the sally sisson blog


July 27, 2014

Content Marketing With a Side of Bacon

Denny's Content Marketing Campaign

How Denny’s Became a Weirdly Successful Content Marketer

This Fast Company article about Denny’s off-beat content marketing campaign got me thinking. About the power of brand personality, the importance of taking creative risks, and about two eggs over easy, hash browns, rye toast and a side of bacon. Make that Applewood smoked bacon. (Caution: Reading and writing before breakfast may lead to obsessive tendencies.) But seriously, this is a smart, targeted marketing strategy that’s capturing a whole new audience by speaking their language, while still keeping it real with its loyal, long-time customers.

baconDenny’s is serving up fun and engaging material across multiple channels and formats. There are retro Atari video games featuring odd combos of Denny’s items (like hash browns) with Atari game elements (like asteroids) resulting in titles like “Hashteroids” (get it?). Although I’m far from the target audience, I did get a kick out of the web series Always Open with Jason Bateman, Sarah Silverman and Will Arnett dishing with celebrities in a Denny’s booth.

All this talk about food and content also reminded me of one of my favorite content marketing examples of all time : The Waffle Shop (not to be confused with Waffle House, which reminds me of Jim Gaffigan).

Content marketing broadcasting

Waffles With a Side of Content (& Storytelling)

A rooftop storytelling billboard, a TV production studio, live music. What’s not to love?

This is one of my favorite examples ever. So I was happy to see it as the #1 pick in the Content Marketing Institute’s compilation of 100 Content Marketing Examples last year. The story of The Waffle Shop, an independent Pittsburgh restaurant with a wildly creative approach to content marketing, was originally featured in: What if You Sold Waffles with a Side of Content?  by Andrew Davis.

I’m off to make some breakfast so will leave you with this excerpt:

“The Waffle Shop was a neighborhood restaurant that produced and broadcast a live-streaming talk show with its customers and operated a changeable storytelling billboard on its roof. [It} was a public lab that brought together people from all walks of life to engage in dialogue, experimentation and the co-production of culture. [It] functioned as an eatery, a TV production studio, a social catalyst, and a business.

“What’s interesting about [this] experiment is that they leverage a content-centric approach as the centerpiece of their business — it’s not a marketing project or a blog; in fact, the content is one of their products.”

 

 

 

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February 8, 2013

Snow Fall: An exceptional piece of interactive multimedia journalism

Interactive multimedia content

Snow Fall: The Avalanche at Tunnel Creek, by John Branch

Captivating.

This is one of the most impressive interactive news stories I’ve seen. Click the picture above and experience it for yourself. Grab a cup of hot chocolate and watch the whole thing. Trust me, it’s that well done.

Behind the scenes.

It took more than 11 staffers at the New York Times more than six months to complete. One can only imagine the budget. To learn how this interactive news story was made, read this Q & A with the graphics director, multimedia producer, video journalist and editor who worked on the project:

How We Made Snowfall:
A Q & A with the New York Times team

“The New York Times’ astonishing Snow Fall: The Avalanche at Tunnel Creek, launched in the final days of 2012, capped a year of extraordinary work in interactive journalism, both at the Times and in newsrooms around the world. In the six days after Snow Fall’s launch on December 20th, 2012, it had received more than 3.5 million page views and 2.9 million visitors, nearly a third of whom were new visitors to the Times website.”

Disclaimer from an armchair reporter

I am neither an adventurous skiier, nor an adventurous sports person of any sort. But as a young girl I spent many weekends on the bunny slope at Stevens Pass, the setting of this story. I remember stories of my older brothers skiing at Seventh Heaven, as well as stories about my dad almost dying while climbing Mount Rainier.

My family moved from Seattle to Boston when I was five years old, and I spent occasional winter weekends on intermediate slopes while friends raced down black diamonds.

But I admire great storytelling and was quickly drawn in by this piece. I am excited to see what this team, and others like it, come up with next.

Best wrap-up I’ve read

The Atlantic: ‘Snow Fall’ Isn’t the Future of Journalism
Journalists will continue to find more options and build more tools to astonish us. Stuff like this will get better and better and slightly more frequent, one hopes. But it won’t become, generally speaking, frequent….

Give “Snow Fall” the respect it deserves. It doesn’t need to bear the augury of “journalism of the future.” It’s just a rare and sensational gift for readers in the present. That’s quite enough.

 

 

 

 

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February 5, 2013

Creative Inspiration: Finding your bliss (on a bleak February day)

He Was Me: The power of storytelling

A sweet (yet powerful) little ditty on doing what you love. If not for a living, then at least for a while each day.

This FableSnack, a short animated film from the prolific folks at FableVision, is about “the inner child in all of us, and the eternal struggle to retain our sense of self in a busy world.” It reminds us to not “trade joy for a job,” as FableVision’s Paul Reynolds puts it. Not always easy, but always worth remembering.

It was written and drawn by the talented Peter H. Reynolds, author and illustrator of The Dot, Ish and dozens of other delightful children’s books and multimedia products.

I knew Peter, founder of FableVision, and his twin brother Paul, now CEO, back in our college days and had a hunch they’d go on to do great things. Doing such inspired and meaningful work on such a grand scale is a great thing indeed. Being rockstar media producers and such nice, grounded people at the same time is even greater.

Read their story here:

About FableVision
In 1996, FableVision’s founder, Peter H. Reynolds, had a vision: to create a “social change agency” to help move the world to a better place. FableVision is dedicated to helping ALL learners reach their full potential and to telling “stories that matter, stories that move.”

…and get inspired yourself!

The Stellar Cafe
The Dot FableVisionInsights gathered along the journey about creativity, art, teaching, learning, life – Peter H. Reynolds

Peter’s Tips on Creativity
Creative thinking is the fuel for getting things going. Dreaming about the project is a huge part of the process. The actual ‘doing’ requires following through on the dream, but the dream is the rough sketch.

A Film by FableVision Studios: He Was Me
Written and drawn by Peter H. Reynolds, He Was Me is a quiet story about the inner child in all of us, and the eternal struggle to retain our sense of self in a busy world. In the film, as a man waits at a bus stop in the rain, his inner child is brought poignantly to life as he reflects on his past and ponders his future.

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