How I sold my soul and network for gimmicks at Le Web

Ever thought about what it would take to turn yourself and your network into a marketing platform at a cool tech conference known as Le Web?

What freebie gadget should you receive in order to tweet about a product you know nothing about out to approximately 3000 people ?

Le Web answered those questions for me. During a lunch (with totally awesome people) we started chatting around this subject because there was so many things you could participate in or win at Le Web. The golden ticket was a tweet.

I’ve never really thought about what it would take for me to disturb my network with commercial messages. At Le Web I thought “I would totally do it for a FitBit, or the new HP computer or a phone” – It turned out that this a simple product was the reason I actually did send out a commercial tweet to my network, that I wouldn’t have done otherwise.

I didn’t think their product was awesome, Actually I didn’t know anything about it. I wasn’t struck by their innovation or coolness – I simply needed this little fellow:

Not because I was trying to eat it – but because I wanted it for my kid. I instantly knew I had to have it.

Here’s the story:

I was standing together with the Swedish Startup Session showhost Annika Lidne, planning our next video when a guy approached us and asked if we wanted one of these lighting bears for free. Being an official blogger at Le Web you often get stuff for free. You always get the gimmick when the normal participants who can afford to go to Le Web they get a flyer (I would totally give the gimmick to the participant – they are at the conference to shop, Im simply there to write).

Anyway I totally wanted that little guy for free (he’s called Meep now – my daughter even named him). All I had to do was to hold up a sign – have a picture taken and tweet it to my network. Total access for them to all of my network in a single tweet. I decided to frame the tweet so no one would actually see it. I made it as unimportant as possible. But here it is anyway:

The guy didn’t even tell me what #lecloudpro is , and I couldn’t care less actually. The whole process was kind of embarassing with the #lecloudpro guy looking over my shoulder to make sure I did send the tweet.  The instant I tweeted the picture I got two retweets – probably from the #lecloudpro team. After talking to my friends over lunch I started to think that I sold out. And I did. For a bear called Meep that my daughter treasures and have been taken to school for the last couple of days.

Actually thinking about it – there was so many things going on at Le Web like this.” Tweet your opinion about our startup/ latest product and win one”. It makes me feel awkward because it’s not really about you anymore – it’s about your network. It’s about getting seen. It’s about being an advertising platform if you want to. I wouldn’t do it again. In the spur of the moment I decided to give the bear a go because I wanted to find out what it would make me feel to sell my soul and network for gimmicks. It made me feel awful. I’m sorry guys.

However Would I do it again ? Yes. For a Fitbit scale or a Fitbit One or a Withings scale or one of the other 100.000 web of things gimmicks that all are priced at 150 dollars. Not for a cute light bear though. Oh and I will do it automatically if you’re doing something substantial, involving and cool. Im a sucker for that, you see.

ps. Next time I am Pimping stuff at a conference, I will let you know by adding the #pimping tag (just a great idea from fellow blogger Rachel Clarke).

How marketing from multinational companies has changed


Just a quick thought on today’s marketing

I was wondering today if my generation (who were kids in the 80s and 90s) are in particularly vulnerable to advertising, marketing and commercials?

I recall sitting at my great-grandmother’s place and watching MTV. In particular the video “boys boys boys” by Sabrina. MTV  had so many commercials that you ( at that point in time) did not have in Denmark. There were no commercials on danish tv – because the only tv station was licensed by the government. It was when another danish tv station ( a commercialised one) started that the commercials came into our face.

But when I was a child,  I was crazy about marketing. Crazy for candy commercials, Barbie commercials, My Little Pony commercials. I was told that the best meal I could have was at a fast food restaurant. The best way to play was with Barbie.

My point is that I am worried about how big firms market to my daughter. I hope it won’t be as necessary to tell her that the best meal she can have is at homemade – and not pizza or McDonalds.