Sunday, August 23, 2009

Freelancing can be a very good thing.

As I've been lucky enough to freelance while searching for the perfect full-time opportunity, I've been taking advantage of as many professional development workshops and club meetings as I can. This week I've had a few breakthroughs. 

During a Coast Young Professionals "Insights" luncheon (business leaders around the Coast come for lunch with a group of us CYP's and basically let us pick their brains for an hour), Vicki Barrett of the Sun Herald said something that really hit home . She talked about wishing she had the chance years ago to decide her next professional steps and consider being more entrepreneurial. Before finishing her talk, she said "be open in your career, because you never know what may come along." The core message Vicki delivered was to embrace professional evolution, which has been a recurring theme during my own job search. 

I thought about Vicki's advice again today when I read this post from Anonymous at Conde Nast, regarding the widespread panic among 30-somethings in the media industry who aren't sure about their next step. The pro's who've been writing/editing/being fabulous for a decade in the industry worry that as the feasibility of print subsides, they're high overhead and lack of digital trends are going to really end up screwing them. As we learn in marketing, "positioning " is unbelievably important for our clients, and these journalists--positioning themselves as entertainment/fashion media entities--may have positioned themselves against the trends. So how do I, approaching those years in my career, keep that from happening? 

It's difficult--and, I think, unwise--at this point in digital media/public relations/journalism to pigeonhole ourselves, am I right? What can we Gen Y'ers do to maintain our adaptability as the economy and media industry continues to evolve? For my peers who are also mid-job hunt right now, consider this time a gift to really think about how we can best contribute. I think during the past two months I've discovered so many new things about my abilities that I've really been able to narrow my search to the positions where I will be the absolute best. 

Despite this "blessing," pros, please tell me: how do we young professionals ensure our relevance in 10, 20 years? 

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Ah, Mitch Stewart, there you are! Just as the Heartland blows a gasket.

A few things struck me today that reminded me timing is really, really freaking important. First, health care.  As I mentioned in an earlier post, the previously-successful-at-social-media Obama administration has completely missed the boat in utilizing its network to dispel rumors about the health care plan and public option. 

According to an NBC News poll, not only is Obama's disapproval rating at an all-time high, so is the misinformation permeating conversations across the country regarding the health insurance reform proposal. Forty percent of those surveyed said Obama's health care plan would only worsen the quality of their current coverage and that it will limit patients' access to doctors as well as medical treatment options. However, when presented specifics about the plan 53% said they would support a plan with those details. 

Just today, I received only my second email from Mitch Stewart with more details and rumor clarification about the program. Here's the thing: the 'damage control' ship has sailed. As NBC News also asked, are there too many misconceptions circling the nation to ever reel in this issue? Had the administration better planned for the worst-case-scenario word-of-mouth before introducing the proposal they would have had a better shot at controlling the conversation. Now it may be too late. 

Another time sensitive issue--of a much lighter note and of less national significance, so take a breath--happened today in the public relations world. Many of the PR pros I follow on Twitter were discussing Beth Brody of Brody PR and a huge faux pas she committed earlier in the day. Long story short: Beth spammed a "marketing piece" for her firm to every PR big wig in her contact list. And when I say big, I mean big. The problem: she open cc'd all of the addresses instead of choosing the much more subtle bcc option, allowing a public "Reply All" free for all.  Rather than immediately issuing a mea culpa, apologizing for the email debacle, neither she nor her team released a statement until about 7 hours later. In the meantime, the topic harpooned on Twitter into the Biggest Mistake Ever made by a PR professional. This is a perfect example of the need to respond immediately and clearly. Social networks just move too fast (if you're the one who made a mistake).

PR pros, I'd love to hear your thoughts on timeliness. Can you be prepared for everything, with a plan ready to go, even for social blunders like the famed "reply all" response? 

Friday, August 14, 2009

Is digital media a Woodstock-esque movement?

I just watched a story about Woodstock (part of their publicity blitz for its 40th anniversary), noting the way the iconic event forced mainstream news organizations to pay attention to the messages of the younger generation.  T.J. Winick (of ABC News) interviewed Dan Garson, a photojournalist who actually began his career at Woodstock...and not in the traditional way. Merely a high school 17-year-old, he bought a camera, applied for a media pass, got it, and from the 3rd row shot some of the most memorable Woodstock photos taken--like the treasure to the left. Keep that concept of citizen journalism in mind. 

