Facebook Extends a Hand to Madison Avenue

April 27, 2011

An Article highlighting a new opportunity for the charity regarding Facebook.

 

Facebook Extends a Hand to Madison Avenue

 

By TANZINA VEGA

 

Published: April 26, 2011

 

FACEBOOK is looking to make some new friends on Madison Avenue.

 

The social media giant has started a Web site where ad agencies can display their work and is hosting live events for advertisers. It also has begun hiring staff to work with agencies, and for the first time it has allowed an agency to design a space for ads on the Facebook Web site.

 

“When it comes to creativity and brands and the advertising world, there’s nobody better from a strategic perspective and creative perspective than the agency community,” said Blake Chandlee, the vice president for global agency relations at Facebook.

 

Until now, at least in the United States, Facebook had account teams that worked directly with brands, in some cases bypassing agencies. “A lot of agencies came back and said ‘How can we make sure we’re leading this?’ ” Mr. Chandlee said. The sheer scope of Facebook — the company has more than 500 million users and the average user has 130 friends — makes it a logical place for advertisers, who typically have focused on consumers with one of seven types of ads on the right-hand side of a Facebook page. The ads appear in a space known as an ad unit, and in August, Facebook invited some of the biggest ad agencies and holding companies to create its eighth and newest ad unit.

 

It received 100 responses from 10 major ad firms before choosing Leo Burnett Chicago, part of the Publicis Groupe. Leo Burnett’s ad unit was chosen because it was innately social, personal and did not disrupt the user experience, Mr. Chandlee said.

 

Using the existing interactive ad units, marketers can ask users to click that they “like” an ad, answer questions in a poll (Do you like movies?), respond to event ads (Are you going to see this movie?), accept free product samples, watch videos or use Facebook applications.

 

While the name, look and release date of the new ad unit are still being wrapped up, the basic functionality is clear. Marketers will be able to use the ads to question users and those users will be able to type answers in response. The answers will then show up in a user’s news feed.

 

“This is the first ad unit that will let brands do effective word-of-mouth marketing at scale,” said Mark Renshaw, the chief innovation officer for Leo Burnett Chicago. The answers to marketers’ questions will be analyzed by Facebook and Leo Burnett using sentiment-analysis tools, along with data from Nielsen on brand awareness and engagement.

 

The new ad space will be used exclusively by a select group of brands for the first two months and will then be available to others. Brands participating in the initial phase include Hallmark, Sealy, Walgreens and the Ronald McDonald House Charities. “What drives our charity is true engagement of people,” said Doug Porter, the chief executive of Ronald McDonald House Charities in Chicago and northwest Indiana. The charity has taken its first foray into advertising on Facebook with the new ad unit and hopes to drive users to a Web site where they can make a donation or volunteer.

 

The McDonald’s charity asks users “Who has your back?” and prompts them to name the person who helped them when they needed it most. “It’s a wonderful convergence of accountability and measurability on one side and engagement and viralness on the other,” Mr. Porter said.

 

For marketers who want to show their peers how adept and creative they can be while using Facebook, the company created Facebook Studio, a Web page where agencies can post their most successful campaigns and learn how to use the tool for marketing. Agencies can create their own campaigns on the site, sort through a directory of agencies and even enter a contest for the best Facebook campaign.

 

On Tuesday, the page had 23,000 “likes” and a campaign from the Finnish agency Hasan and Partners was featured as the spotlight. The agency posted its campaign for the Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art, in which it tried to change the perception that it doesn’t take an artist to create modern art. They took the scathing criticism they’d received about the museum — “Just like a 2-year-old’s scribble” — and used it to invite people to submit their own works of art.

 

The campaign — called “Make a better one yourself, then” — lets users vote and comment on the submissions. In addition to increasing traffic to the museum’s Web site, the campaign yielded 600 pieces of art and thousands of “likes” on the museum’s Facebook page.

 

If the virtual coming together of Facebook and brands was not enough, the company has extended the Facebook Studio idea to a series of in-person events.

 

The first Facebook Studio Live event was held in March in Toronto and was attended by about 80 people. A second event will be held in New York City in May and the company hopes to engage agency representatives and Facebook engineers in a creative “hacking session” where agencies can use the various marketing tools on Facebook to create advertising solutions on the fly.

 

“It’s a pretty exciting model,” Mr. Renshaw said. “We want to do some things that are great, but we also want to do some things quickly.”

 

 

 

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