Xerox Diagnoses a Syndrome That It Can't Cure

No Need to Copy This Campaign

By Published on .

David Berkowitz
David Berkowitz
Do you have Information Overload Syndrome? Odds are this isn't the only blog you're reading, so it probably feels right. So how is it possible that Xerox, trying to capitalize on the frustration, left me feeling so cheated with their new campaign?

The hub of the campaign is at HelpIOS.com, which redirects to a page on Xerox. There's a humorous enough video, even if it tries so hard that it feels all too familiar. It then ends with a tag for HelpIOS.com, but the video's not embeddable. Where else would someone see it? Another version of the video lets you personalize it and share it with others, but there are no pause, rewind or fast-forward controls on it and, again, it can't be embedded.

There's a larger strategic problem at hand. At HelpIOS, when you click "get help," it's all about Xerox. The first paragraph clearly says, "Here's how Xerox is getting to the root of the problem..." Then it starts talking about its EIP software platform, DocuShare CPX, OSG Billing Services and the Maine Office of Tourism. In other words, it's overloaded me with information that I can't even understand. That's the let down. Xerox doesn't help the problem -- it makes the problem worse.

Lastly, the choice of calling it a syndrome is a bit off-putting. Information Overload Syndrome isn't fictitious enough to warrant a total parody. I'm reminded of the New Economy Depression Syndrome that author and Yahoo alum Tim Sanders coined a few years back, framing it as a real problem and offering ways to help. HelpIOS offers no recognition that this is something real and no way to deal with it, except by spending a few thousand dollars on Xerox products.

The site still may perform well enough on the strength of the video, but there are a number of ways Xerox could consider getting more mileage out of it:

  • The humorous video could be embeddable, with easy links to share it through popular social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter and digg.
  • When searching YouTube for that video, it came up right away, both in the organic listings and as a Promoted Video. It's well rated, with over 5,000 views. That YouTube video could just as easily go on the HelpIOS hompage.
  • The video that's personalized would work better with viewing controls and embedding and sharing functions. If the first video, which viewers obviously love, based on the YouTube ratings, was formatted to be shared more easily, it would obviate the need for the personalized remix.
  • The campaign's web presence appears siloed. I couldn't find any link to the YouTube clip from HelpIOS. Digging around on the site more, I found a link to a related Xerox blog that's been updated periodically since August 2008. All of this can be more clearly linked together, both for an improved user experience and potentially higher search engine rankings.
  • The "share your experience" area lets visitors submit an experience, but there's no indication as to what Xerox will do with it. Visitors are encouraged to "see how [Xerox] can help," but there's not even a field to enter an email address so Xerox can respond. A Facebook Connect log-in could be a great fit here so that people can share their stories using their real names (minimizing spam or gag entries) and those stories can then be shared on Facebook with a single click, greatly increasing the exposure of the campaign.

A strategic shift would also go a long way to make HelpIOS work as a resource rather than a sales pitch. The "Get Help" section could be transformed to avoid mentions of Xerox products (or entirely minimize them) and include topics such as:

  • Best tools for managing digital media, from sites to gadgets to browser plug-ins
  • Email management tips
  • Books in the "Getting Things Done" genre to take control of IOS
  • Helpful blogs such as Lifehacker
  • Relaxation tips
  • Forums where people are discussing relevant issues

To get even more mileage out of it, Xerox could invite bloggers, authors and other personalities to provide recommended links and content. All of this would make it clear that Xerox can help with IOS in ways that are valuable beyond its EIP, CPX, and OSG.

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David Berkowitz is director of emerging media for 360i. He blogs regularly at Inside the Marketer's Studio. He also contributed to the just-released Social Marketing Playbook.

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