Last night I attended Zehnder Communications’ seminar “The 411 on Social Media” in New Orleans, and Tom Martin (check him out here and here) noted the newfound ease of live streaming broadcast. With a wireless 3G card and a laptop, I can stream live from anywhere, most likely beating national news networks to the punch. What does this mean for the future of the “breaking story?” And how often will those who just happen to be at the right place at the right time bring a story to millions the fastest? 

That's the direction in which we're moving, folks, and those of us proficient in digital media will be able to move it forward, helping our clients shape the conversations around their brands in the same manner. Why can't a spokesperson for a company live stream exactly what a corporation is doing to manage a crisis in real time, from the scene even? To me, it's going to be great way for us to have our clients' issues addressed first and, most importantly, transparently, by those on the front lines. 

With the popularity of social media to break and relay news, this movement really could be compared to the attention demanded by the Woodstock generation. Look at the respect attention networks give to information taken from the Drudge Report, formerly a weekly e-mail. Twitter entered the national dialogue when the first image of "The Miracle on the Hudson" broke via TwitPic from a rescue worker's iPhone. The media is changing and mainstream channels are being forced to participate. 

It's going to be especially interesting, though, to watch the way live video streaming affects broadcast news. How do you think it's going to affect reporters? Will the citizen journalist become a part of the story? 

Photo credit: Jimi Hendrix performs at Woodstock. From the collection of Dan Garson (Dan Garson/Genesis Publications / April29, 2009)

Monday, August 10, 2009

Are you there, Obama? It's me, Rebecca.

I thought we were almost BFF's. We were tight. You were emailing me every day! 
But for a president who revolutionized the way candidates interact and rally their troops during a campaign, your team has apparently forgotten that using both mainstream and social media might also help with pushing your agenda. That is until today, with the launch of the Health Insurance Reform Reality Check. 

I will say that this is a totally bipartisan blog post, but it was just yesterday that I was so frustrated at the difficulty of finding out specifics about the program. And I'm not talking about finding the actual bill that's proposed. I want laymen's terms, is-my-grandma-gonna-be-put-to-pasture and is-my-dad-gonna-go-broke kind of details to respond to to circulating rumors. To me, this type of communication is essential for people like me, Gen-Y young professionals who can't study the 1000-pg. bill right this minute, but truly want to know what's going to make it work. 

It seems that more right-leaning networks as well as opponents of the bill know exactly why Obama's health care plan can't and won't work, and those are the things I'm hearing. I want facts and statements just as simple about why it WILL work. In a fairly decent example of integrated marketing communications to push the message, today I was finally reached by the administration with the campaign, both through my social networks and of "Reality Check" coverage on my local news (which I only saw because it was on one of the TV's at the gym). 
If you're like me (typical Gen-Y attention span and fairly unfamiliar with the health care industry), the videos on the site may help get a better, more balanced idea of what the president is proposing. I'm anxious to watch the polls over the next few weeks to see if the campaign is the "reality check" America wants after all. 

If the Obama campaign successfully utilized social networking (and built what I thought was a strong relationship!) to disseminate information and gain support, why would the Obama presidency not do the same? 

Monday, August 3, 2009

Annihilating social media for my job hunt

I am doing it all. In the past few weeks, I've updated my LinkedIn profile, fallen in love with Twitter, and read all of the advice sent my way from Alison Doyle, Tory Johnson, and a few other advice columnists while trying to keep my head from spinning. I'll update on how it goes, and there's one main reason that I'm truly confident that in this terrible economy, I'll find the perfect home for my talents: I know how to integrate marketing communications into a successful campaign. It's an absolute necessity for today's job seeker, and I've created a fully integrated campaign for myself. Main objective: connecting with my potential employers hopefully addressing a need for a kickass change agent (that's me) and using every possible resource to make it happen. 

Another awesome thing I've realized through my job search? I don't have to worry about keeping my thumb on the new media pulse outside of grad school. I've learned so much about entering the social media conversation during the free time I have that I can barely keep up. 

This morning I was scoping out Trumpet, a very cool agency in my area that often blurs the line between venture marketing and advertising. I've applied for a handful of jobs there and plan to continue to stalk them down, but I digress. They're launching a campaign for Thriv (not sure if that's a long "i," but I can find out for you), and I took advantage of a great promotion for its organic "performance gear" line. After answering some questions about my workout patterns, I'll receive a free product sample. I know the cost of a promotion like that may be high, but what a great way for the new company to get to know its consumer upon the launch. Plus, who doesn't love free stuff. I'm a brand ambassador already. 

