Social Media, Social Change 9/23 – incl. Peggy Conlon (Ad Council) & Suzie Reider (Google)

PEGGY CONLON: Good morning. I’m Peggy Conlon, president
and CEO of the Ad Council. And welcome to today’s
discussion on social media. We’re honored to be
co-partnering partnering with Ad Week and Google and thank
them very much for their partnership and friendship. And we’re grateful to all of
you for joining us today. I’ve never seen such an
oversubscribed panel. And so I know that it’s in
large part due to the wonderful panelists that we’ve
put together today. All of us are working very
hard to remain at the forefront of the wonderful
things that are happening online and in social media. And the Ad Council is certainly
no different. Whether it’s giving Smokey Bear
his on Facebook page or hosting a Twitter party for
mommy bloggers concerned about car seats, we welcome both
the opportunities and the challenges that these new
platforms present. Today, we wanted to delve a
little deeper and hear from the industry’s thought leaders
about their cutting edge strategies and what’s
around the corner. Our panel brings together some
of the most creative thinkers who are taking these tools one
step further to create unprecedented social change,
buzz, and public awareness. Thanks to all of you for joining
us today and for your partnerships with the
Ad Council as well. And now I’ll turn the program
over to Suzie Reider. Suzie is the director of sales
and marketing at Google. And she’s going to deftly
moderate our are top notch panel today. Suzie? SUZIE REIDER: Is my mic on? Can you hear me? I think that moderator
is code for bossy. So if people from the back, you
want to come down, you’re welcome to come sit down here
instead of standing in the doorway where you
can barely see. So don’t be shy if you
want to come down. So I thought the first thing
that we should do is you all have the bios of all of
the panelists here. But I bet you don’t
know who’s who. So the first name on the sheet
that you all have is– someone give me a little help? What’s the name? Who’s not here. The next name is? Oh, Ben Goldhirsh, oh. Oh, man. OK. BEN GOLDHIRSH: I try to stay
under the radar until the right moment. Are we doing introductions? SUZIE REIDER: They
have your bio. So you just need to identify
that’s you. BEN GOLDHIRSH: Great. SUZIE REIDER: OK the
second name is? AUDIENCE: Scott Harrison. SUZIE REIDER: Third name is? AUDIENCE: Nick Law. SUZIE REIDER: The
last name is? AUDIENCE: Steve Grove. SUZIE REIDER: OK. All right. So this is going to be an
interactive panel, but that was the interactivity,
I think. NICK LAW: Oh, that’s it? SUZIE REIDER: No, we’ll
get more at the end. OK. So I think what it says the
program here– and I guess why you all came– “Social
Media, Social Change. Join the Ad Council and Google
for an exploration of how innovative thinkers have
harnessed the power of social media in the name of community
action.” We do. Have a couple of videos. We’re good? We have one video that we want
to show to kick off. And then we’ll begin
the discussion. We’re good? Charity? [MUSIC – “TIMEBOMB” BY BECK] SUZIE REIDER: OK. OK, so I think we all have an
understanding of what charity: water w does. But, Scott, is there anything
else you want to share with us about just orientation
on your company? And then we’ll kick off a
discussion about how you have used social media to
really further the cause of your company. SCOTT HARRISON: I think that’s a
bit of an oversimplification of our work. But in two minutes, there’s a
billion people in the world that don’t have access
to clean water. There are solutions– digging wells, spring
protections, catching the rain. And about $20 a person,
we can bring water to the billion people. So– SUZIE REIDER: OK,
so social media. How have you used digital
interactive social media to help? SCOTT HARRISON: So
videos like that. That was second video. Our first one was a public
service announcement of New Yorkers taking diesel fuel cans
up to Central Park Pond, filling them with water, and
then serving the water to their kids at breakfast. This is
the second one, really just shot by directors who
volunteered their time to put together crews to
tell the story. And then partnership with
YouTube to get them out there, on our website, Twitter,
all the– SUZIE REIDER: So can you talk
very specifically about that? Because everyone, I imagine, who
works in this room spends time creating video and wants
to get it out there. Can you talk very literally
about how you got it out there? And Steve Grove works that
YouTube, and we can understand a little bit how this video
ignited on YouTube too? SCOTT HARRISON: So we had
two videos that we thought were good. And then we pitched YouTube, I
think, cold at the time, and said, look at our video. The first one was shot by Terry
George, who made a film called Hotel Rwanda and had
Jennifer Connelly in it. So we thought that
was an easy sell. SUZIE REIDER: What does
pitching YouTube mean? SCOTT HARRISON: Just writing a
cold email saying, would you look at our video, and would
you consider promoting it? And at that time, American Idol
had also said, we’ll run it on television in a million
dollar donated time spot. SUZIE REIDER: As a PSA? SCOTT HARRISON: As a PSA. SUZIE REIDER: Yep. SCOTT HARRISON: For Idol Gives
Back. and then went to Steve and his team said, could you
guys put it out first on the internet that morning? And I think he put it on the
homepage, got 750,000 views. And then the second one– SUZIE REIDER: Can I stop
you for a sec? Steve, is it that easy? Can anyone in this room just
call you up and say, can you feature my video on
the homepage? STEVE GROVE: My email is
Grow at YouTube– no. No, it’s not. But, I think as you see,
that’s a great video. That’s a really good video. You watch it, you’re like, ah,
I want to do something. And so making good content is
really the first step in any video campaign. And I think what’s great about
pieces like and pieces that Ben and Nick have done as well
is they call you to action. And I think activism on a site
like YouTube kind of fits into two basic buckets. One is documenting real world
action of activists doing X, Y, or Z. So it could be
anything from filming activists dropping a big banner
down the Niagara falls Dam to raise issues about energy
use to protesters in Iran documenting each other in
