Friday, December 16, 2011

Creative Excellence Fridays - The Condom Sex app

The city of Stockholm was alarmed at the number of young people practising unsafe sex.
So, why not create an app that will encourage condom use. Sounds simple? Not really, but the results were encouraging.

An app that measures your sexual performance. Imagine. And it's all very scientific. Because you know no one would ever:
a) exaggerate their performance
b) lie about their success rate
c) take a few seconds/minutes longer to report their findings.

Here's how it works. You download the app to your smartphone, take your phone to bed with you, let it "record you getting busy", and upload the results to a social networking site. It's one small step from simply having a reality camera doing live feeds of your sexlife. Wait, that probably already exists, only people get paid for it.

Obviously scientific accuracy was not foremost in the minds of the app creators. It's creating an exclusivity around the idea of "safesex is cool". See the report video here.


The Sex Profile from ESTER on Vimeo.



Job well done. Have a great weekend. And don't forget to include your smart phone, otherwise it'll feel left out.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Creative Excellence Fridays - GPS

Happy Friday. We've been getting into the holiday spirit, creating video holiday greetings for clients this week. As we all ease in, or in some cases careen into the holiday season, we think about possible gift ideas. Not everyone can get a tablet. GPS devices are always a fan favourite. Garmin has been a leader in GPS for some time and have recognized the importance of strong creative to set themselves apart in the category.

Here's the new holiday creative.



I have to admit a fondness for the mandolin playing squirrel from 2009 . For our Toronto readers you'll notice one shot from the Adelaide ramp overlooking the CN Tower.



Finally, here's a fun spot from a competitor, Mio Digiwalker.



That's it for this week. May all your creative be excellent.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Solving the mystery of Edgeranking on Facebook

When you're managing your facebook page, every time you create an update, you have an edgerank. That object will have a single edgerank. The new news feed on Facebook impacts how that all rolls out. EdgeRank is calculated using affinity x weight x time decay. Here are some interesting thoughts from EdgerankChecker co-founder Chad Wittman.

Author Archives: Chad Wittman
Did Facebook Really Fix The 3rd Party API Penalty? Posted on December 1, 2011


In early September we decided to tackle the rumor that 3rd Party APIs (using a platform to publish other than Facebook.com) had some sort of penalty affecting EdgeRank. Our article caused quite a stir reaching many of the major tech news outlets. We heard many social marketers concur that they have been seeing similar affects on their data. A few weeks after our report, Facebook overhauled the news feed (correlated with the recent f8 conference). 3rd Party APIs developers submitted a bug to Facebook detailing an issue that seemed to severely affect Impressions and Engagement. Facebook acknowledged the issue and vowed to fix it. This seemed to somewhat validate that there was some sort of effect impacting 3rd Party APIs. Approximately 1.5 months passed and Facebook updated the bug and proclaimed that it had been fixed.



How was the data analyzed?
Facebook announced their bug fix on November 6th. We grabbed data from the two weeks before November 6th vs the two weeks after November 6th. The sample size included over 4,000 Pages that posted during both of those time frames. We took every Page that posted over this time period and averaged their Post Impressions (per Post per fan at time of Post). We then noted how the Posts were published (directly from Facebook or 3rd Party API). In order to fairly assess how the bug fix affected each Page, we needed to only include Pages that posted directly on Facebook and used a 3rd Party API during our time frame. With this in mind, our data was most accurately analyzed by only looking at the most widely used 3rd Party API (in our data set). After imposing several rules to accurately compare the data, our segmented sample size was 391. To clarify, we required a Page to have posted with a 3rd Party API and directly on Facebook once each, during each time frame compared.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Creative Excellence Fridays - The bacon edition

One of my favourite foods is bacon. There are probably fewer foods that are worse for you, Krispy Creme donuts aside.
My friends who are vegetarians just simply don't understand. It's one of life's great mysteries how someone can smell bacon and not want to lay strips of it over just about everything.

Food ethics and cardiac concerns aside, bacon is a beautiful food. Even for vegetarians.



Our fascination for bacon doesn't just stop on the plate. It also could include a little behind the ears and a dab behind the neck.



And finally, this commercial may just push you over to the vegan side. The KFC double down. Two filets, two slices of cheese, two slices of bacon. Heart paddles not included.



That's it for this week. May all your creative be excellent. Have a great weekend.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

What is Can Spam

As we work with clients to help them successful marketing their email campaigns, this question comes up again and again. What is Can Spam ? It was a law passed in the United States congress which only applies to residents of the United States.

The CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 establishes the United States' first national standardshttp://www.blogger.cohttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifm/img/blank.gif for the sending of commercial e-mail and requires the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to enforce its provisions. The acronym CAN-SPAM derives from the bill's full name: Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography And Marketing Act of 2003.
http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gif
Does Canada have any anti-spam legislation? Sadly, no. Bill C-27 died on the order paper when Stephen Harper's government prorogued parliament in December 2008.

That's not to say professional agencies and marketers in Canada don't act with a best practices model in place.

It's a given that every email that goes out has an option for the reader to unsubscribe. More best practices in upcoming blogs.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Snowblower Headlines

This man has never won a Cassie or a Lassie or anything ending with ie, but he has written a phenomenally sensational headline; a headline that has inspired people to laugh, and more importantly pick up the phone and react. And isn't that what we're all trying to do?

Weh-Ming Cho's 900-word manifesto on the attributes of his snowblower – a "machine of snow doom that will cut a 29-inch path of pure ecstasy" – has been viewed about 360,000 times in less than a week.

You can see the CTV nationally covered story here.

Viral snowblower ad generates job offers, proposals | CTV News

Brilliant. And so simple. The two words that best describe the perfect campaign.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Creative-excellence-fridays-GeorgeClooney-commercial-spokesguy

We're familiar with George Clooney, movie star. But thanks to the internet and viral we're becoming very familiar with George Clooney, shameless pitchman. There was a time (pre-internet) when actors would promote products overseas, in Japan and other countries where the chances of their fan base seeing the ads was very remote. Today, media savy actors like Clooney recognize that being in a commercial is not a bad thing. And Clooney chooses his commercials wisely to enhance his "movie star" image and promote his sense of humour. And hey, the money's not bad either.

Here's a commercial that was viraled like crazy a few months back. D&B Bank in Norway.




Clooney understands his image is much more appealing when he pokes fun at himself, as opposed to taking himself too seriously.



No martini, no party.



And finally.. his spoof spot on the Emmy's celebrating Modern Family.



