The Black Eyed Peas help the cloud look cool!

I’m English, so for me the Super Bowl is not something that gets marked on my calendar every year. It might flash up on the UK news due to a half-time wardrobe malfunction, but that’s about it.

The one thing that most of us know though is that the Super Bowl generates some of the highest advertising spend per minute anywhere in the World. The ads that surround the half-time show are some of the most expensive and eagerly sought after slots in the advertising world.

And this year the Black Eyed Peas were playing the mid-game show. Back in December I’d been excited to see will.i.am from the Black Eyed Peas at Salesforce.com’s annual Dreamforce event in San Francisco. I was excited because it gave me a chance to gain a little bit of credibility back from my wife “Look – if will.i.am is in the Cloud then it’s got to be cool!”, but also to hear him talk about creating music in a different way, by collaborating in the Cloud.

Regular readers of this blog will have heard me pushing the point that Cloud is not about technology, but about what you do with it. It is about teachers hosting lesson plans and school homework to be accessed from student’s homes. It is about wedding venues giving brides and grooms access to their wedding planners online, it is about sales people letting their teams know how a meeting went in real -time.

And now, I was excited to see the possibilities of musicians creating music in the cloud, without having to be in the same studio.

Following Dreamforce will.i.am and Marc Benioff (Salesforce.com’s CEO and Chairman) settled on an idea of surrounding the Black Eyed Peas half-time Super Bowl performance with a couple of short Chatter.com ads to promote the launch of the new free, secure, private social network for businesses.

With only three months to get the project complete (most Super Bowl ads might take 9 months or so), and with the team in a number of global locations, they used Chatter to design and develop and move the project forward. No email attachments, no sending via PA’s, no “I never received it.”

The two ads featured cartoon characters The Baby Peas, and a new character Cloudy. They were short and with a catching signature sound “Chatter.com”. Initial feedback said the ads had failed – but this appeared to be across the board including the Groupon ads that featured during the same event.

But the people that say the ads failed miss the point of advertising in my mind. Advertising is not a one hit wonder. It’s about planting the seed, getting people talking, and by linking to The Black Eyed Peas Salesforce.com have completely set themselves apart from the traditional technology company.

My sister emailed me a few days later. “I saw an ad for a new Cloud company – Chatter.com – not sure if you’ve heard of them – something to do with the Black Eyed Peas” Bingo. Ad successful. She had found that advert because through The Black Eyed Peas not vice versa.

What is cool?

How can you define cool? Its difficult. All I can say is that I think watching this video of will.i.am talking about Chatter as a service that helps him is cool. I think that taking a picture of myself smiling after a successful meeting and posting it to my company’s Chatter feed is cool. I think that showing Chatter desktop to “Is this going to take long?” sales people in training and watching their eyes light up and say “Cool”…is cool.

As I showed my wife the ads and the making of video we both smiled. I’m excited about how far Salesforce.com, and the Cloud has come. But I am more excited about what the future holds as real people, in real jobs start to uncover how to use this awesome new technology to make their teams work better and their companies to grow faster.

Did you see the ads? What do you think about the coolness of this new technology? How are you using it to inspire your employees?

Charlie Cowan inspires and enables partners at NewVoiceMedia, a Salesforce Appexchange partner routing inbound calls based on CRM data. Unusually for someone in the IT industry, Charlie holds a degree in Rural Land Management from The Royal Agricultural College. He lives and works in Cirencester, Gloucestershire, with his wife and three children.