Friday, 5 August 2011

Ingenious ways of engaging people.

Can you imagine buying a t-shirt in order to read a magazine article, a mystery t-shirt once every 5 weeks site unseen? Before I get to that I’ll ask: is advertising only about shouting loudly at as many people as possible?
I have many jingles from the 70’s and 80’s adverts rolling round my head: ‘For mash get smash’; ‘Accrington Stanley? Who are they?’ ; ‘Cleans as it shines as it polishes.’ For a century advertising has shouted at us from the television, hoardings and newspapers. That behaviour has sunk in we’ve switched off to it we think it’s normal. In the new century we carry across this shouty man to the Internet. But doing that is probably wrong.
So what instead? You could engage your customer, get them emotionally involved. I admit I don’t like shopping, especially clothes shopping, is there a way you could get me interested? I’d have thought not but recent events prove me wrong.
When I was writing about Sailor Twain and kickstarter (funding was raised by the way, hooray) I was reading about illustrators. One illustrator linked to a design of his on a website called This was not just a shop, it had a twist, one that hooked me in.
Threadless invites you to vote for your favourite designs, they print a selection of the winners every week. This produces a collection of distinctive ever changing designs. I found one I liked. End of story? Actually no, there’s more to it than that.
Voting was quite fun, I go back and vote even though I had already purchased. The designs themselves are submitted by customers of the site which adds an extra dimension. I found it compelling enough to submit my own humble see-saw design.
With a design in play I am even more engaged with the site, that’s better than any 70’s advertising I remember (though ‘Um bongo, they drink it in the congo’ is up there.) Sure in my early teens a particular section of the Grattan catalog saw many repeated visits but this exceptional Internet marketing has enormous pull.
900 people a week submit designs, as of writing nearly 300 people have voted on my design.
Do you think that’s wacky, well what about the magazine I teased you with at the beginning? Go read about T-post, it takes the threadless idea and twists it again. T-post is a subscription magazine that you wear, yeah I know not for me either but I bet for some they are really into it.

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