More on my job search coming up. This week, I'm soliciting advice for getting out there and finding the perfect agency job. Offer it up! 

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Don't get me wrong, I'm all about social media...

...but let's hope that Wedding 2.0 does not become a trend of the future. I prefer to think of this as a (very successful) social experiment. 

Wouldn't you be annoyed if your friend sends this to you two days before her wedding? Then again...I'm a planner.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Creative for a cause

I've been really inspired by Blame Drew's Cancer and think this can give non-profits some ideas about how they can fundraise using Twitter. Here's how it works: we Twitter users, like Drew, can blame all of our problems on his cancer. If I can't find my keys, I can #BlameDrewsCancer. If my dog peed in the house, I'm going to #BlameDrewsCancer. And so on. 

With the goal of donating to the cause's new parter, LIVESTRONG, the final tally of "complaints" from Drew's Cancer--AFTER he's beaten it--will hopefully be matched with a dollar donation from sponsors. We can also join the cause on Facebook (, using the hash tag on Twitter is a lot more fun. 

For those of you who are leaders of non-profits: do you think this could be a way to build exposure for smaller non-profits to a larger scale? On the Mississippi Gulf Coast, Twitter is still a relatively intimidating component of social media, and it has yet to take off (I Blame Drew's Cancer) outside of the young professionals population. However, I'm thinking similar promotions on Twitter would be a smart way to promote Gulf Coast causes. What do you think? 

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Who invited the mortgage brokers? (ps-this is awesome).

In a brilliant ploy to reel in new business on a relatively shoestring budget ($100k), Israel's Ha'Poalim Mortgage Bank executed a marketing plan that included wedding crashing as its most powerful tactic. Brokers dropped thick envelopes in the gift boxes of the happy couple that included an IKEA gift card, personally signed congratulatory wishes, and an invitation to come speak to the mortgage broker about the bank's new special program for newlyweds. 

The campaign was awarded "Best Targeted Campaign" during the Festival of Media in Valencia, Spain (how do I get tickets to that?). Read more about it here. Most importantly, the bank had 25% of couples call to schedule appointments and countless more walking in to the banks, envelopes in hand. 

This is a really cool example of how smart targeting can pay off. What I think is the most important thing to note about this campaign is that it had a 100% opening rate. The bank (along with its agency, WPP's MediaCom) considered everything down to the upbeat and excited mood of its target audience when their envelope was received. That has got to be one of the most well-received pieces of direct mail ever. 

Monday, June 8, 2009

How Social Media is Radically Changing the Newsroom

How Social Media is Radically Changing the Newsroom

Some great thoughts about establishing policies and guidelines for the newsroom. 

Posted using ShareThis

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Hey, you "cwing"?

Speaking directly to yours truly, Ogilvy is setting to launch a campaign to a market segment called "Cwingers," twenty-somethings often watching TV on the couch with a laptop open across their laps while taking calls or texting simultaneously. Their segment name is coined after those of us who swing from one medium right back to another, and the campaign will begin with a vignette during "Gossip Girl" then send viewers online to watch the middle or the end of the story.

What I like about the campaign is not only the smart targeting, but also their use of reality TV in the ads--which have I even mentioned, is a new line of Dove body wash--which are stories of four real women simililar to those we follow in Gossip Girl. Personally, they had me at "real-life Manhattan drama on my laptop," since that's how I normally catch up with guilty pleasures like The Hills and Gossip Girl anyway.

This is just another example of how smart targeting can get noticed when we truly think about who we as marketers are speaking to.

Monday, March 16, 2009

SEO and ethics

To briefly expand on this week's conversation about SEO:

From firsthand experience, I've come across a few prospective clients who have heard what seem to be SEO horror stories, but no one can fully explain why they don't want to invest in it for their company's site. To me, suggesting SEO to a client is a sound way to increase the likelihood the site will be found, without paying a monthly fee for AdWords. That said, they will likely need "take the site back to the shop" for an update periodically, but there are certainly no ethical gray lines in optimizing a site to be easily found by all search engines, not just Google. 

Check this out! I even found an SEO programmer whose brand niche is that he's 'the ethical one.' So funny.