the streets fighting for election reform. Or there is a second bucket,
which is online activism. Using, actually, media
itself online to generate activism there. But the key to doing that well
is to actually ask people to do something. And I think that’s what
that video does. It gives you an idea
of something to do. And I think Scott and his team,
to their credit, added additional stuff there, which is
they had an overlay on top of the video that linked off to
their site, where you could donate money. And in the span of one day, they
had, I think, $10,000 or so donated– SCOTT HARRISON: Or more. STEVE GROVE: –from that video,
because they give people something to do next. You see that video, the music’s
going, the images are there, you get a sense of
what this all about. And then, boom, like you’re able
to actually do something. And I think that’s
a key aspect. SUZIE REIDER: So was
that transaction– so the actual transaction of
someone giving money, was that tricky to engineer? How did you do that? SCOTT HARRISON: So it was just
a click to the website and a donate page. Our organization gives away
100% of donations to the projects and improves every
project with GPS and photos. So I think on that side, it’s
easy to give $20 or $100. All the admin costs are
covered separately. So I think if you do want to
help and then you see a donate button, and it’s $20 and the
value proposition, 100%, we were able to raise a lot
of money online. SUZIE REIDER: Steve, is this
something that YouTube does consistently for causes? SCOTT HARRISON: Yes. Anyone who has a nonprofit
account on YouTube– and if you’re a nonprofit in the
audience and you don’t have one, go to One of the automatic benefits is
you get to run this call to action overlay, we call it. But it’s just a graphical unit
on the bottom of your video that can drive traffic off of to your site where people can do more. But you can also do this
just by getting promoted videos on YouTube. And that’s actually a great,
great way to make sure that your content gets more views. The beauty of YouTube is that
everyone has their own global TV network at their
fingertips. And the peril of YouTube is that
everyone has their own global TV network at
their fingertips. Which is to say, with 20 hours
of video uploaded every minute and hundreds of millions of
videos viewed today, how to actually get your content
seen on the site? You’re not going to be able to
just say, Steve can you put it on the home page? We don’t really operate that
way on a consistent basis. But using promoted videos,
if you go to, you
can slot your videos into search results pages
of people that are looking for your content. And with that promoted videos
buy, you also get the call to action overlay unit, which can
drive people off site. So as part of building an
ecosystem of using video to draw eyeballs and get traffic
and then giving them something to do off site. SUZIE REIDER: Yeah, OK. Anyone– Nick or Ben, any thoughts on? Sounds NICK LAW: Lovely. SUZIE REIDER: –on this video,
this project, and then we can talk a little bit about GOOD? NICK LAW: Yeah. I think that the point that
you’ve got to make it interesting. We’re going through this
period, especially in marketing, where technology is
changing the environment, changing people’s
media habits. We need to recognize that and
recognize the big structural change in how people connect
with each other and with organizations and how seamless
that behavior can be from seeing the appeal to actually
donating seconds later. But we don’t want to get caught
up into the techno fetishist world. We’ve still got to understand
that the thing that compels people is interesting content,
emotional content. And what constitutes interesting
may be different to what marketers thought was
interesting 10 years ago. I do think that there’s a
language of marketing that emerged out of 50 years of doing
TV, which is tell us metaphorical story and tie it
up with a punch line that is still useful. But there are all these other
deep, interesting ways that we look at stories and content as
a result of these platforms. So I think that that’s the
challenge for marketers, is to look at the new structure,
be interesting, but be interesting in a way that’s
appropriate for the structure. And it’s not the same
as the old world. I guess that’s my point. SUZIE REIDER: So we have
creative from R/GA. Do you want to tell the
audience what it before we watch it? NICK LAW: Yes. So it was for the Ad Council. And we were asked to do some
marketing around teenage dating abuse. And what we found out fairly
quickly was that there’s this whole subterranean
world going on. And the target was from 13 to
17, both girls and boys. But there’s this whole digital
behavior going on, this digital abuse that’s going on. And you’ve probably seen reports
of in the Times, like people hacking into– SUZIE REIDER: When you say
digital abuse, you mean people opening up an account not
as them and harassing? NICK LAW: Hacking into a
Facebook account, constant texting, and asking for nude
pics were the three infractions that
we identified. And this is rampant. And what’s interesting about it
is that that world is like Lord of the Flies, is that the
parents are off living a parallel life, quite unaware. SUZIE REIDER: And someone’s
going to be Piggy. NICK LAW: So, yeah. So here’s the of behavior that’s
going on and a little almost closed ecosystem amongst
the kids that the parents– not only they don’t
know about it, but when they do, they’re not really sure– SUZIE REIDER: What to do. NICK LAW: –how to come in and
have the authority, given that they don’t really know the
language of this world. So the campaign that we did with
the Ad Council was really about giving the kids who are
having this social experience the tools to clarify, fight
back, and to draw there what we call their digital line. SUZIE REIDER: Yeah. So let’s watch. And while we’re watching, I
think we’re looking at social media for social change
from two perspectives. But after, I think we should
have a discussion, as we are– it is Advertising Week– about social media
for advertising. So that’ll be the conversation
we pick up after we watch. So if we can queue up
the next video. TV ANNOUNCER 1: Talking about
cyber-abuse at the hands of other teens through social
networking sites, text messages, and emails. TV ANNOUNCER 2: Three teenage
