LG Uses Web 2.0 To Warn Teens About Text Abuses


Planning on sending a sexy text, a “sext”? Or maybe starting a nasty rumor? Mobile device brand LG, James Lipton and his beard implore you to “Give It A Ponder.”

LG’s new campaign taps into mobile culture and the undoing people experience via their own thumbs. The campaign artfully employs traditional media in television and print ads and successfully utilizes Web 2.0 features on the web site giveitaponder.com.

The campaign’s television ads feature an omnipresent James Lipton, beloved but oft-teased host of Bravo’s Inside The Actors Studio, sharing the wisdom of his beard with young people whose moral compasses need some assistance pointing true north.[more]

The ads deliver one-liners sure to permeate popular culture, like “tweets about his piece” and “Should I send this pic of my junk or should I keep it in my junk drawer?” In the ads Lipton removes the beard from his face (don’t stare directly into the clean shaven visage of James Lipton! you may go blind!) and places it on the young adult caught in a moment of poor judgment. The act of beard transference (recalling New York Times columnist Tom Friedman’s “moustache of understanding”) is receiving lukewarm reviews from its targeted audience, according to AdFreak’s informal audience research.

My husband happens to have a whole class of 9th graders who saw the ads during homeroom. What did they say? “Why does she have a beard? I don’t get it. That’s retarded.” But you have to know how to read a 9th grader. Apparently, they hate everything.

While the TV ads may confuse, LG’s web presence is a coup. The website seamlessly navigates visitors to the campaign’s YouTube, Flickr, Facebook, and Twitter pages and a Wikipedia entry on cyber-bullying. LG’s presence on social networking and content sharing sites is a how-to for brands on the web. By creating a profile for Ponder Beard on Facebook and Twitter, LG not only creates its own content but promotes user generated content and encourages consumer interaction. On Twitter, the Ponder Beard retweets user’s messages ,and taps into beard culture, tweeting links to the web site beardrevue.com and beard-related videos on YouTube, and encouraging users to grow out their luxurious facial hair.  

Engagement online has paid off. Since linking to beardrevue.com, Beard Revue has returned the favor, linking to LG’s Give It A Ponder web site and social media identities. Beard Revue rejoices in the recognition of beard culture, and claims the ads are “hysterical.”

The Give It A Ponder campaign takes on a public service role, as well, championing restraint and decrying cyber-bullying, a welcome message as teens continue to use mobile technology to send inappropriate photos and to bully peers.

Capitalizing on Web 2.0 technologies and finding its audience’s preferred channels, LG provides a case study in how to build a brand online.