As you’re walking down your city street you see an unmanned kiosk, stocked with bottles of tea. A sign invites you to “Take a bottle. Leave a dollar.” What would you do? Would you pay for one, and be curious enough to stay and watch what others do? Many did both. For ten days in August, one year, in this ingenious 30-city social experiment, Honest Tea was using the honor system to see which city had the most honest people.
Cameras hidden across the street were covering the scenes that were then uploaded for live viewing globally. Ironically I heard about this stunt from Mike Savello of LiveU just before I went to hear Dan Ariely interviewed by Andrew Blau at Global Business Network on his newest book, The (Honest) Truth about Dishonesty. This situation matched Ariely’s characterization of the cost/benefit analysis that makes it tempting to rationalize stealing, well, take a bottle …just once.
From your computer you could watch the live action at the Honest Tea kiosks in any city. The results, an Honesty Index, lent themselves to all kinds of odd news angles that the media covers because we wind up talking about the admittedly unscientific results.
Are redheads more honest than blondes? What are the least honest cities?
As you’re walking down your city street you see an unmanned kiosk, stocked with bottles of tea. A sign invites you to “Take a bottle. Leave a dollar.” What would you do?
Would you pay for one, and be curious enough to stay and watch what others do? Many did both. From August 8-18th, in this ingenious 30-city social experiment, Honest Tea was using the honor system to see which city had the most honest people.
Cameras hidden across the street were covering the scenes that were then uploaded for live viewing globally. Ironically I heard about this stunt from Mike Savello of LiveU just before I went to hear Dan Ariely interviewed by Andrew Blau at Global Business Network on his newest book, The (Honest) Truth about Dishonesty. This situation matched Ariely’s characterization of the cost/benefit analysis that makes it tempting to rationalize stealing, well, take a bottle…just once.
But that’s not the most fascinating part of this experiment. Inherent in it is the new possibility that you or your organization, can afford to create your own audience-involving, live streaming experiments, events and perhaps even real reality TV, and grow your audience, customer base or cause support.
1. Attract a Much Larger Audience for Your Event
Imagine that you could provide live, TV-quality coverage of your conference (TEDxTokyo), college or community play or charity race. Globally. In the past, to afford this kind of TV broadcast quality coverage.
You would have to be covering a large event like the America’s Cup that’s coming to my San Francisco Bay Area. You’d need a satellite to upload your video, and that can cost a couple hundred thousand dollars.
Yet now for $20,000 or less you can get a “cellular uplink backpack “ to transmit your video to a satellite for global coverage, and learn and learn how to use it in a couple of hours or less. The kit is so small it fits in that backpack. Grab it and your video camera and head to the event. In fact, some people may make a whole new career out of covering such events, or co-creating stunts, action branding campaigns and more. The kit, called LiveU, was originally designed for TV stations yet some imaginative people are using it in fresh ways.
That opens up a whole new service and profit center for companies, colleges, associations and other member-based groups. In fact you may be seeking a new line of work and life of greater independence, covering the kind of happening and people you know best. Being suddenly able to reach a larger audience immediately opens up new opportunities to serve more of your kind of customers, members, cause backers or other niche community.
Here’s some real life success stories and “what if” scenarios to stir your brainstorming for your situation
2. Make a Real Reality Show to Boost Your Brand
Up close and live, you could watch the two buddies in action in each Ford Focus as they raced across the country in this gamified, highly-interactive road rally. Fixed cameras were mounted inside, with the small satellite transmission pack in the car trunk. After building an audience from that race, Ford touted this year’s Ford Escape race in their superbowl advertisement.
3. Collectively Launch Your Own Live Entertainment
Imagine that you co-created with the other chapters of your association or club a multi-location, simultaneous action event. It might be one or more combinations of your version of the Honest Tea experiment or of Undercover Boss, mysterious guest, murder game, flash mob, Candid Camera set-up, Scavenger Hunt, Improv Everywhere or theatresports.
Your goal is to co-create an infectiously fun, highly interactive action event that involves as many positive emotional elements as you can concoct – and gives your participants – and those who watch them – a memorable, bonding experience. Consider evoking, drama, inspiration, humor, camaraderie and/or surprise. Your live coverage, leveraged by your built-in member community’s participation in the event and in promoting it can:
• Make your member group more well-known
4. Attract More Support and Involvement in Your Cause’s Action Event
Imagine covering your for-profit or charity marathon, charity walk, run, swim or other race, with a combination of fixed camera along the race, uploading live coverage for a larger audience, seeking donations online while it is happening.
• The opportunity to appear on TV might draw more participants. Include live, short interviews of bystanders and participants both before and after the race. You are building in more bragging rights to boost the benefits of people touting their participation.
• Your edited vignettes for a video highlight “reel” of the annual event could pull more people to your web site all year long and be cited just before the next event.
• Plus, in advance of the race, you might select three to five colorfully different participants to follow through the event to create the thread of a story.
• Write about the event through their eyes. Turn it into an eBooklet or Vook, with several one to three-minutes video clips, plenty of aptly imbedded links to winners, sponsors and others. Invite some of those sponsors to “underwrite” the cost of the eBook creation, and be listed as such in the eBook and elsewhere. Post it on iTunes, Amazon and Kobo to reinforce the global audience you are building.
Imagine, that the National League of Cities joined forces with the Alliance for Community Media’s 4,000 public access cable stations to host live, local events such as Fourth of July parades, concerts or festivals.
The chamber of commerce might rent or buy the live video upload kit or get a major company to buy it in exchange for being cited as an underwriter each time it was used. Then you could tune into your hometown’s event on the designated day, or any town’s and switch between them. Homesick ex-pats might want a glimpse of familiar people and scenes. The chamber of commerce might rent or buy the live video upload kit or get a local company to buy it in exchange for being cited as an underwriter each time it was used. Alternatively, in exchange for being the national sponsor for a live-streamed events, a corporation might provide grants to selected local towns to buy or rent the uploading kit.
With the growing use of DIY video, Social TV, new genres of reality TV (Random House + Fremantle Media Partnership) and ways to react to movies and documentaries (Participant Media) it behooves you to experiment with ways to co-create the stories and events that can involve your kind of audience.
In this increasingly transient, isolated way of living and working, many are eager to participate in collective action for “our” kind of audience or community, in real time or any time – action in which others want to participate.
I am experimenting with allies on how to co-create high tech / high touch (closing the distance between real time virtual and face to face) experiences that bring us closer around shared sweet spots of mutual interest, in pure play, and sometimes for profit. I’d love to hear about your experiments.