girls were charged with disseminating child
pornography. GIRL: Everyone has to- SUZIE REIDER: OK, so before we
move to talk about social media with an eye from
advertising, so what was the response to this? NICK LAW: It was good,
wasn’t it, Peggy? PEGGY: Excellent. NICK LAW: Very good. SUZIE REIDER: What does
that mean, though? What is good, excellent mean? NICK LAW: I think it got in
front of like 18 million of the target. But getting in front of was a
combination of display ads, video views. There’s a whole forum there. It was very distributed. It was through the Google
network that we got the word out. SUZIE REIDER: Can you give us a
sense of how much paid media was put behind it, ballpark? PEGGY: 25 million. SUZIE REIDER: $25 million. PEGGY: Donated money. SUZIE REIDER: Donated money. OK. NICK LAW: There were some
traditional pieces in there. There was a TV spot. There was radio. There was outdoor. And so what’s interesting about
that particular campaign is the play between traditional
and digital. Digital was the hub, because
that’s where the kids live. SUZIE REIDER: That’s
where they are. NICK LAW: Right. And obviously, mobility is
a huge part of that. So lots of tools that you could
use on your device. But there is this play,
I think, between what advertising has done really well
traditionally, which is break through. So advertising’s model has
been to ambush people. SUZIE REIDER: And advertise
to them. NICK LAW: And advertise
to them. And not really ask
the question, why would anyone care? Because the reason– or how anyone see it. Because the reason they saw it
was generally because they were watching I Love Lucy and
you interrupted them. And that model works for when
just as long as the structure is in place that people
are prepared to sit in front of a TV spot. But there’s this other side of
the coin which has emerged as a more importance marketing
approach, which is, how do you fit in? So breaking through is about
disrupting people and fitting in is about insinuating your way
into their media habits. And for kids between 13 and
17, their media habit is dominated in these
social networks. And you don’t invite yourself
into these social networks by ambushing them. SUZIE REIDER: You slip
in next to them. NICK LAW: You insinuate your way
in by giving them things that they’re interested
in and are useful. SUZIE REIDER: So I see a lot of
pens out, people waiting to write things down. For all of you, so you are a
marketer and you’re activating a social media strategy, for
whatever your product is. What are the top few
things that you need to begin to explore? And you can state the obvious,
like Twitter, Facebook, et cetera. But what do you do there? Where do you begin? So if we want to right
down the line– or, Ben, why don’t
we hear from you first. Where you start? BEN GOLDHIRSH: Where
do you start? I think you start with do you
have an interesting product that is interesting to people? He obviously has an interesting
product. And then I think the challenge
is, what’s the landscape? What’s the landscape where you
can, A, disrupt, but also, what’s the landscape where
you can fit in? I think if you can find that
area where there’s already people hungry for the sort of
content that you’re going to be creating about your product,
that’s a different sort of relationship. I think the most exciting social
media is when you have people like– I haven’t been to that website,
but I imagine it’s people going back and forth and
adding and receiving value to and from each other within
an environment you created about a topic you wanted
to engage. SUZIE REIDER: So you’re setting
the stage so it’s dialogue, engagement
conversation. BEN GOLDHIRSH: Exactly. Like setting a platform,
establishing a DNA. So I think once you have the DNA
that is something that can attract people, then the
media has to be about representing that DNA. SUZIE REIDER: So maybe this is
a better framed question if I’m more specific. So does anyone have
a product they’re thinking about marketing? Something you have to do
next week, one product? We’re all in advertising,
so someone’s got to have something they need to– BEN GOLDHIRSH: I’ll give
you a product that– SUZIE REIDER: Shampoo? All right. Target is a little
more shampoo? All right, it’s shampoo. You have to activate a social
media strategy for the launch of a shampoo product. So– NICK LAW: You know,
I was really relaxed about this panel. SCOTT HARRISON: Just crush
you begin, though? SCOTT HARRISON: A billion people
don’t have shampoo. SUZIE REIDER: Where
do you begin? Let’s just say it’s tween. Let’s stick with the tween,
15, 13 to 17. Let’s stick with that, since
that was the focus of that. NICK LAW: Yeah. So the difference between what
we’re showing here and shampoo is obviously, one, there is an
inherent social aspect to it, that people are social
animals. And being a social animal means
that you want to help other people. So with this sort of stuff
that we’re showing here, you’ve got a built in interest
as long as you can be legible and interesting in
the way that you get the message across. SUZIE REIDER: But
let’s take the– NICK LAW: So when you go to
a more low consideration product, like shampoo, then
maybe it’s an organic shampoo. So maybe you’ve got to be in
social networks that are concerned about that
sort of thing. SUZIE REIDER: So you tuck into
social networks that are more engaging people around–? NICK LAW: But if it’s a candy,
like it’s a ball of corn syrup, then you really can’t
distinguish it in any other way than to be entertaining. And then you’ve got to be crazy
and wacky and try to– and then it’s almost like
your product sponsors entertainment. SUZIE REIDER: So I think you’re
talking about context and being appropriate
in the environment. NICK LAW: That’s right. It’s all about context, yeah. Whether it’s high consideration,
low consideration. Is a technical? Is it simple? SUZIE REIDER: So let’s get– so,
Ben, if we can go back to where do you begin. I think we all know Facebook,
we all know Twitter. But are there other environments
that people should be aware of
where you begin? Or that you have to understand
before you can start to use social media? BEN GOLDHIRSH: I think it’s
the environment you create around your brand. And then those are just tools. Like, they’re wonderful
tools, but they aren’t the end itself. What Dove did with their close