That's it for this week. May all your creative be excellent. Have a great weekend.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Fiat commercial - great use of music

Happy Monday. I was doing some research on the weekend and stumbled into this really well executed piece of creative from Fiat. It beautifully illustrates the legacy of Fiat as a brand from the beginning to today.







Just a teaser, for Creative Excellence Fridays, this Friday, celebrity creative featuring George Clooney.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Creative Excellence Fridays - Great Photography inspired by the Google Doodle

Thanks to Mashable for the inspiration behind today's blog. Today, November 18th, 2011, Google paid tribute to Louis Daguerre, the French physicist who invented daguerreotype, the first commercially successful form of photography.

Today’s Doodle celebrates his 224th birthday.

Daguerre began his career as a designer and painter, but his breakthrough came in 1839, when he announced his invention of the daguerreotype, a photographic process which produced a single positive image, which could not easily be replicated. It experienced a few decades of commercial success and influenced later photographic processes.

Here's to Daguerre and his little invention.



This next piece features some stunning photography from Burberry.



And finally Hyundai takes it over the top with photography and beautiful performance.



That's it for this week - Have a great weekend and may all your creative be excellent.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Creative Excellence Fridays - Remembrance-Day

Today is 11, 11, 11, Remembrance Day. Earlier this week, when I read about the man who was stealing poppy boxes from Tim Hortons, it just made me sad, and angry at the same time.

There are fewer and fewer veterans around to help keep the memories alive, but we should never forget the sacrifices they made. I don't agree with a lot of what Don Cherry says, but we have to give him his credit when he spotlights the veterans each year and plays back the footage of the miles of crosses across Flander's fields in Europe.

Let's not forget the sacrifices of our modern soldiers too. Regardless of the politics, the passion to give your all for your country should never, ever be taken lightly.



We shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.
Winston Churchill



Happy Remembrance Day. Lest we never forget.

Monday, November 7, 2011

GooglePlex - The Tech Disneyland

I've admired the Google workplace since the first time I saw a segment that mentioned they have a gourmet chef on site. The rationale was/is that well fed people work harder and don't need to wander off site.

Now, a few years down the road I read they have Segways to get from one part of the office to another. And beach volleyball courts. And 200 goats that fertilize the grounds.


Definitely one of the more progressive silicon workplaces in existence. Facebook can't be far behind.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Creative Excellence Fridays - Inspiring people - Inspiring commercials

Whether you're producing a branding commercial or direct response messaging, it's safe to say emotion is the motivator. Emotion plays a part in all of our messaging. But hospital fundraising commercials have a particularly high bar of expectations. There are so many places for a person of means to donate. Creating a video segment that pushes the decision making process in their direction is not an easy task.

We recently had the pleasure of working with West Park Healthcare centre to create a commercial. The commercial's objective was to showcase the rehabilitation services of West Park. I first worked with West Park 20 years ago, and my awe of this institution hasn't waned. They are a truly inspiring facility, only surpassed by the patients who pass through their doors.

This commercial showcased 4 incredible people. Jamoi, Eric, Linda and Lisette.
Credits to Tara Fainstein and Lijeanne Lee of West Park hospital for all their guidance and organization in putting this together. Heronymo Allen directed and edited.




We were elated to hear the response at the Scarlet Ball fundraiser was overwhelming. But the stars of the film were the inspiring patients.
Researching today's CEFriday blog I came across another incredible human being.
Matt Scott is an American basketball player. He has spina bifida – a disorder that existed before birth and caused him to be wheelchair bound.

Despite that, it has not stopped him from achieving success and excellence in life. When he was 14, he was introduced to wheelchair basketball. At age of 18, he led his team in the National Wheelchair Basketball Association’s to 2 national championships in 2003, and was selected MVP of the season. While he was in university, he led his team to 3 national championships (2004, 2005, 2007). In 2007, he was on the gold medal winning US team at the 2007 Parapan American Games in Brazil – and he was just 21 years old then.
Full marks to Nike for dedicating this commercial to Matt.






That's Creative Excellence Fridays for November 4. As always, your feedback and blog suggestions are always welcome and encouraged. Have a great weekend.


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Garage band on the iPhone


I remember when we brought the latest Mac tower into the office. I was clicking through the options and stumbled on to Garage Band. It was surprisingly easy to use and had some nice stock samples we were able to actually turn into a few productions for clients. Flash several years ahead and Garage Band is now on the iphone. I figured this would happen, but not so quickly. It raises a few questions. In an industry where we're all about quality and acoustics, do you take your iPhone into the shower with you to cut the next album? Obviously this is more for fun, or in some cases very raw, spur of the moment demos. They have photography exhibits now featuring art created on an iphone. And David Hockney (see below) just released his first iPhone art exhibit. So don't be surprised if "phone music" exhibitions happen soon.








Here's a cool link of all the things you can do with an iPhone. (like you needed to hear any more hype on the little gadget.)

Friday, October 28, 2011

Creative Excellence Fridays- Amazing corporate virals

This week was a banner day for Jason Zada. He's the director behind the hottest viral video of the week. Jason has worked with top shops like W+K, Crispin Porter Bogusky, Leo Burnett, Cutwater and Saatchi & Saatchi. TakeThisLollipop.com is a powerful, and yes, creepy video that exploits the privacy permissions you give up when you give Facebook access to your personal information.
It was covered on CNN, Time Magazine, and around the world. When you click yes to the access and login with your facebook account, you see your photo, your status updates and even photos from your photo albums. If you would rather NOT give up your privacy information, feel free to view the experience courtesy of mine.



Freaky isn't it? To turn the dial down a notch or two, the next viral is just plain clever. Seeing as how it's done for Google analytics out of the UK, you would have to call it "brilliant".



That's it for this week. Comments, suggestions for future blogs?... don't keep 'em all to yourself. Please share, and I promise to do the same.

Have a great weekend.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Creative Excellence Fridays - Vive la France !

A great viral is better than Bastille day in France. Especially when it's from France.
Recently Nestle launched a new ad campaign for its Contrex mineral water with high calcium content that supposedly speeds up the metabolism, thus burning calories and helping those who drink it to lose weight.

Their French ‘Contrexp√©rience’ commercial targets a female demo since the star of their new viral is a neon male stripper. The faster the ladies pedal, the more clothes the neon stripper removes. C'est simple!





And the golden rule of advertising stands pat. You can't go wrong using pets or in this case a baby to grab attention.





