Organic’s Chief Executive Officer Mark Kingdon is bridging the gap between brands and the digital space, one branded entertainment campaign at a time. With the top branding agencies in the world and big clients like Daimler Chrysler experimenting with online video, Organic has found a medium that talks to (literally) and connects with consumers. Kingdon shares his clients’ experiences in the online space.
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Start by giving us an overview of Organic and the services you provide.
Organic is a digital marketing agency. We work with major brands to leverage the digital medium to help them build longer, more profitable relationships with their customers.
What are some of the biggest trends that you’re seeing in the online space today?
First, the Internet is back in full force. Marketers are dramatically expanding the budgets for digital media. Second, we’re seeing a lot more video content being developed for the Internet. Third, we’re moving beyond just the Internet. With all of the content that’s now available on wireless devices, we’re moving into a three-screen world.
Tell us about some of the campaigns that you’re working on.
We work for brands like Dodge, Jeep and Chrysler, which are part of the Daimler Chrysler family. We’ve done a lot of pioneering work for them over the last five years. We helped them build a substantial presence online in the games sector, bringing games to their Web sites so that people can experience their vehicles in different ways. Most recently, we’ve been helping them develop really interesting campaigns like “We Are the Mudds” or “Unleash Your Freak” for two of their recent vehicle launches. Both contained a lot of video content that we created specifically for the promotions.
How are those campaigns doing?
They are very successful. A great deal of consumer interest. It really started for us with Chrysler when we did some videos for their spring sales event — relatively simple, straightforward customer testimonial videos. We found that people would visit the site and watch those videos for four, five, six, seven minutes at a time. That said to us that people were engaging with the brands in a very meaningful way through video. So video has become a very important element of our major product launch campaigns.
Give us a little background on how deals are created. How do you work with the brands? Do you collaborate from the start with the agencies working on the offline part of the campaign?
Usually we work very closely with our client and our other agency partners to come up with ideas for product launches. We talk a lot about how to bring the product to life and how we can build an experience that’s rich and immersive. Then we work very closely with the same partners to see [the launch] through to execution. It’s really helpful because, for instance, BBDO was our partner when we worked with Daimler Chrysler. They do all of the offline advertising, [and] have a lot of experience creating television commercials. And they have great contacts in that production world. So we leverage those contacts to find great places to shoot footage, to access directors, to find production houses and the like. Such a great partnership.
How are you incorporating some of the offline components of the campaign online?
As an example, we can and do feature music in our campaigns. That’s very exciting because music is an important part of pop culture, and provides a lot of cues and support when you’re marketing a vehicle. If there is a concert tour, a series of bands that are associated with the brand, we can build that into the campaign.
Tell us more about how online video has helped the consumer to connect to a brand’s message.
Research shows that all age groups watch video online, and particularly those age groups that are very attractive for marketers. Video adds an immersive dimension to a brand experience. People are able to experience any product or service in a richer way when there is moving image. Videos engage the consumer for periods of time that are longer than the typical sight experience. Four, five, six, seven minutes at a time. Brands are eager to put their products and services in front of a consumer for such a long continuous time period.
How do you measure the success of these videos?
Ultimately, when you’re selling a car, you want to know whether or not you’re generating leads for the dealers. So that’s the ultimate measure. But along the way, there are other important measures like the viewership of the video and the average length of viewing.
Do you feel that it’s absolutely necessary for brands to create an online component as well as an offline?
Yes. I can’t think of a category where a major brand shouldn’t have an online dimension to their campaign. The more the purchase for the consumer is a considered purchase or a high-involvement purchase where they want to engage with the brand, they want to gather more information, they want to learn. The Internet is the place where they’re going to want to do that.
Are brands more willing to experiment online than they would be in traditional advertising?
It’s safer for brands to experiment in the online medium because you’re going after a narrower audience. As an example, we created a campaign for the release of the Dodge Charger called “Unleash Your Freak.” As part of that, we had these animated characters that appeared in branded entertainment online magazine, but for the most part didn’t appear offline. [On the Internet] you have the opportunity to push the envelope a little further than you might in a 30-second spot.
What advice would you offer to brands who really want to enhance their online campaigns?
What do you have that you can build an engaging experience around? People want to be entertained. They want to be surprised.
Any trends you see for the next year to come?
I think that the budgets are going to grow dramatically. I think that we’re going to see a lot more rich-video content. I think the videos are going to be much longer and they’re going to become like mini documentaries or mini films about a product or service. I think we’re going to see a lot more investment in that area by major brands because it pays off.