to shampoo products, like they created an environment
for that. There’s a conversation around
what beauty is. And they decided that,
you know what? That conversation is happening,
but we’re going to make that our conversation,
and we’re going to use our media to promote that
conversation. It’s going to be happening
all over the place. It’s also going to happen
on Dove environments. But that was a wonderful way
to place themselves in a nascent conversation, help that
conversation move to the mainstream, and as it did,
see Dove rise with it. If I was a shampoo business,
I would think about something like that. Obviously, they’ve kind of
marked their territory. And I think it was authentic. I think the people behind
at Unilever had– is that Unilever? SUZIE REIDER: Yeah. BEN GOLDHIRSH: I don’t know. I think they had– SUZIE REIDER: Dove
is Unilever. BEN GOLDHIRSH: I think they
believed in what they were doing there. And if that shampoo company has
a real interest in A, B, or C, whatever it is, then
trying to find that conversation that relates to A,
B, or C and dig in there. STEVE GROVE: And you have to
find what value you’re adding to the conversation. People have infinite choice. They don’t have to
watch you’re ad. They’re not stuck in front
of I Love Lucy. They’re not forced to engage
with anything. If you think of social
networking or online media as just a digital representation
of your social life, you wouldn’t walk into a cocktail
party and just force your idea around everybody there, because
they have a choice to go talk to somebody else or
go do something else. So I don’t think it’s as
mystifying as people might think at times. Because it’s not too different
from just the way that you are. We’re all social animals. It’s just done digitally,
and there’s different variables there. But what value is your ad or is
your message or does your idea bring to people that
is interesting? That Dove “Evolution” ad was
just interesting to think about beauty in a new
way and watch that woman’s face transform. If you haven’t seen it, it’s
definitely worth checking out. NICK LAW: I think that’s
the point, though. Without that video, that
specific video of the transforming woman, then
I’m not sure how powerful it would be. STEVE GROVE: Right. NICK LAW: So it’s like the– was it Lipton did that
tea party thing? SUZIE REIDER: Yep. NICK LAW: It’s tremendous. I’d watch it over and over again
and laugh my ass off. SUZIE REIDER: –Which was now
four or five years, maybe four years ago that they did that? Yes. NICK LAW: But the fact that it
struck a cultural nerve and was so interesting. The follow up one wasn’t
nearly as successful. I think maybe it wasn’t as good,
but also maybe we’d had that laugh and we
weren’t going to have that laugh again. So it is a hard strategy,
is just to do the pure entertainment thing and hope
people are attracted to it. It’s really– I mean, it’s a needle
in a haystack. SUZIE REIDER: It’s also hard to,
I think, pull at the heart strings more than once. In the Unilever, the
Dove campaign, they followed that up with– people may remember this. It was a young girl with
freckles and red hair. And it was a picture
of her running. And then it flipped to all of
these women, body images, and all this stuff about beauty. And then at the end it flips
back to the girl and it says, no wonder our perceptions of
beauty are so distorted. It’s just showing what young
girls are exposed to. But it’s the follow up. Are there specific blogs,
websites, and newsletters? Are there people that these
people should be paying attention to that are
particularly knowledgeable about social media, can help
them get up to speed? What do you all pay
attention to? Scott, if there’s–? SCOTT HARRISON: Yeah I sort of
feel like we use whatever tools are out there. And there’s 12 or 15
websites that we regularly keep up with. SUZIE REIDER: What do
you think they are? SCOTT HARRISON: So Twitter,
Facebook. SocialVibe has raised
$80,000 for us. Facebook has raised $90,000. [? Changeince ?] is one. Causecast is starting
to raise some money. So whatever the new kid in town
is, we put up content, which we believe has
a good story, it’s good interesting content. And then it will have
its own life SUZIE REIDER: From there. SCOTT HARRISON: On
that network. SUZIE REIDER: Yeah. SCOTT HARRISON: But
I think it– I really believe it comes
back to story and then the execution. I see so many non-profits
executing badly in the space because they have bad taste,
really bad taste. They’re cheesy. They will tweet the same fact
20 times every single day. And it’s not– it doesn’t
add value. SUZIE REIDER: Well, it comes
back to Nick’s– it’s creative. It comes back to the
creative execution. NICK LAW: Yeah. And also, I think where
the old world got lost a little bit. Because I think creatively– and I was part of that world,
so I remember taking briefs and having this Pavlovian
response, which was, OK, I’m already thinking
in a template. After 20 seconds, I’ve got to
wind this thing up and wrap it up with a punch line. That the structure almost
took over the message. And I think that it made the
creative industry very lazy and made them think in overblown
metaphors instead of being really clear. SUZIE REIDER: Kind
of formulaic. NICK LAW: But also that
it obscured the truth. So I think that there’s this
chain of contingency when you’re doing creative work. Is it true? OK, it’s true. Is it relevant? It’s relevant. And then is legible? When I look at this, do I
understand what it’s selling, what it’s trying to say? That’s where I think we’ve
gotten lost. And then is an interesting? So if an agency is building
that contingency from this side, they have to recognize
that the audience is looking at it from this side. So the first thing they’re going
to get past is, is it interesting? Because they won’t even get to
legible and true if it’s not interesting. But it’s got to be legible. And I think that that’s where
a lot of us, like the advertising industry, has
got lost a little bit in the last decade. We’ve been so interested in
overblown productions with metaphor on metaphor,
that the clarity– SUZIE REIDER: The
message is lost. NICK LAW: –of the messages
is lost, yeah. SCOTT HARRISON: Yeah. And I think that’s what– I don’t know how
many people are familiar with GOOD Magazine. But Ben tries to do that. He tries to take these mind