This spot is brilliant because you can't take your eyes off it. The performance of the teenager is just the right combination of lethargic and playful. And there are no less than 10 closeups of the product.
The baby and the green recycling message are a natural combination.


That's it for this week. As always, your comments and suggestions for future CEFridays blogs are encouraged and welcome. Have a great weekend.


Please join our Facebook page to see automatic Creative Excellence Fridays postings each Friday morning and creative and inspirational posts throughout the week. www.facebook.com/ontrackcommunications

Friday, September 30, 2011

Creative excellence Fridays - The voices behind the Simpsons

In the past on this blog we've featured famous voices like the late great Don La Fontaine, voice of over 5000 movie trailers.

Today, we look at an interview clip from the longest running prime time animated show, the Simpsons.
The Simpsons was based on an eclectic cartoon series by Matt Groening. It was originally just a series of shorts featured on the Tracy Ullman show. Fox Broadcasting Company ran with it and it has become iconic, and has influenced countless other shows and pop culture itself.

I came across a feature clip from an Australian television network. They featured clips from an amazing ensemble of the voice actors on Bravo's Actors Studio.
All of the actors came from or have gone on to fame outside of the television show, Hank Azaria in particular, but they've managed to keep the group together for over 21seasons.

Here is the clip now. Enjoy.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Creative Excellence Fridays - COLOUR

According to Wikipedia, colour is the visual perceptual property corresponding in humans to the categories called red, green, blue and others.

When we see a crimson sunset, we don't see it in terms of science.
The fact that a sunset is caused by dust particles in the air refracting the suns rays like a prism at an oblique angle causing the light to pass through much more air in order to reach the eyes.

Not sexy.

We only think about how it makes us feel. We relate it back to a memory, an experience.
For the art directors reading today, this is an automatic. When choosing a colour palette, you may go back to the colour wheel, choose complimentary colours or variations and move forward.


This Bentley commercial uses cool blues and greys, juxtaposed with bright nature colours to create the mood. The sexy french voiceover doesn't hurt either.



Wind Mobile chose to go with a black and white palette for this commercial.



Of course another place to draw from is the masters. Note how heavily Wind Mobile pulls colour and style from Miro.



That's it for this week. As always, your comments and suggestions are welcome. Have a great weekend.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Creative Excellence Fridays - The Gmail Man

Everyone has an axe to grind and a product to promote. Microsoft put this effective video together to promote Office 365. Before they can promote their product, they felt they needed to demote the competition. Anyone who thinks keywords aren't being pulled from messages being sent is very naive. A free service generally asks for something in return. In the case of Gmail, they advertise based on words they skim through messages you send out.

This video illustrates why you are probably receiving notes about products you have no interest in whatsoever. When machines and automation become involved, accuracy is bound to suffer.

Having said all that, the video is well produced in the style of a Saturday Night Live or Mad TV parody and well done.



Thursday, August 4, 2011

Old Spice guy - lots of views, but down double digit in sales

Old Spice is logging lots of traffic on their Youtube channel. But the most important parameter, sales, is down double digits.



Video



What does one take from this? You can't lose sight of the prize. Traffic and awareness are building blocks. But people need to also buy into the cache of the brand, and want to be an Old Spice man. The stigma of it being "your grandfather's aftershave" is a formidable one to overcome.

Time will tell if this is possible, and whether Old Spice will have the patience to wait this ride out.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Faster hard drive boot up times? Why not.

How many times have you had to restart your computer for one reason or another, and thought "here's 2 minutes I'll never get back".

In the technology section of today's NYTimes there is word of a new solid state hard drive with no moving parts that boots up in a fraction of the time with lightning operating speeds. Me likey. Me likey a lot.

NYTimes - hard drives

Friday, July 29, 2011

Creative Excellence Fridays - Top virals for July 29, 2011

What does it take to become a top viral and 10 million hits?
Apparently, a group of africans, one chimpanzee, and an AK47.




This next viral is brilliant. It was designed to create impressions for Neuro Sports drink. 3 million impressions later, mission accomplished.



And finally.. a more traditional, straight up, special effects rich 30 second spot for the fashion conscious dude



What's it going to take to create a top viralled video? The rules are changing all the time. Planned spontaneity (see Neuro) seems to be more the trend. Eventually people will start to feel the sell and this formula will grow cold.

For now, it's a growing trend. Jackass meets the wedding proposal.

Have a great weekend.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Old Spicey experience


We attempted to watch the online "event" on Wed at noon on Old Spice's Youtube channel. There was nothing. We waited. Crickets. Still more nothing.

Then, the comments started from other frustrated visitors. The funniest one being the one I saw yesterday morning.

"Look at your comment. Back to mine. Back to yours NOW BACK TO MINE. Sadly, it isn't mind. But if you stopped trolling and started posting legitmiate crap it could LOOK like mine. Look down, back up, where are you? You're scrolling through comments, finding the ones that your comment could look like. Back at mine, what is it? It's a highly effective counter-troll. Look again, MY COMMENT NOW HAS MANY THUMBS UP. Anything is possible when you copy and paste."

We were disappointed at the "lack of experience" for this Web Event. However, numbers are showing the hype has paid off and the videos are posting as a top viral for the week.

Verdict? The prehype paid off. The real time event? A big disappointment.

Will I buy Old Spice? This was the after shave I bought for my grandfather when i was 10. It will take more than Fabio to confuse me this is "Giorgio".

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

How to get 216 percent more interaction on your Facebook page

Adding friends/fans to your Facebook page is a lot like life; we'd like more, but we battle over quality verses quantity.

Below is an excellent article by Jeff Bullas posted on Ragan.com He makes some very valid points.
Here's the article - or click on the hotlink above to see it on the site of origin.

Brain surgery takes many years to perfect. Most of the people that require it are thankful that the surgeon has to pursue a rigorous course of learning.

Just imagine the problems that would occur if you were able to obtain the right to operate by filling in a survey on the back of a cereal packet. It would not create a more intelligent nation but I am sure the lawyers would be happy.

Obtaining more interaction is not brain surgery

A survey by Momentus Media discovered a fact that is not brain surgery and increases your interaction rate by 216 percent on your Facebook page.

The company analyzed 49,266 Facebook page posts to compare interaction rates for posts containing:

  • “Like” calls to action
  • “Comment” calls to action
  • No calls to action

The results revealed something that’s essential but often not done by many marketing professionals. It was that a “call to action” will increase your chances of interaction over not asking at all.

The survey also observed that only 1.3 percent of status updates analyzed even had a call to action.

