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FEATURE1 April 2009

60 Second Soapbox – Melanie Cameron

Melanie Cameron, a director at Conquest, has had it with web 2.0 but is enjoying comparing meerkats thanks to a certain ad campaign

My favourite new product is…
Last.fm. I know it’s not entirely new, but I’ve only recently discovered it and I’m still in the evangelical phase. I enjoy the combination of a UK-based internet radio and music community website, which builds up a profile of your musical taste. It really is like having your own online, intelligent DJ mixing old favourites while offering relevant new selections. Technology that actually enhances your life.

One client I’d like to get my hands on is…
Of course, I would love to work with Innocent. It has such an exciting authentic story in a highly competitive sector. Innocent is also one of the few brands that seems to truly understand co-creation and how to foster a real two-way product-consumer relationship, through special events like the Innocent Village Fete. The current economic climate will doubtless present challenges to premium brands like Innocent, but the strong emotional connection it has built with consumers should give it strength and resilience.

One idea I wished I’d had…
Twitter. So simple, so engaging – despite being so apparently pointless to the unconverted. It’s also really interesting to see how the momentum has gathered around it just over the last couple of months. With Stephen Fry’s infamous lift-bound twittering, and even Obama now at it, it seems as if a tipping point has been reached and it’s here to stay.

The best campaign I’ve seen recently is…
My favourite ad campaign of the year so far is Compare the Meerkat (for car insurance comparison website Compare the Market). A little piece of genius in a dull predictable sector – driving home name saliency, while building brand warmth and empathy at the same time. I love the truly integrated nature of the TV and online activity (where you can also compare meerkats should you feel inclined) and it still makes me smile every time I see it.

A campaign that needed more research is…
The NatWest ‘Another Way’ campaign. On the surface making fun of competitors’ arrogant, unintelligent staff is a great strategy. However, in my view Nat West are not differentiated enough from the competitors to carry off this campaign, and the NatWest brand is unwittingly tainted in the process, leaving me with unanswered questions about NatWest’s own service and a nasty taste in the mouth.

One thing we should all be thinking about is…
Digital marketing. Traditional research techniques simply do not provide all the tools we need to evaluate and advise our clients. We need to harness the opportunity presented by the online environment to develop innovative and creative new ways to research this area. If market research is to remain relevant and command respect in the wider commercial world, we need to tackle the issue of exploiting digital head on.

One thing the industry could use less of is…
Talking about Web 2.0 (or 3.0 for that matter). We’re so over that now. Online is now a natural part of our social interaction – with each other and with brands. It affects us all and should not be treated like a mystical specialist field – so can we please stop talking about the internet.

And one thing never to forget is…
Everything will change.

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