numbing facts and graphically represent them in interesting
ways. SUZIE REIDER: Digitally
also, in that GOOD is not just a magazine. It’s also a very powerful
digital property. BEN GOLDHIRSH: I asked
her to say that. SCOTT HARRISON: So when I go
online to his website– but it’s like– BEN GOLDHIRSH: I think the
content that we create is an invitation. And we distribute those
invitations in Starbucks through little fold-up
broadsheets. We distribute them online
through videos. We do it through a magazine. And then we try to bring people
back to a digital party, where they can add and
receive value from each other. And we try to to– we find brands that want to
work with us because they think the party will be better
for our audience on our site than on IBM’s site. They don’t think young thought
leaders are going to come to have that party at IBM. So Friday, in The New York
Times, Good and IBM teamed up to create a little booklet about
cities that are pushing the world forward through
different things. It’ll be an invitation to Cities, which will allow people to talk about
what’s happening, what’s working, what’s not working,
and how do we push towards something optimal. And we’ll see if it works. But it’s a fun idea to do
your traditional media. Like I think they’ll see a lot
of value in what goes out in The New York Times and will be
like, yeah, this works well for the IBM brand. And then there’s the potential
exponential impact from it of everyone coming and saying,
you know what? We needed a place for
this conversation. There wasn’t a place for it,
and thank you, IBM, for actually providing it. And I think brands respecting
their space– you have a lot of brands
who are like– sometimes I feel like when
we’re in partnership conversations, I almost feel
like, wait a second, are we partnering, or are you
trying to compete? Because I thought you were– I thought your profession
was making soda. But now you’re saying your
profession is creating a platform for thought
and action. I was like, well, I think that’s
what my profession is. They’re like, no, we think we
think this should all happen at this soda’s this website, or
this juicer’s website, or whatever company it is. And I think there’s a tendency,
and I think it’s for good reason, if we’re going to
spend money, we want to keep all eyeballs, or we want
to keep anything that comes to the party. But you’ve got to make
sure that that doesn’t hurt the party. And it might be better to team
up with another environment like charity: water. If we’re going to work in this
space, let’s do it with Scott. As opposed to having Coke lead
a water effort, maybe it’s Coke and charity: water leading
that water effort. SUZIE REIDER: So can you talk
more specifically about that, about best practices when
a brand tries to join a conversation or really host
a conversation that doesn’t feel authentic? BEN GOLDHIRSH: Yeah,
I’d love to. Why doesn’t somebody else take
a second and I’ll think about who I want to drill into here. No, I’m just kidding. Who do I think has
done it well? I’m trying to think who
we’ve worked with where it’s really worked. We did something with Toyota
around harmony. And I don’t know if people saw
it in The New York Times. And again, we invited people
into an ecosystem to talk about how things can work
in harmony as a reflection of the Prius. And I think in that sense,
GOOD tried to keep the party at GOOD. Toyota was cool with
it being at GOOD. We tried to keep it, and I
think in a way we didn’t decentralize it enough. SUZIE REIDER: If people want to
find this can, can they go to and find
the Prius Harmony? BEN GOLDHIRSH: Yeah. It’s And they’ll find it there. But I think the challenge for
us is like doing the same thing that the challenge
for the brands is. I think when we started, we
were like, you know what, people aren’t representing
GOOD in the right way. They’re not representing it in
a way that’s flush with what we’re up to. It’s soft, it’s sacrificial,
it’s boring. And we’re like, that’s
not what this is. This is sexy, it’s powerful,
it’s pragmatic. But the bottom line is that
movement has taken the center stage now. It isn’t a peripheral
conversation. People are doing it. And so how do brands, how does
GOOD, how does charity: water empower those people who are on
the front lines to just do their own thing and not to
try to make it there? So the companies where you
see people providing– I see HP is giving grants
out to people now. Or what Netflix did recently
with their putting up that money for that programming
competition. It was the sweetest– like they were on the cover of
the New York Times homepage, which I don’t know what that
would cost. But it was a lot more than probably what they
paid out for a program that they needed to pay for anyway. And they only had to pay–
and this is a success. So it’s like the perfect
combination of product, marketing– it wasn’t marketing. It was a product development
path that turned into marketing. And I think that’s just
where it’s at. That’s– SUZIE REIDER: So you think it’s
in vogue for big brands to engage and to demonstrate
their–? BEN GOLDHIRSH: And support and
actually take resources and be like, we are corporate citizen,
you’re an individual citizen, we’re all in this
ecosystem of our world. You’re consuming this,
we’re consuming that. Let’s start sharing resources
in a way that works to everyone’s interest. SCOTT HARRISON: I’ve got
one example offline. Saks Fifth Avenue, the retailer,
we’d met with them, and they liked the idea
of doing water. Didn’t necessarily see
the connection between fashion and water. SUZIE REIDER: Because that’s
all models can drink. SCOTT HARRISON: The first plan
was just to sell a $5 bracelet in Saks and give away
100% of the money. So they loved the 100% model. And then once they got into
it, it just grew. They sold $150,000
of bracelets. And then the employees at 108
stores all started trying to bring 5,000 together
to fund one well. And the employees
raised 200,000. SUZIE REIDER: Where do we look
to see to read about this? Do you just–? SCOTT HARRISON: So then we
finally showed where the money went online. So the third thing then
was the vendors. They said, well, Saks
is now in 300 grand. Let’s go to Dior and Tom Ford
and Ermis and Clarence. So they start calling up the
vendors, saying, we’ll just charge you back. So they raise another $90,000 in