As for our discussion on AdWords and the clarity of the results as actual ads, I do think it's as clear as the "Special Advertising Sections" in magazines, designed to be characteristic of the magazine's typical layouts. Those even fool me sometimes. It's up to us as consumers--and web users--to be on our toes and to know what we're clicking. 

"Crippling" Design

In my previous post, I mentioned the importance of thoughtful copy and the amazing results than can happen when designers and copywriters work together to create their product. Another thought on design--also taken from A List Apart--is the crucial task of testing web designs, and the devastating effects that can occur in not doing so.

Nick Usborne provides a list of elements to test before publishing your site:
"Here are just a few of the design elements we have found can make a significant difference to the performance of a web page:
  • The position and color of the primary call to action
  • Position on the page of testimonials, if used
  • Whether linked elements are in text or as images
  • The amount of “white space” on a page, giving the content space to “breathe”
  • The position and prominence of the main heading
  • The number of columns used on the page
  • The number of visual elements competing for attention
  • The age, sex and appearance of someone in a photo"
Utilizing this list would certainly make a difference in ensuring you're developing site that speaks directly to your audience in the way your company intends. Research shows that within 1/20th of a second, web users make a judgement about a company according to the website image. The time it takes to test the design elements would certainly be worth the 1/20th of a second snap-judgement of a prospective customer in order to draw them in.

Words matter most. Well, almost.

During discussions about what we can find on  A List Apart, I was most drawn to articles emphasizing the importance of smart web copy. (Here's one: Calling All Designers, Learn to Write!"). During my time working at a small advertising agency, I was constantly researching the way that ad agencies presented themselves online. My particular agency, I thought, placed a huge amount of emphasis on graphic presentation and not enough on copy, both for digital and print purposes. From looking through sites on the best agencies, even those with extremely sophisticated web designs, the use of smart copy is evident. And often times, the shorter, more thought-provoking text was most effective. 

A few samples of well written text that is woven seamlessly into the site design:
The light, understated design elements are really reflected well in the way the text is presented as well as the actual message. In a few brief sentences, the company states its mission and when they can best help a prospective client.

This is funny. The very best of web writing, in my opinion, as it's hard to do. Shine Advertising (birthplace of the infamous GoDaddy spots), always has clever copy about how their why their no-frills site is either under construction (as in this case) or why they're too busy to put up a plethora of work samples. All stated in a way brilliantly in line with the irreverent brand they've build for themselves.

If you can't see the image, go ahead and click on the site. There's no way, using this page as an example, that a designer and copywriter couldn't work together to build a page with little text that still delivers the message the agency wants to convey about its team. Riggs is very, very good. 

Tricks are for kids!

(Xinhua/Reuters File Photo)

A report released March 14 from Consumers International apparently also made note of the way the websites of junk food companies (Kellogg's included) are using their websites to target children. The study on advertising to children and the food industry is called "New Media, Same Old Tricks," and it blames the parents as much as the companies for allowing their children to be exposed to the messages. Because so many sites (check out for their "healthy message") reinforce the behaviors for parents with assuring, "healthy" messages, children are actually exposed to the brands exponentially longer than they are during a 30-sec. TV spot. Despite recent discussions about the link of childhood obesity to TV and the food advertised to kids, those advertisers have chosen a new route, which is actually better for them, and worse for kids. 

Justin Macmullan, of Consumers International, emphasizes the reason that utilizing online advertising, instead of TV, to reach kids is a big step in the wrong direction: "In many countries kids already spend more time on the Internet than watching TV. That's why it's vital we have mandatory regulations that restrict junk food companies from using new media to perform the same old marketing tricks on our children." 

Kids in America

I've examined the use of online games by companies like Kellogg's to market their cereals (most of them sugary and unhealthy) to kids using these interactive tools. I found this article from CNET that looks further into how companies are subconsciously working their way into childrens' minds: virtual worlds, geared towards kids 7 to 14. 

The article, "Are kids ready for ads in virtual worlds?" raises that very questions, an important one, many of us want to raise our kids to decipher what is advertising. Olsen points out the ease of building brand affinity with children in these environments because they consider their online activity as "playing," naturally associating included brands or products with good feelings. For example, avatars users create on can test drive Toyota Scions.