Why the correct call to action is important

The results for no call to action as being the most likely to elicit very little interaction was not surprising but what was surprising was that asking for a “like” increased your chances by 216 percent over asking people to “comment.”

Here are the results for average interaction rates for the three types of updates:

  • “Like” calls to action received 0.38 percent interaction
  • “Comment” calls to action received 0.14 percent interaction
  • No calls to action received 0.11 percent interaction

So just by using a “better” word in the call to action more doubles interaction rates.

It’s not rocket science, but it’s good to know what works and what doesn’t. I am going to ask people more often to “like” me, are you?

Jeff Bullas is a digital media coach, mentor, consultant and speaker. He blogs at JeffBullas.com, where a version of this article originally ran.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Old Spice creates online event

The Old Spice commercials from last year were some of the most viralled on the internet. Now the marketing think tank from Old Spice are attempting to keep the hype going. They have recruited 80's pop culture icon Fabio to "try out" for the role of the new Old Spice guy. But the current one is not going without a fight.

Old Spice has used traditional online and offline media to drive the hype towards heavy hits on their website to watch the duel play out. It's a very creative way to generate large traffic, impressions and positive brand experience.

www.oldspice.com

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Whole Earth Heirs- Paul Ford from the NYTimes on Social Media

"The shortcomings of social media would not bother me awfully if I did not suspect that Facebook friendship and Twitter chatter are displacing real rapport and real conversation, just as Gutenberg's device displaced remembering."

This was a statement by outgoing NY Times executive editor Bill Keller. This quote was included in a recent Times article by Paul Ford.

If you're struggling with the whole social media transition, give this article a read.

Here is a small passage

"And how do the Whole Earth heirs of Silicon Valley stand today compared to their financially bereft Epiphonatorian counterparts? Apple couldn't get much bigger without selling oil, while the media industry has been reduced to dime-size buttons that show up on iPhone screens. Google regularly announces initiatives to "save" the newspaper and book industries — like a modern-day hunter who proclaims himself a conservationist. And Facebook, having already swallowed up enormous chunks of discretionary media consumption time, has its old-school media counterparts chasing after "Likes" as if they were cocaine being dispensed in a lab rat's cage."
Paul Ford from the Times

Another article that spins off this and the California Ideology is here The Technium

Both are good reads.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Creative Excellence Fridays - commercials with a potty mouth

It's become a trend lately to create commercials with perceived cursing. The cursing is muted by noises or interruptions. It can be a very effective technique if done cleverly. Societal standards have become much more accepting of "blue-ish" commercials.

Norton 360 released a series of commercials recently that are outstanding.
And yes, how many times have you wondered, "are you a fackwagger?".





Budweiser has done a lot of brilliant commercials over the years, but this one makes me smile no matter how many times I watch it.




I'm normally not a big fan of 15 second television commercials unless they are re-affirming messaging established in a 30. But hats off to the editing team that put this one together.




Finally, the Orbit Institute with a british feel to inspire the release of their stylish new packaging. What..the.. Frank?



These spots definitely put the spotlight on the editors this week. We hope you enjoyed them.
As always, keep those comments and suggestions coming and thanks for reading.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Kardashian clone gets Old Navy in hot water

We've heard a lot (perhaps too much) about the Kardashians and their various exploits on and off the television.
Now it turns out Kim Kardashian is suing Old Navy for as much as $20 million because the star of its latest ad campaign supposedly bears too much of a likeness to her.

See for yourself. It sets a nasty legal precedent. If Kardashian wore unique fashion items that would directly be attributed to her own personal sense of style, she might have a case. But I'm not sure one person can take legal credit for the visual similarities of an entire population.


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Facebook vs Google round 2

We have been following the new social kid on the block daily to see what they're pulling out of their magic bag of tricks to combat Facebook.

Just to bring you up to speed, in the early stages Google released a series beta testing sites to select beta testers , to test out the newest platform in Google’s social media arsenal. So far, all the reviews have been very favourable and this is obviously a well thought out execution.

Facebook, not to take this threat lying down has countered with two new features, video chat and group chat through a recent relationship with Skype. We thought the recent Microsoft acquisition of Skype might dampen that alliance, but it appears Microsoft has found more than one way to make money.

Facebook tech is burning the midnight oil to find ways to meet the challenge. We'll keep an eye on it for you. For more on this, check out this link. The Economic Times

Monday, July 18, 2011

Big brother is not only watching, but listening while you watch TV

You had to know it was coming. A smartphone app is out that listens to the shows you watch, and suggests products, services, sites you may want to patronize as a result of your interest in a particular show.

The app serves up links, coupons or music downloads corresponding to what it hears on the tv through smartphone microphones.

In recent months, logos for music-identifying service Shazam have popped up in Procter & Gamble, Honda or American Express commercials. Progressive Insurance, Starbucks and Paramount have also linked to mobile content through Shazam tags in their commercials or web videos. The ads prompt viewers to launch Shazam with the company's logo or a call-out, and if they do, the app brings up links their websites, discounts or other goodies.

You can't blame advertisers. With PVR's and people skimming past their commercials, they need to find another way to create awareness and link people with appropriate products and services.


Friday, July 15, 2011

Creative Excellence Fridays - International smiles

It's summer, and the livin' is easy. And so is the Creative Excellence Friday blog this week. I found a series of international commercials, all back to back; so all you have to do is pour yourself a cold beverage, press play, and enjoy.




Now wasn't that easy? The Japanese Panda commercial is bizarre.
It goes to show you, a particular type of humour in Japan, or Britain may not read as easily in Arkansas. Thankfully those peculiarities keep all of us ad practitioners working. You can't template a universality of humour. At least not yet, and hopefully our geographic uniqueness will be appreciated for generations to come.

Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Googles +1

Google has launched their +1 campaign to help people optimize their results. It is also the root of their launch to become a new social media player.

Because Google is still the king of the search hill, we don't really have a choice. When they dangle the chance at besting your competitors in the rankings, you jump at it.

Some interesting thoughts from a google blogger here on whether this will actually become a success. GoogleBlog


Here's their explanation video.

The power of Hashtags

A great article from SearchEnglineLand

Hashtags are the world’s chat room. Where else can you hop on the phone or computer and have an instant, passionate conversation about something that shares a hashtag? When it comes to primetime television, current events, or sports events like the Olympics or the Super Bowl, hashtags allow anyone with a Twitter account to take part in a universal conversation about a group topic.