$5,000 increments, and then finally an event. So within seven weeks, the
company has brought $550,000 hours to the table,
written a check. We then go off and do 100
water projects in three countries and then bring it
back online, showing them videos of where the money went
and GPS coordinates at SUZIE REIDER: OK. SCOTT HARRISON: So it wasn’t
an online component. But now that went to
all the stores. The stores started playing
videos of the wells that their employees had funded. So it was small idea
that just grew. But it had integrity throughout
the process. SUZIE REIDER: Integrity and authenticity are how important? SCOTT HARRISON: Wildly
important. And I think a simple
message too. BEN GOLDHIRSH: I’d add
transparency to that if you’re writing down values. NICK LAW: Not opaqueness
and superficiality? SUZIE REIDER: Can any of you
think of a brand associating where it just made no sense? NICK LAW: Oh, that would be
naughty if we said that. SUZIE REIDER: Just one maybe? NICK LAW: The Catholic Church
going to think of a– we’re moving right along. BEN GOLDHIRSH: I think it’s– oh, nothing. SUZIE REIDER: All right. NICK LAW: Look, I’ve just gone
for the biggest. Come on, I’ve given you a break here. SCOTT HARRISON: We get
approached by brands all the time that want to give away 1%
and sell more product using our network. So 90% of the people that
approach us, we say no. SUZIE REIDER: You
don’t work with. SCOTT HARRISON: The conversation
stops there. So I think the actual intent
of the brands– are they passionate about our
mission, or they want to sell more soda? Do they want more page views? We have a million followers
Twitter. Do they want us just to tweet
about their soda? Or do they want to create
something with integrity that helps people get clean water? And then the Twitter becomes a
byproduct of that partnership. All the wells coming back from
Saks, we wanted to tweet out and show people the video. Here’s what the store in Palm
Beach– the employees in Palm Beach raised money for this. So we were able to be generous
because they were generous with us. BEN GOLDHIRSH: I think
if a company– like if a soda company got
behind charity: water, it’s like, all right, we think you’re
doing some sweet stuff. We want to support that. The gratitude that can
be born from that– when you’re out there hustling,
trying to really make an impact– and then, all of a sudden, when
people are like, well, is it authentic that that soda
company got behind you? You’re like, hell, yeah
it’s authentic. It’s authentic enough
to make these wells. Are you going to
question that? So if there’s real impact there
and you can then reflect the impact. And I think at shampoo company
or whoever it is can then– that can be theirs. It’s like, look at the impact
of what we did. But we did it with all these
different people. We didn’t try to do
it all ourselves. We did it with all
these people. But aggregate that impact and
say, this is what we’re about. We’ve done this. NICK LAW: It’s pretty hard
to argue with results. And the traditional marketing
model is about creating a bunch signifiers and making
people feel something. I think the pragmatism of this
model and what social networks enable is behavior. So if you can measure the
behavior– which you can– and there’s been a good result,
it’s pretty hard to argue with that, no matter
who’s behind it, really. As opposed to just a pure
messaging platform, if an arms manufacturer decided to do
saccharine ads on television about world peace, people would
really question that. SUZIE REIDER: Yes, they’d have
a problem with that. NICK LAW: Yeah. But if they actually tried to
take small arms out of the hands of unregistered users,
there would be something. BEN GOLDHIRSH: [UNINTELLIGIBLE]. NICK LAW: Oh, I’m sorry. I’ve got my Glock in my bag. SUZIE REIDER: So we’re
going to take questions in just a sec. Steve, listening to this
conversation and thinking about YouTube, it seems
like YouTube can thread in all over here. So just a last thought on how
this massive platform, being YouTube, can tie in to
everything we talked about. STEVE GROVE: Sure. I think the interactivity of
video makes all these sorts of conversations and communities
that these guys are talking about possible. One thing we haven’t touched
on maybe as much is tapping into a video community or online
community to actually create media for you, which is
an interesting tack that a lot of advertisers take
on YouTube. And it’s actually something that
we’re committed to our nonprofit program. Because organizations that have
done work with these guys aside, most non-profits actually
aren’t that effective at making good videos. It’s just not what they do. So we just started a program
about a month ago called Video Volunteers. You can find it at We’re trying to make a link
between the strong activist community on YouTube who
wants to do good, wants opportunities to raise awareness
for causes they care about and non-profits who have
causes, have on the ground operations that aren’t
really very good at video, and make matches. So you can go there and find
non-profits who have posted video opportunities and want
you to come help them. And it’s sort of– SUZIE REIDER: That’s
wonderful. STEVE GROVE: — YouTube as Yechna or YouTube
as matchmaker and– It’s SUZIE REIDER: It’s Yente. STEVE GROVE: Yente,
sorry, Yente. The Fiddler on the Roof lady. SUZIE REIDER: Right. It’s actually Crossing
Delancey and Fiddler on the Roof. NICK LAW: I offended
the Catholics. You offended the Jews. [UNINTELLIGIBLE]. STEVE GROVE: No,
but it’s neat. Check it out. And I think for a lot of
advertising agencies, what Nick did with
is a great example of folks in this industry giving back a
little bit to organizations that actually really need the
help and need creative guys like Nick and others to help
them get that message out. SUZIE REIDER: And I think what
Steve is talking about is people are sometimes surprised
on YouTube the YouTube users are– we call them YouTube stars. The ones that are most
subscribed to are not who people think they are. They’re the users. So we actually have more
subscribers to kids like Fred, who’s a 16-year-old kid who
has a weekly show, than we have to partners like Universal
Music Group and– STEVE GROVE: Yeah. I mean, Fred makes a video and
he has a million subscribers. That’s like– Fred is like NBC. He has the same audience. It sounds funny,
