Fun, BIG Ideas!

You know what, GLAD WORKS friends?

We should never underestimate the Internet’s ability to provide new ways of interacting with people.

Last week when we were talking about the kitty playhouse that Friskies built, we started thinking about how many of us overlook the Internet as a viable way to do business. It goes beyond having a website or a few social media accounts. It’s about having fun, big ideas and having the courage to carry them out.

We loved the Friskies Plus Playhouse for exactly that reason. It was a very fun, very big idea and people ate it up!

Look at us! We’re still talking about it!

But the ability to interact with cats over the Internet isn’t a new thing. Cat sanctuaries have been using interactive online playrooms for shelter cats for a while now. Viewers can control something called the iPet Companion.  It employs cutting-edge technology, robotics and digital connectivity, which allows people to manipulate robotic toys and interact with pets from afar with just a few clicks of a mouse.

How wonderful is it that shelters have made use of technology in such a way? Not only are the shelter cats getting the stimulation they need, but people can get to know and fall in love with a homeless pet. It’s like volunteering to play with cats at the shelter, or taking a future pet for a test drive without leaving the house!  You don’t even have to wash your hands or get fur on your pants.

Along similar lines, have you guys heard of the Santa Claw? (You gotta click that link to see how they did it!) You know those claw machines you see at arcades where you move a giant claw to see if you can grab a prize from inside the glass display case?  Around Christmas time, The Santa Claw made quite a splash! It was a huge claw game you could play from home on your computer by manipulating controls on a graphic interface. People would hop in the virtual line, and when it was their turn, they’d get control of the claw for one turn. A webcam mounted on the claw showed its position as people tried to snag a prize from a pit of wrapped gifts and inflated balls.

The prizes included Samsung phones and tablets, a life size Santa Yoda made of Legos, and many other awesome things. If you snagged a gift, they mailed it to you!

Perhaps what was coolest about this is the way they promoted it. Giant tokens were sent to a few people in the mail to start generating a buzz. The first players shared their games on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. As word spread, the queue line to play the game grew… and grew! 

Soon, they had 200,000 hits in three weeks. Thousands of people tweeted about it, and a bunch of bloggers got involved to spread the word. None of those things cost them a penny in advertising, but it created a very respectable level of buzz and made them lots of new friends. It’s a great example of how powerful social media can be--especially when you’ve got something fun and free and novel going on.

Marketing is no longer a one-way interaction with information merely passing down to potential customers. Instead, marketing has become a two-way conversation between advertiser and audience. The new challenge unfolding today is how to leverage that to an even higher degree by encouraging and facilitating audience to audience conversation… that elusive updraft known as “buzz.”

Imagine what you could do if your customers could actually test your products, totally risk free, over the Internet. It would be an incredible way to generate sales and make lots of new friends. People will think of you as an innovator and respect your sense of adventure—and they’ll tell all their friends about it too. Those are the best kind of clients to have!

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