Photo Courtesy of PRSarahEvans.com

Besides TV shows, news, or sports stories, harnessing the power of hashtags can lead to serious exposure and gains for a business or individual.

For example, Sarah Evans of PR Sarah Evans hosts #journchat, a weekly twitter chat using that hashtag for journalists, PR professionals, and bloggers to discuss topics and questions related to the industry.

This weekly “tweet-up” has helped Sarah Evans become a recognized and respected social media and public relations consultant, named as one of Forbes’ 14 Power Women to Follow on Twitter.

Utilizing Evans’ ability to provide a place for journalists, PRs, and bloggers to talk about topics they are passionate about can help businesses create a community for enlightening conversation in the company’s industry.

Larger companies can host tweet-ups with a custom hashtags to answer customer questions. Hashtags not only allow for an easy way for others and those involved to keep track of the conversation, but they also allow more exposure for the hashtag itself—by being included in a user’s tweet, his or her followers will see the hashtag and this may cause them to start participating in the conversation.

Graphic Courtesy of http://www.recruitingreach.com

If the hashtag includes the company’s name, this provides name exposure and recognition.

Additionally, if a user RTs a company’s tweet that includes the hashtag as well, the company is not only getting an @ mention, but their hashtag remains visible.

Clearly, making weekly hashtag tweet-ups part of a company’s overall Twitter strategy can help build community and increase social media brand exposure.

Another way to utilize hashtags is in social media campaigns is when running a promotion or contest. Give Twitter users an entry for every tweet they send that includes the hashtag.

Running a non-profit campaign is also a successful way to raise money for causes the company believes in while also gaining @ mentions:

Whether it is hosting a tweet-up, answering customer questions, running a giveaway, or raising money for a good cause, utilizing hashtags can help businesses keep track of conversations, raise brand awareness, and garner ideas from other Twitter members for new products or ideas.

Photos Courtesy of: PRSarahEvans.com, Recruiting Reach and @Wonderwall7 (me on Twitter!)

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.

Related Topics: Featured | Let's Get Social


About The Author: Kelsey Jones is a social media and search engine marketing manager for VinSolutions in Overland Park, KS, where she helps automotive dealership clients with SMM strategy, SEO and PPC campaign maintenance. She also runs a social media and internet marketing blog, The Social Robot. Follow her on Twitter @wonderwall7. See more articles by Kelsey Jones


Monday, July 11, 2011

Facebook announces video calling

The battle between the two internet behemoth's continues. Facebook announced video calling as a result of their strategic relationship with Skype. Meanwhile Google's Social media product is one step ahead with multi video chatting, the ability to chat with groups as opposed to one on one.

Get more details here Google-Facebook video chat

Friday, July 8, 2011

Creative Excellence Fridays - What makes a top trending viral

When we talk about viral video, some seem to think it's this whole new parallel universe of thought. In reality, video's on the net are no different than the 60 year old television commercial. The objective is the same. Touch someone. Make them want. Make them laugh. Make them cry. Make them feel...something.

The one obvious advantage the net has over television? The canvas doesn't have clearly defined edges. You can produce to any length you like, so long as you don't stretch it beyond the attention span of the average viewer. Bare in mind the attention span of a 16 year old gamer verses a 72 year old retiree is quite different.


Advantage #2 for the viral video?
Segmenting. You can be a little raunchier, within the limitations of Youtubes guidelines.




And edgy is kind of the point isn't it? You want to put something out there that doesn't denigrate the brand, but generates the buzz and the all important "wow..how cool is that", or "I can't believe they just did that." Because it's followed immediately by "I gotta send this around."



The BMW video above was likely inspired by the ground breaking scene from 1968's "Bullit" with Steve McQueen. Proof that everything new, has its' roots somewhere in the past.

Since marketers have no problem using puppies, seniors and babies to move product, let's have one more from the diaper set.



And finally, a longish video (see attention span above) but it's extremely well done. Imagine if the person you are today, could talk to the 16 year old you. What would you say?



As always, thanks for sharing your comments and links. Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Final Cut X getting panned by pros

Apple is generally a very progressive company and is both innovative and trendsetting. However, the new version of Final Cut is abysmal, at least for serious video professionals. It appears they have decided to completely abandon that market and focus on the semi-pro at home.

Here is yet another review trumpeting the anguish of thousands of frustrated Final Cut users.


Final Cut X Review

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Which social sites do people use most for sharing?

Thank you to Amit Agarwal and Digital Inspiration

Which Social Sites Do People Use Most for Sharing Content on the Internet

Ads by Google Toronto Coupons www.Groupon.com/Toronto
1 ridiculously huge coupon a day. It's like doing Toronto at 90% off!

Social Bookmarking - 2007

Social Sharing

This graph show how people were sharing web pages in the year 2007. Google Bookmarks and delicious were the two most favorite destinations for bookmarking online content while a large number of Internet users also preferred saving pages into their local bookmarks or favorites.

Social Bookmarking - 2008

social bookmarking sites

Habits changed in 2008 as social networks replaced social bookmarking sites.

Facebook, Digg, MySpace became the most preferred destinations for sharing content while delicious, Google Bookmarks and other "online bookmarking" services took a backseat.

Social Bookmarking - 2009

Most Popular Sharing Sites

Enter 2009. Facebook is now the most popular site for sharing content followed by a distant Twitter. Surprisingly, more people now prefer to bookmark content on Yahoo! Bookmarks and Windows Live Favorites than Google or Delicious which dominated the scene in 2007.

And here the next 10 places where Internet users are posting content with the purpose of bookmarking or for sharing with their social contacts.

10-social-sites

The sharing statistics for 2009 are courtesy Pat from AddToAny while the numbers for 2008 and 2007 were provided by ShareThis and AddThis respectively. All these companies provide some very awesome social sharing widgets for both blogs and regular sites.

While the report suggests that more people are using Facebook than email to share content on the Internet, I guess that may not be the case because not everyone feels comfortable sharing their email address with a widget so they probably use their own email client to share links of web pages with friends.

share bookmark report





Monday, July 4, 2011

Slow load times cause high bounce rates

Seems pretty obvious, but many do not keep tabs on the bandwidth and load times of their various social media properties.

At Ontrack we host using our own dedicated server, as too most professional shops. A shared server can often serve up blogs and pages effortlessly. But you want to periodically go on to those servers to test, and ensure the hosts have not "changed the specs" but adding too many clients through the same pipe.

Here are some good rules of thumb to keep in mind courtesty of SmugGecko.