With respect to the sugary cereal commercials almost exclusively targeting children, these types of engaging methods could certainly build stronger brand relationships as kids grow up. If I'm a 9-year-old driving my Toyota Scion via my Whyville avatar, maybe when I'm 15 that will be the first car that enters my mind as I get my permit. 

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Yahoo tries something new. Again.

In an earlier post, I mentioned sites Hulu and Joost, which offer web users a legal way to download/stream their favorite shows or movies (including network programs). This article by Brian Stetler of the NY Times draws attention to Yahoo's attempt to generate original video programming via its site...and what went wrong the first time. He cites the company's extremely expensive attempts to draw television viewers to the website with original talk shows and sitcoms and calls them all "disasters." 

Sibyl Goldman, Yahoo's head of entertainment, cites the problem being one that has been discussed throughout the entire IMC program, targeting the right audience and identifying a need. Their latest attempt will create the programming in reverse: target their largest audience and build programs around what they want to see. 

This could have been groundbreaking had it not been done already by Sprint and Suave, with the "In The Motherhood" series. These original short "webisodes" are genuinely funny and were written from real moms sending in hilarious moments from their everyday lives. Check out the first one, filmed in 2007:

Interestingly enough, Yahoo's first series is called "From Spotlight to Nightlight" and targets moms, with topics such as zany celebrity baby names. Nowhere in the article did Stetzer reference the success of "In the Motherhood" as an original web series or its success crossing over to a series for ABC this spring. This is a great example of web-originated video crossing over into mainstream media. 

FANS of mobile marketing?

In our Emerging Media class discussions on mobile marketing, we've touched on the direct connections marketers can have with their audiences when communications via rich text message, directly to their pockets. Well, one of my high school friends who is studying Sports Industry Management at Georgetown showed me another way it can work to gain information from fans seated within a stadium or arena. He's on staff with the Washington Capitals, and posted this photo from a recent game*:

In case the text isn't clear, it's a simple question for fans: "What are you doing celebrate St. Patrick's Day?" Fans have three options to text back. This is a great way, while being entertaining for fans during a lull in the game, for Caps marketing staff to build a database of hockey fans at the arena using quick mobile technology. My friend manages the jumbotron promos for each game and says these survey questions are part of a partnership with Verizon. The "Verizon Insta Poll" collects the data from fans and sends two bounce-back messages: one from Verizon promoting a new phone or calling plan, and the second is from the Caps about purchasing season tickets for the upcoming season. 

Should the marketing staff choose to use the numbers (if they can gain access to them through Verizon), they can/should always add the option of texting back 'STOP' at the end and subsequent messages from the Caps. I'd bet that many of the Capitals fans choose to stay in and receive team updates if there were also promotional codes offering chances to save $ on tickets. Smart move to get extremely valuable information from one silly St. Patty's survey!

* He posted the photo because he snuck in a photo of his pug, Tank, as option #3. What a cutie. 

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Speaking of digital video

Has anyone heard of Hulu? I hadn't until I received an article from Ad Adge's "MediaWorks" e-newsletter debating the future plans of the brand, which seem to be, as of right now, vague after the next two years.

When I researched further, I found that Hulu is actually just a safe (legal) place to watch and/or download approved TV shows and movies. A similar program exists called Joost, however, Hulu is predicted to gain an edge on Joost because it doesn't require users to download any of the content. It's simply a place where they can stream the videos. 

Ad Age's article brings up the question: how will these online TV spots affect the value of advertising on traditional television. My question is this: how will we as marketers integrate this into our marketing plan and/or budget? Or when, for that matter? As we learn--especially with respect to emerging media--the best way to integrate a variety of effective media into our campaigns, new networks like Hulu will make our jobs increasingly complicated. To me, though, this just amplifies the importance of knowing our target audience and studying their psychographic profiles. Are these people that prefer to watch their favorite programs online? Or are these people looking forward to kicking back at the end of a long day in front of their 50" plasma? Because we are all so different, I don't think that sites like Hulu or Joost are going to necessarily detract from the value of TV advertising. They'll just make our job more exciting. 

No Doubt gets buzzed from viral videos

Perez Hilton played a part in the circulation of viral videos aiming to build buzz for the upcoming reunion tour of No Doubt--their first collaboration since 2003. 

