing how to get the maximum marketing mileage out of Barry Bond's homerun ball. Kudos to Marc Ecko for taking my advice (or the advice of someone who shamelessly stole my advice and passed it off as their own) by putting the fate of the ball up for a vote by the masses. Well played, my friend. Well played.

For the record though, I come to not to praise Marc Ecko--only to analyze his approach. So, how's the campaign stack up?

Originality: Grade B+

It’s the best idea ever stolen from me. Consumer voting has been used before, but usually it's been more closely associated with a product (e.g. choose a new color for M&Ms, pick your favorite Doritos commercial). In this situation, he's using it as a brand builder. Ecko, the fashion maverick that he is, understands his demographic. His clothes have always been for The People. Now, his brand is of The People; by providing us everyday folks with the chance to weigh in on an emotionally/historically charged topic, he’s telling us we matter. Yes! Us, 1. Not Mattering 0.

Creativity: Grade B+All right, burning the asterisk into the ball is pretty hardcore. I dig the irony. And sending it to the Hall of Fame is a classy option. But shooting it into space? (Cue cliché 80’s high-school movie slow-clap, building to enthusiastic applause.) Bravo. Granted, I’d still like to see the ball shredded in a wood chipper and mailed to Barry Bonds, COD. Ecko does however miss a prime opportunity to further blend his brand with the fate of the ball. Perhaps pull it apart, make something wearable out of it, then auction it off and donate the proceeds to whales with cancer or, better yet, me.

Impact: Grade A-
At the time of this writing, the vote tally was just shy of ten million. Not bad considering this campaign has existed almost exclusively in forwarded links, word-of-mouth, widgets for people to include on their own sites, and a few national TV interviews. Extra points for the frugality of execution (even including the bazillion dollars he paid for the ball).

Extension: Grade Incomplete
After casting your vote, you’re given the opportunity to submit your email address to receive voting updates and final results. Not sure where it goes after that. I submitted the email addresses of people I don’t like and none of them has complained they've received additional spam…yet. My guess is email lists will be used for further CRM initiatives and sales promotions, eventually.

All-in-all, Ecko’s Vote756.com campaign is a great way to build a little brand equity, if I do say so myself. And as the brain trust behind it, I do. Man, I rule.

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