Fixing Load Speed on Blogs
Clean up your plugins:

Im sure you have done this before. Test plugins and forgotten to delete/deactivate them. Sad truth is, most plugins and javascript and css files to you pages. It takes time to load these pages and your site can only call so many at once. The more plugins you have the slower your load times. Dont just deactivate, delete anything you dont use.


Check your buttons:

Blog list buttons can be a great way to get some traffic to your site. They do however normally load an image from a third party server. If that server is down or experiencing high load times, then your image button will take a while to load and possibly slow down you site. Sometimes you can be a little cheaky and edit the code from these buttons. Your normal button code looks like this:

Top Blogs - <a title=Blog Directory">

We can break this down to something alot more server friendly and still keep its functionality:

top-blogs

This code will still work in ranking you on the blog toplist site and it loads alot faster.


Check those widgets:

Sadky widgets can be abother cause of slow load times. For the same reason as buttons; images. Some widgets do use images from third party servers. You can either strip out the code in the widget for the image, which unless you know how to code php + javascript can be tricky. Or you can try and identify the offending widget and remove it. Easiest way to identify the widgets causing issues would be to remove all widgets and see if that helps load time. If yes, then you have a problem widget. You can re-add them one by one to eliminate other widgets. This can be slow going though.


Get Some New Plugins:

Sounds little contradictory I know. However, if your site is very heavily dependent on images then these will really slow things down for you and some parallel HTTP loadng could really help you. In simple terms you can make twice as many HTTP connections and double loading images. It is little more complicated than that:

Parallel Loading System – basically caches images on sub domains allowing multiple connections to call the image faster.

This next plugin is amazing for absolutely any blog and even more so for blogs with huge databases. It caches pretty much your whole site. Making for a massive increase in load times. I really can not praise this plugin enough. I have used in pretty much every site I have. I do have to admit that it can be a little rough to get your head round if you are not very savvy with code and playing with .htaccess and php.ini files. Worth the time though.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Google takes another run at Social

It's a daunting task to knock Facebook off their mountain. Facebook has beaten back the giants like Microsoft (Myspace) in the past, and appear to be poised to take on the competition.

But Google doesn't take this lying down. Here, a social video carefully produced to introduce their foray into social.



Read more from the source article Ad age - Google Makes Another Play for the social web

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Over 500,000 Android devices are activated every day

We've talked alot about Android devices in this blog. And for good reason. Android, on the mobile side, is activating 500,000 devices every day.

On the tablet side, it was announced that Blackberry's Playbook will also be able to run Android apps. This will give the Playbook access to more apps than the almighty Ipad.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Ad music shouldn't try and be all things to all people

They say clothes make the man/woman. In our business, music makes the brand. And let's be honest, if someone is driving along in the car and hears music that "feels in sync" with who the consumer is, they'll turn up the radio and lock into the brand. Seems so simple really.

But, as anyone who works with music overlay will tell you, it's not that simple. Music is such a tremendously personal thing. You can't be all things to all people. Music is what makes people feel unique. If a song is perceived as "selling out" or "corporate rock" certain personality subsets tune out.
If the arrangement is too strident it alienates certain demographics or psychographics.

The most successful campaigns decide specifically who they're going after, and choose music appropriately.

Being all things to all people when it comes to music choices for advertising, is the equivalent of taking a beautiful wine and adding water to stretch it out. You end up taking a mind blowing experience and watering it down to a limping shadow of what the campaign could have been.

Top brand professionals subset their approaches and create specific, targeted advertising to reach one target at a time.

Geico does this very successfully choosing MTV style ads to hit the young motorcycle crowd.

Here's an article that expands on the topic.

ScienceDigest

Friday, June 24, 2011

Creative Excellence Fridays - Volkswagen-trendsetting for 60 years

You can count on one hand, and the number of ads that became game changers; ads that rewrote how it's done. Volkswagen's legendary ad campaign started by DDBO is still influencing ad minds some sixty years later.

Who were Doyle Dane and Bernbach?
William Bernbach formed the shop along with colleagues, Ned Doyle and Maxwell Dane in 1949. It wasn't long after that they started creating the revolutionary ad campaigns of the 1950s and 1960s.


DDBO's radical approach was featured in the well researched Madmen.



Bernbach was one of the first to look past the surface needs of consumers and was determined to get into their heads. His strategy was to keep customers by creating and nurturing them as brand ambassadors. It's a strategy that has worked well for legions of advertisers ever since. Harley Davidson, Lulu Lemon and countless others have made the "exclusivity of the club" their number one drawing card.

Bernbach also pioneered a new visual approach, along with his chief creative design head Helmut Krone. They created a simplicity in their print that was so different from the norm, it couldn't help but stand out.



DDBO repeatedly used photographs as opposed to the expensive, highly touched up illustrations used traditionally by competing agencies, giving birth to consistent, unique, print ads that set the agency and brand apart from the rest.

Because Volkswagen’s advertising budget in 1960 was only $800,000. DDB’s minimalist, black-and-white technique, coupled with irreverence and humour, served Volkswagen's purposes. And each Volkswagen ad was designed to be a stand alone as a viable advertisement, creating further savings.

The 1959 Think Small Volkswagen series of advertisements were voted the No. 1 campaign of all time in Advertising Age The Century of Advertising.

Here's a 1960's commercial that set the pace.



In the spirit of trendsetting creativity, Volkswagen's current brand is continuing to be innovative with the latest campaign. A commercial about getting you to help them make a commercial.
It's social media supreme.



Thanks to Natalie Secretan from Fitlode.com for this week's inspiration.


Enjoyed the topic? Read more here Volkswagen-Writing for designers"Writing for designers

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Funny article for creative types

I never want to be looked upon as biting the hand that feeds me. And, honestly, I've been blessed with the clients I have had the last twenty years.
Every once in a blue moon however, if you work in the creative advertising and design arena, you come across an "interesting" client.

I wanted to share a hilarious dialogue with a designer and a client. I'm sure it's mostly fiction and exaggerated, but there are seeds of truth in everything. I found myself laughing out loud.

Here is the article by David Thorne.



"I am sick to death of dealing with you designers. Being able to draw and dressing like women doesn't make you special."

