A battle with CNN proved he was 'King of the Hill' on Twitter (with now over 3.6 million followers), and an updated version of 'Candid Camera' called 'Punk'd,' were some of the initiatives Ashton Kutcher accomplished after starting his own social media company called "Katalyst Media."
In describing his innovative agency, he was quick to point out it was't a marketing firm, “We’re really a studio,” Kutcher said in a recent interview. “I think we’re additive. I don’t think that we’re replacing ad agencies.”
At Mixx's Conference & Expo (September 21-22, 2009) he introduced one of Katalyst's recent projects, a user-contributed video for Kellogg that highlights their philanthropic efforts to raise awareness for the world hunger epidemic.
Directed by his wife Demi Moore, Kellogg teamed up with Katalyst to spotlight this global issue via online videos and a fan page on social networks. KelloggCares Facebook page features user-generated content submitted by their customers and hopes that by reaching consumers where they get much of their
information - via the social web - it will engage people worldwide in
the fight against hunger.
Kutcher is now on to the 'next shiny thing' in the social media space, namely, Foursquare. As a location-based mobile social network, which I've recently written about in several of my previous blogs, e.g., "Foursquare & Crowd-Sourced Evangelists Tweak Loyalty Marketing"), its the latest craze sweeping the social media channels. "It will eventually have social relevance once their audience grows. I think a combination of these social networks is really one of the big future pushes. The more you can geo-locate people based on their mobile devices, the more you can incentivise people to participate in different brands,” he noted.
Asked what trends are emerging on the horizon, Kutcher thinks that the “big thing people will be talking about is the ability to use metrics to track how social media impacts buying decisions. He said advertisers will be able to measure an 'impact metric,' which will be able to detail the difference between something being streamed through TV or online and being shared with you by somebody that you care about.”
Katalyst is also developing an ad campaign for Mountain Dew that is being completely driven by consumers in the social media space.“Mountain Dew is allowing consumers to create the next three brands of Mountain Dew. They [consumers] are going to name it. They’ll pick the color... They’re picking the ad agency.” Katalyst and Mountain Dew are using 12Seconds.tv to collect short video clips for the campaign that are submitted by consumers.
From That 70s Show to becoming Internet famous, Kutcher feels confident that his expertise in social media has prepared him to become a coach for brands that want to make a mark in that arena. When asked recently how he responds to people that ask him about the next Twitter, he immediately replaces his media hat with a sales pitch, “They can hire Katalyst, and I’ll let you know.”