The use of IMC in building online buzz for their tour has been extremely relevant to one of their missions for the show: to bypass Ticketmaster and get tickets to fans via their website at an affordable price. According to standard Ticketmaster procedures, the band receives 10% of the available tickets, and No Doubt took the very best 10%. The only way for fans to get the tickets was directly through their website, so the use of viral videos made sense to keep the campaign digital. According to Perez's report:
"No Doubt were granted 10% of the tickets for each show and sold them directly through their website, completely bypassing Ticketmaster's outrageous service charges.

"The impetus is to have people who want to be in the building to be the people buying the tickets — not speculators," Jim Guerinot, No Doubt's manager, tells reporters. "We've done it before and it works."

Fan club members were required to pay a $15 dollar fee, but with the charge came access to the band's entire digital audio catalog as well as stickers, magnets, and iron-ons promoting the new tour!"

For fans that take advantage of the ticket promotion via the website , they will also be given no Doubt's entire digital background, which according to to a statement from the band, they thought would be "a cool way to get people to listen to our music and stoke them with a great deal at the same time." 

In studying IMC, we've primarily focused our attention on consumer packaged goods--at least I have throughout my own projects. Even though No Doubt's music can be considered a consumer-targeted product, this is a cool way to use digital media to market the tour directly to their biggest fans. The ones on their website, waiting for the latest info on the tour. Smart stuff.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Does everything happen first in Europe?

From firsthand experience while living overseas, I can attest that the mobile marketing phenomenon took off much more rapidly and successfully in Europe than it has stateside. It's interesting that by the end of 2004, 77 percent of European mobile users had subscribed to some sort of corporate mobile messaging alert! The European Proctor & Gamble division actually developed one of the first mobile "advergames"  (a GrandPrix-style game promoting Head & Shoulders shampoo), which was extremely successful in experimenting with "rich" mobile media. 

Why is it that the technology (which I think is extremely convenient, as I receive new concert alerts from local venues straight to my phone) received such a chilly reception in the States? Are Europeans more tolerant of advertising?

To be honest, during my two and a half years overseas, the frequent (Italian) messages (that I couldn't read until I was about to move home) didn't bother me as much as I thought they would. Perhaps Americans are more bothered by the concept of another route for marketers to reach them, but once they try it out, they might actually like it. 

The worst thing to happen to productivity.

Prof. Post suggested this Business Week article that discusses the viral effect of social networking via mobile phone, predicting a large percentage of Americans will use their cell phones as their primary social networking tool by 2012. This is largely unscientific, of course, but I, for one, think the 2012 date for that advancement is a little off. Quite possibly the worst thing that could have happened to my attention span occurred when I downloaded the Facebook app onto my Blackberry. 

Instantly, at my fingertips I have access to over 500 friends' status updates and newsfeeds, and I can respond immediately when someone sends a message my way. This has absolutely affected my concentration level but has done wonders for staying in-the-know about what my friends are having for lunch and where there next business trip may be. 

Case in point (posted by a girlfriend of mine who just joined Facebook):

Sunday, March 1, 2009

I'm so proud of you Mother$#*%ers!"

Last summer, the Association of Independent Commercial Producers (AICP) named the best commercials of the year at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Many of us expected the year's most talked about commercials, like the Whopper Freakout, to be honored, and they were. There was, however, a very special honoree. The following Bud Light gem that many of us (all of us in Gens X and Y at least) received from friends via e-mail.

The Bud Light Swear Jar commercial was made specifically for, with no hopes of approval from the FCC. I, for one, have never logged on to, but probably received the spot in my inbox or on a MySpace comment at least three or four times. The fact that a commercial that was never aired on television was so effective in reaching its target audience and was honored by such a prestigious organization really speaks volumes about just how well new media can be utilized as a creative advertising option. This is a great example of viral marketing and of the success a corporation can experience using a non-traditional medium while being a little edgy.

According to Robert Lachkey, executive vice president for global industry and creative development for Anheuser-Busch in St. Louis, as of April 9, 2008, over 12 million viral views were tracked of the commercial, and over 2.7 million were viewed on YouTube (Elliot, 2008).

Stuart Elliot expands on the tracking ability of advertisers in another NYTimes article, about the ability of new media to keep such close track on consumers, down to the websites they visit. This has opened up an entirely new appreciation for behavioral marketing--a practice that can be executed well using the web and consumers digital footprints.

I'm not sure that viral videos like the Swear Jar commercial (and the Whopper Freakout, for that matter) increase sales, necessarily. However, they do play a a huge role in brand building and positioning the brand name at the top of consumers minds while the videos are circulating.