There are many things to be said for working in the design industry but as they are mostly negative, especially those regarding clients, I would rather write about robots.
If I was a robot, programmed to serve people all day, I would throw myself off a cliff. Working in the design industry is a lot like being a robot. A robot that curses its positronic brain for not allowing it to ignore the first law and attach spinning blades to its arms and take out the next human that states "that's nice but can we try it in green" or "can you make the text bigger?" Actually, scratch that, working in the design industry is more like being a whore. A dirty whore who has programmed their mind to find a happy place rather than be outraged by client requests.There are many things to be said for working in the design industry but mostly that it is like being a dirty robot whore.

From: Robert Schaefer
Date: Monday 8 November 2010 9.11am
To: David Thorne
Subject: Artwork

Hello David, Can you send me the artwork for our business cards you did last year. Finsbury Press has asked for the original files. I need the artwork before Wednesday so either this afternoon or tomorrow is fine.Thanks Rob
From: David Thorne
Date: Monday 8 November 2010 10.24am
To: Robert Schaefer
Subject: Re: Artwork

Hello Bob,
I have received your email but no longer work for that agency. Due to client account management that could be likened to that German dance where men in tights slap each other, the agency went from a thriving business with over forty clients to basically trading while insolvent. As there were very few clients, I spent most of the day playing a game called 'Staring at the wall wondering what happy people are doing' and answering calls by either ending each sentence with 'over' like talking on a walkie talkie then making that "kchsssch" noise or pretending to be a confused Cantonese woman. Once, I locked my office door and spent the day nude.In a last ditch effort to retain the few remaining accounts we had, we sent invitations to join us at a charity dinner to provide musical instruments for starving children. The dinner started normally with Thomas, the business owner, talking about his hair and a staff member leaving in tears after being accused of stealing, but went downhill from there. By his fifth scotch, the entire table, including the Managing Director of McDonald's, sat in embarrassed silence as Thomas cried while telling a story about how, when he was twelve, his dog Trevor died of testicular cancer. By scotch ten, Thomas had vomited onto the leg of the CEO of Bridgestone and perforated the marketing manager of Kellogg's arm with a fork while flamboyantly telling a story about his experience in a Phuket brothel.I penned my resignation the next day. While some may see this as the proverbial rat deserting a sinking ship, I prefer to think of it as quietly stepping out of a bathtub you have been sharing with four retarded children while they are busy arguing over who lost the soap.I would suggest contacting the agency and requesting your business card artwork before the owner swaps the art department computers for magic beans. Alternatively, if you would like me to recreate and send the files to you, I would be happy to help. I estimate this would take three hours at seventy five dollars per hour. Regards, David.
From: Robert Schaefer
Date: Monday 8 November 2010 12.17pm
To: David Thorne
Subject: Re: Re: Artwork

It's Rob not Bob and I already emailed them and they said they don't have the files and to contact you. I'm not interested in what you do at charity events and I'm not paying you $225 for artwork when I already paid you for the artwork last year. From: David Thorne
Date: Monday 8 November 2010 3.02pm
To: Robert Schaefer
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Artwork

Dear Bobajob,
You paid the agency to provide artwork and I no longer work for that agency. While generally a frontline supporter of questioning logic, this support wavers drastically in the face of providing free work.A few years back, I bought my first four-wheel drive vehicle from a dealership. The salesman who did the paperwork was named Roger. While on a camping trip several months later with my nine year old offspring, I parked the vehicle on a dirt incline near a river and set up the tent. The next morning, we awoke to find it had rained - turning the dirt incline into a slippery mud incline - and the vehicle missing with four tyre-wide grooves leading to the edge of the river. Realising my mobile phone had been on the rear seat of the vehicle along with our box of food, we sought out an ATM by riding a Coleman® inflatable air mattress down the river for two days to the nearest town. I will admit that during the voyage the thought of eating my offspring crossed my mind on more than one occasion but this was less due to hunger than his constant complaining of "Why do I have to hold on to the back while you ride," "Are we there yet?" and "I can't feel my legs." Making it home and reporting the vehicle as 'stolen', I went shopping for a new one the following week. I did not to turn up at Roger's front door requesting a replacement vehicle for the one I lost. While it is entirely possible Roger may have nodded, sympathised and explained patiently the structure of modern commerce, it is more likely he would have just called me a dickhead. Also, while three hours at $75.00 does equate to $225.00, the total cost to recreate and sent your business card artwork would be $450.00 due to the Jumping Frog fee. Regards, David.
From: Robert Schaefer
Date: Monday 8 November 2010 3.18pm
To: David Thorne
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Artwork

You are seriously pissing me off now. I remember you from the meeting you were that idiot wearing a green Atari tshirt. Im NOT paying for work I have already paid for and 3 hours at $75.00 per hour is $225.00 NOT $450.00 - that is double. where the did you get double from and what the fuck is a jumping frog fee?
From: David Thorne
Date: Monday 8 November 2010 4.46pm
To: Robert Schaefer
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Artwork

Dear Bobsledder,
I remember you from the meeting too (specifically your haggling over pricing and questioning why animated gifs can't be used on your business card) but no, sadly the Atari clad individual would have been the owner. Nearing forty, he felt retro t-shirts and trucker caps like the cool kids wear, disguised the fact. Once one has seen his size 40 lower-half squeezed into size 32 skinny jeans like two parallel overflowing cake icing funnels, it can never be unseen. I would have been the other idiot wearing a tie and feigning interest in your business card requirements by appearing to take notes but actually creating an itemised list of things I would rather be doing, starting with #1. Being shot in the neck with an arrow.Sometimes when I am in meetings, I imagine I am a robot programmed not to realise I am a robot and if the code word 'quantifiable' is mentioned, I will explode. I never do though. Other times I imagine I am a small Indian girl collecting water for my village in brightly painted clay pots.
The Jumping Frog charge relates to an event early on in my career when I made the mistake of offering a client a fixed price for a two hundred page website. Once the design was signed off and the build completed over a three month period, the client requested that each page include a frog jumping around the screen because his wife liked frogs. Purchasing a frog from the local pet store and filming it by holding a camera above and a cigarette lighter behind to persuade it to jump, I spent the next two weeks incorporating it into every page of the website. A few days later, the client described the addition as "very annoying" and requested it be removed and replaced with a 3D animated frog jumping onto the screen, holding a thumb up, and speaking the words "jump on down and grab a bargain." After providing a quote for this, I was informed that the amendments would be made "under the original fixed price or no payment would be made at all." The next day, their home page was replaced with a single image of a frog giving the finger and a voice bubble stating "I jump for cash, bitch."After fifteen years in the design industry and realising the only difference between sitting in front of a computer facilitating client's requests and kneeling on the urine soaked floor of a truck stop bathroom giving five dollar blowjobs to men named Chuck is the amount of urine on the floor, the Jumping Frog fee has evolved from insurance against post-project client suggestion to client incentive to have somebody else do it. Regards, David.
From: Robert Schaefer
Date: Monday 8 November 2010 5.09pm
To: David Thorne
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Artwork