but it’s true. NICK LAW: In our case study,
we shot a lot of those puppet videos. And we used great puppeteers and
great production values. And they’re well-viewed,
definitely. But we also invited
YouTube stars– kids, basically– SUZIE REIDER: To create. NICK LAW: –that have
got a following to also due do some videos. And that they have the
biggest following. SUZIE REIDER: So I think my only
plug on this, and then we’ll go to questions, is I
think sometimes people miss that if you can activate with
one of the stars who are already in these communities,
you’re just activating on Facebook, or Twitter, or
YouTube, or MySpace. You’re actually activating
their entire social media network. So you hook up with Fred, and
his world becomes your world very, very quickly. OK, questions? AUDIENCE: I guess this
is for Benjamin. Do you guys deal with
children at all? Like, is your [INAUDIBLE]
only adults? SUZIE REIDER: So the question
is, does Ben and GOOD deal with children at all,
or only adults? AUDIENCE: Yeah. Do you have children
doing GOOD, or is it strictly adults? BEN GOLDHIRSH: No. I think it’s like– AUDIENCE: And what would
be the difference? BEN GOLDHIRSH: We’ve have
to target in on a core demographic just for
conversations with you folk, and be like, hey, we reach 20
to 40-year-old young thought leaders to simplify
a conversation. But the reality is it’s a– I think it’s a generational
sensibility. But it’s alive in five-year-olds
and seven-year-olds. And so we kind of are speaking
to that psychographic and trying to support it
wherever we see it. Now, we’re really trying to
support people who are digging in and pushing things forward. So if there’s a five-year-old
out there doing something, then we’ll cover it, and we’ll
celebrate it, and we’ll shout it from the mountain. But I don’t think we’re that
active in that community. Which is lame, because
I actually think that there’s a lot of– I think that’s the most exciting
wave. If you think the generation that
Scott or I in– it’s almost like the spray off
of a huge wave that’s coming in, which are the kids in high
school and the kids in elementary school, who are so
tuned in, know more about their politicians than I do,
and they can’t vote yet. So it’s a comforting
reality, I think. AUDIENCE: Hi. Moderator’s asked a lot of good
questions about where to people go to find out good
ideas, things that have been done that have been
very successful. And I just wanted to mention a
new initiative we have here at the Paley Center called
Think Social. And you can find it. You can get to Think Social
through our front page, at It’s early in its formation,
but we’ve got some good information on there already,
and we’re going to be building it with case histories, best
practices, and all kinds of things that should be, I think,
very helpful to people in this room. So I just wanted to let
you know about that. Think Social on the Paley
Center’s homepage. SUZIE REIDER: Think
Social, OK. That’s wonderful. I think often I leave panels,
and I look at my notes a few days later and think,
what else I learn? What did I take away? So we want to make sure we
leave people with that. Other questions? AUDIENCE: Yeah. I think we hear that it’s
all about the creative. Content is king. But there’s a little bit of a
[INAUDIBLE] between building that and finding the audience
of interest to you. So I suppose in the social media
context, can you guys talk a little bit about the
tools that you’re aware of or using that are either analytics
based, behaviorally oriented, that help you identify
audience of interest, and then other tools that allow
you to actually deliver your content to reach those
targeted audiences? SUZIE REIDER: OK. So you have content. But quite literally analytics
and delivery. NICK LAW: We use these guys,
Google Analytics and the Google Network. SUZIE REIDER: So the Google
Network– for people who don’t know, Google has
an ad network. It has hundreds of thousands
of long-tail sites. And you can be very specific
about where you want to shoot out a piece of content
and distribute it. STEVE GROVE: And then YouTube
has, Insight, of course, which is our back-end analytics model
to figure out who’s watching your video, whether
they’re male or female, how old they are, if they got there
from off-site, from an embed, if so, how. So both discovery stats around
your video views and then also demographic information and
the aggregate of if you’re actually hitting your
target or not. SUZIE REIDER: So
Ben and Scott? SCOTT HARRISON: Tools? SUZIE REIDER: Very specifically, tools and analytics? SCOTT HARRISON: We use Google
Analytics, but we’re not– I think our story is so broad,
we have hundreds of schools engaged, elementary schools
and middle schools. And then we have 81-year-olds
giving up their birthday, asking everyone in their
network for $81 and collecting checks. And then we have 50-year-olds. So we haven’t targeted
like that. We’re not data driven all. We’re now 13 staff. We were six a year ago and
two a year before that. So it’s sort of instinctive. Just go use the tools
that are there. Twitter’s a great tool. The Twestival sort of happened
to us, where Twitter users around the world raised $250,000
in a night for charity: water just by
organizing events in 204 cities, I think. And we were just there
on the space. And we had an easy
story to tell. And we did have some video
content that the Twestival creators thought, people
are going to get this. People in Belgium are going to
get this, people in Reykjavik are going to get this, and
people in Angola, where there was as Twestival will surely
understand the simplicity. So SUZIE REIDER: So my– I’m hearing– BEN GOLDHIRSH: Do you think
that’s because you’re young and you’re cool looking, like
that the people of Twitter were like, let’s get behind
Scott and charity: water? SCOTT HARRISON: Maybe. BEN GOLDHIRSH: I
mean, I wonder. Because a lot of non-profits
would have loved that opportunity. And I think you did have a
wonderful video and a simple story and a very accountable
system. But I do think you’ve
branded– you have created a sweet
sensibility with charity: water, and I think it
does come from you. And that impacts– SCOTT HARRISON: [UNINTELLIGIBLE]
the issue. We’re not doing research to
find a cure for something. The cure may or may
not be out there. SUZIE REIDER: Trying to
bring clean water. SCOTT HARRISON: Within a year,
