Wright of Way

Friday, January 13, 2006

Brand Atlanta -- Does it Really Suck?

At a recent AMA Atlanta luncheon, this was the question posed by a local radio station "plant" in the audience. After a compelling presentation by two of the top Brand Atlanta architects, Vicki Escarra and Hala Moddelmog, a 99X field reporter thought it'd be a funny bit to heckle the panelists and rib them about the Brand Atlanta campaign. We caught part of his tirade and badgering on mp3 as part of the AMA's Podcast series.

That joker aside, does the Brand Atlanta campaign really hold water? And what about from a rich media marketing angle? According to Escarra, the development team treated this effort like a political campaign and felt that 51% approval should be considered a victory. Here's how ATL's top politico (Mayor Shirley Franklin) sees the campaign.

Some media have been very hard on the campaign - and it's hard not to see there point when compared to other city's marketing efforts like Las Vegas or New York.

It certainly wasn't for a lack of effort. The Brand Atlanta team brought together some of the brightest marketing minds in the country to help get this off the ground.

The Brand Atlanta site was developed by Spunlogic, an Atlanta web design company. They likely had to get massive buy-in from creative by committee (a nightmare any way you paint it). My feeling is that the online component could have been so much stronger with the right touch of rich media marketing know-how. Where's the interactivity, the playfulness, the culture? These elements are tough to impossible to convey in a billboard or print ad. And it takes a ton of money to get the distribution of a TV spot (the campaign only had $8 million). That's why online should have played a bigger role.

In the end it was a good presentation and made me see their point of view. The shock jock was just there to be disruptive. He didn't give his name, but his did describe himself fairly accurately. This is the type of people that work at 99X.

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