Anyone else receive the Swear Jar commercial in your email? What did you think?

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Blogging as a legit corporate crisis response?

Because many corporations have unofficial blogs, the first place for the public and media to turn during a crisis will most likely not be this emerging medium. However, that tide may be turning, as live blogs are proving to be the quickest ways retrieve information, and when a corporation is dealing with a crisis and recovery, they should utilize whatever will disseminate information the fastest. 

Fast Company's Heath Row commented on how why corporate blogs could be the best tool to use to reach an angry public during a crisis. To me, the most poignant reason being that because of the casual language a blog allows, it will lend a human voice to a sometimes inaccessible corporation. As Row mentions, every corporate disaster has an image: 

Had the technology been there, a human 'voice' writing in real time about the upsetting images from the Exxon Valdez disaster could have given the public a different perspective on those trying to clean up the mess and find out what went wrong. 

It's important to note--as Row does in his piece--that blogs should never replace a crisis communications plan, of course. It can, however, be a very unique and accessible addition to the media mix. 

A few more words on the Inauguration...

According to this interesting article from Ad Age, new media has made a dent in the traditional means many used to use to get information. President Obama's swearing in and inaugural address were watched across more platforms than any event in American history. It claims this year's winner (by no surprise) to be the web, with streaming video, social networks, and live-blogging throughout the day contributing to its popularity. 

I'd love to know how the rest of you watched the inauguration. Do you feel like these new platforms are affecting how you get your daily news or observe important live events? 

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Yes, Audi, Progress is Beautiful.

There's so much to say about the screen shot above, both with regard to Emerging Media and with the progress of our country, that I'm still a little speechless. Yesterday, the Inaugural celebration of Barack Obama was one of the most memorable and inspiring days in our lifetime, and as I watched President Obama's swearing in and inaugural address streaming live on my office computer, I couldn't help but think about the ease at which we all could be a part of this historic day. Even though I would have rather been on the National Mall squished between 1.5 million inspired Americans, there was something about cheering in my small office with my associate Icy Loury--who reminded me about Dr. King smiling down on us all--that just felt right. 

All of us couldn't make the trek to D.C., but because of the ease at which we can retrieve information--in this case, Audi's message as well--I knew I wouldn't miss out on being a part of this day in real time. 

Thank you And thank you, Audi. 

Monday, January 19, 2009

Free advertising.

As it goes, nothing comes for free (except Papa John's dessert on the chain's birthday. YUM.), but the use of social networking certainly does stretch the dollar when it comes to reach and ROI. As Scott said on our board this week, it's the digitized version of word-of-mouth advertising...and as many of us know from being consumers ourselves, the very best form of advertising is an endorsement from a friend. 

The most important point from this week's discussion, however, is the necessity of choosing the right digital medium for the target audience. I wouldn't choose Facebook as a marketing tool for my B2B campaign and I'd be reticent to use an abundance of digital media to certain psychographics within the Southeastern region, where I work every day. I regularly do presentation consulting with brilliant professionals (most in the Baby Boomer generation) who have gone so far as to say, "If you tell me to turn that computer on, I probably couldn't do it." That's fine...that's why I get business, but I can't think of one of the mediums we discussed this week that would be an effective way to reach that member of my target audience. 

How do you respond in the workplace to those who are less tech savvy and underestimate the power of the digital marketplace?

The beginning of my commentary...

Welcome to my online commentary on the digital landscape and Integrated Marketing & Communications (IMC). I hope you enjoy my thoughts on the matter, but I can't promise a plethora of insight in this forum. I honestly plan to just use it as a medium to work out some of my issues with the industry and questions regarding digital media, so the more feedback I can get, the better. I invite you to comment on my posts, and I hope to learn more about IMC from this blog and my classmates (and anyone else who stumbles upon this). 

This isn't my first attempt at blogging. During my time overseas--and more recently again--my husband and I documented our travels and foodie findings on Check it out. Especially if you like food and travel...preferrably when combined.

I do have friends who are true pros at blogging. Nicole writes and runs, and has actually been mentioned the NYPost and LA Times, among other special awards. My friend Coleen keeps us updated on her life with the Balent Times, a hilarious take on motherhood and the growth of a family. 

So I hope all of you enjoy reading my posts as much as I will yours. Looking forward to it!