we can use money, and we can take a picture of what the money
did and then use Google Earth to say, you
gave the money. I send people screen shots
of their wells on time. So we have an easy
story to tell. SUZIE REIDER: So orienting back
to the question, what I’m hearing is it’s not formulaic,
but there are some best practices. NICK LAW: And it’s contextual. BEN GOLDHIRSH: Yeah,
I think contextual. Like you know the vibe and
the DNA of your brand. Where are those people who
share that sensibility? SUZIE REIDER: Let’s take
one more question. AUDIENCE: You talked a lot about
what you did, and you have a great success story. But I’m wondering what kind of
people you have doing this. Because obviously, you’re not
[INAUDIBLE] right now. You have 13 full right now. What do they do? SCOTT HARRISON: So no one does
social media as a job. I do the main charity:
water account when I’m not in Africa. And then I hand that off to
my executive assistant. Everybody’s on Twitter
all the time. SUZIE REIDER: What does
account mean, Scott? What’s the main charity:
water account? SCOTT HARRISON: Just
@charity: water. SUZIE REIDER: OK SCOTT HARRISON: And then
everybody has their own conversations going on. So 13 staff. So somewhere on the water
project side, flying back and forth to Africa, Asia, managing
our water projects. My fiancee is our designer, so
she’s created the website. So one person in design. Real small staff. AUDIENCE: But it’s a small staff
constantly advertising? BEN GOLDHIRSH: Everyone’s
marketing. SCOTT HARRISON: Everyone’s
marketing, sure. SUZIE REIDER: I think
that’s the other– SCOTT HARRISON: That’s
built into the DNA. NICK LAW: From an agency point
of view, I think one of the hardest transitions for the
agency world to make is to recognize that there
are now two very distinct creative aptitudes. One sort of a narrative
aptitude. They’re the people that we’ve
had in the industry for 50 years that are great at boiling
things down, telling very simple stories, making
something understandable and sort of legible over
a temporal piece. But then we have designers. And designers are very good at
understanding systems and understanding how to
take a lot of input and to create behavior. And they’re very different
people. And I find that interactive
agencies that don’t have good storytellers are hobbled because
they may be able to design a framework, but
they can’t fill it. And agencies that are really
good at telling stories, but don’t know how to create
a system of behavior are hobbled. So there is this two-sided
creative aptitude that agencies need, I think, to
address this sort of work. SUZIE REIDER: We’re going to
take one more question. AUDIENCE: Hi. So speaking mostly to Nick and
to all of you in particular. You spoke a lot about engaging
individuals by creating a safe space. And if you’re looking more at
social change and behavioral change, things like, say,
obesity or mental health, anything activity, things along
those lines, what are the considerations you should
have in terms of the responsibility of how you set up
that environment and how it continues to engage
individuals? So a project that I have in mind
in particular is mental health among teenagers. When you set a stage and you
invite them to interact on your site, how do you make
sure that you do it in a safe framework? Where does it really
come into place? So when you’re not thinking
about things that are product driven, how do you look at those
actual changes and how they interact and make sure
that it’s meaning? NICK LAW: Wow. BEN GOLDHIRSH: I think
you’ve got to seed– I think you have to seed
your environment. So when people arrive, like when
you walk into this room, you see everyone who’s
already sitting down. You kind of have a sense of
what the protocol is. I think when you walk into an
environment online or in person, there’s a sense
of what the behavioral expectations are, and as a
standard, all right, this is a serious conversation. I want to participate. Or we’re telling jokes here,
and that’s what I’ll do. And so I think if you can
simultaneously be generating content that represents the
expectations as well as providing the opportunity for
people to do their own thing, that works. And I think people will
self select out. Along with the tools that– because some people aren’t going
to self select out and they’re going to be jerks. And so you need to provide
the opportunity to weed people out. NICK LAW: Every social
culture is unique. So in the case of the digital
abuse, we recognized that there was a certain tone there
that made it more comfortable for those kids to address a
problem, and that their parents weren’t the closest
to the solution. Childhood obesity, I would
suggest, has a direct relationship with the parents,
because they’re feeding their kids. So you’re going to have
to include them. It becomes a very different
dynamic and very different social culture. And being sensitive to that,
which I think is exactly what you’re saying. Once you walk into the room, you
should recognize what the dynamic is, how you’re going to
get someone to help out or to connect. And it’s always different. I think that’s the– it’s something we keep coming
back to, which is that we don’t have these big, monolithic
templates that we market to anymore, that
everything is context. Everything is about what is this
culture about, and how can we create a unique
solution around this particular thing. And there’s nothing more complex
than social humans. AUDIENCE: Just to follow up on
that, how do you balance that against authenticity? So say, for instance, you have
highly engaged individuals that are jerks? How do you keep the level of
engagement [INAUDIBLE]? SUZIE REIDER: How do
you kick them out? NICK LAW: Yeah it’s hard. AUDIENCE: [INAUDIBLE] BEN GOLDHIRSH: I think
highly engaged people probably aren’t jerks. NICK LAW: You do get them. SUZIE REIDER: Well, they’re
pretty active. We have a lot of highly engaged
jerks who have some pretty aggressive language
on YouTube sometimes. NICK LAW: Why is she
looking at you? SUZIE REIDER: Because
Steve’s YouTube. STEVE GROVE: I’m a highly
engaged jerk. No, I mean, the YouTube comments
section is a bit of a nightmare sometimes. We moderate it out. SUZIE REIDER: We’re
getting the– so I want to thank
you for coming and thank our panelists.


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