You have until 10am tomorrow morning to send me the business card artwork or you will hear from my lawyer. I am sick to death of dealing with you designers. Being able to draw and dressing like women doesn't make you special. You've got no idea who you are dealing with.
From: David Thorne
Date: Monday 8 November 2010 5.37pm
To: Robert Schaefer
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Artwork

Dear Bobupanddown,
That may be so but the label "some dick who wants free shit" does not require CSI profiling and while I am no lawyer, I question whether testimony comprising "I paid an agency to provide me files, I lost the files, I now demand some guy who used to work there give me new files" would have much legal standing but best of luck with that.I also question your dissatisfaction with the price I have quoted as I believe the original charge for your work by the agency was around eighteen hundred dollars. While the actual process would have consisted of ten minutes on iStock.com for the background, two minutes pretending to consider a typeface other than Helvetica and ten minutes putting it together, this is standard design industry practice and listed under Direction, Design and Build on the invoice. I do understand your objection to the established system of exchange of money for services though and personally envision a utopian future where it is replaced with interpretive dance. We agree on a particular style that seeks to translate particular feelings and emotions into movement and dramatic expression in exchange for groceries or business card artwork. And we all own jetpacks.
In a moment of stupidity, I once agreed to design and built a website in exchange for yoga lessons. Contrary to what they would have you believe, you cannot actually embrace the sun as this would result in severe burns and your arms would need to be over one hundred and fifty million miles long. My favourite yoga move is the wriggly snake.Unfortunately, until I can pay my rent with mantras and expressing emotional intonations through grand eloquent movements and wide swooshes of the arms before spinning and dropping to the floor while wearing spandex, I will need cash. Regards, David.
From: Robert Schaefer
Date: Monday 8 November 2010 5.44pm
To: David Thorne
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Artwork

Fine. Send me the completed business card artwork tonight with an invoice. From: David Thorne
Date: Monday 8 November 2010 5.49pm
To: Robert Schaefer
Subject: File attached.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Online videos that go viral

I featured the Jennifer Aniston "sex tape" in a previous blog. It's obviously not. She took part in a very clever ad campaign for a water company. It was all very tongue in cheek and a lot of fun.

But was it successful? Well as of this morning it had 9.5 million hits. And it's received a ton of press. As Charlie Sheen would say. Winning.



But how does one guarantee a successful viral? Cats who can lift the toilet seat, or roller skating grandmas definitely give you an edge. But there are no guarantees.

Brian Quinton has some interesting observations in Entrepreneur Magazine.

Entrepreur Article - How to create Online Videos that Can Lead to More Sales."

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Microsoft's Kinect technology

Microsoft appears to be constantly playing catch up these days. But in this arena they appear to be leading the charge.

Microsoft is using their Kinect technology to try and make ads more engaging.
The motion sensor technology will attempt to appeal to a whole different audience.

And here is the article from today's AdAge.


Interactive-TV advertising has long been a dream deferred, but Microsoft hopes it's figured out how to help make ads more engaging to consumers.

In a demo at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, Microsoft offered a look at five TV spots with which viewers can interact using its popular Xbox Kinect technology. Like the Nintendo Wii, Kinect allows users to control the video-game console through voice and gestures rather than a controller. It was rolled out late last year in a bid to soften the Xbox image as a haven for hardcore gamers and bring in more fare that's suitable for families.

Now it appears the technology may also be a boost to Microsoft's ad-sales efforts when the ads, dubbed NuAds (for "natural user"), are available in spring 2012. In Microsoft's view, interactive-TV ads have failed to take off because they put a big burden on marketers, forcing them to create unique spots that typically aren't reusable.

...more

Monday, June 20, 2011

Rim stock.. do you believe

Here's what I don't understand. How can a company that invented the smart phone, not have enough innovation to keep up.

We may be counting RIM out too early, however my financial guy advised I sell on Friday. If RIM's playbook comes out with an exciting version 2, and Microsoft does actually swoop in to try and acquire the whole company, I may regret it. But for now, it's a wait and see.

Go Canada. Go Rim. Some fresh management/direction blood at the top is perhaps due. Hopefully not too little too late.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Creative Excellence Fridays - the voice of Peter Coyote

Creative Excellence Friday's today looks at a gifted actor who is probably better known for his narration skills.

Peter Coyote's voice stars in the latest series of Ipad II commercials. His voice is distinctive and truly in a class of its' own when it comes to imaging a brand.

His conviction of tone comes naturally, having been politically active for the democratic party as far back as Adelaide Stevenson.

Beginning in the early '80s, Peter began doing voice-overs, which led to a very successful side venture, now numbering over 120 films. His mellow voice, often compared to Henry Fonda's, won him an Emmy in 1992 for his narration of the "The Meiji Revolution" episode, part of the PBS American Experience ten-part series called "The Pacific Century." He continues to lend his rich voice to narrations for commercials and documentaries and often donates his voice to films that support issues close to his heart.



Peter Coyote has a reputation as a "zero defect guy." Coyote was quoted as saying, "I can do an hour-long documentary voice-over in an hour and 15 minutes.

Here he narrates a documentary on San Francisco. "The Paris of the Pacific"



Perhaps the conviction of his read comes from the conviction of his politics.

Peter makes his home in Marin County in Northern California since the early '70s. An avid outdoorsman, he is also a passionate songwriter, guitarist and amateur photographer. He has two grown children and has been married to Stefanie Pleet since 2000.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Social network increasing faster than expected

It's probably no surprise that social networking sites are becoming popular faster than pundits expected.

Mashable released an interesting article detailing some of the findings.

ARTICLE

Social networking use has doubled since 2007, and it’s all thanks to Facebook, Twitter and an array of other social companies reaching record traffic highs.

comScore’s latest numbers are out, and they paint a familiar story: social networking is on the rise. It’s the rate of growth that’s surprising, though.

According to the web analytics firm, the average online user in the U.S. now spends nearly 16% of his or her time on social networking sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Tumblr or Twitter. That’s up from just 8% in July 2007. In the last year alone, social networking use has increased by approximately 25%.

The biggest reason for the increase in social networking is Facebook and its 700+ million users. In August 2005, Facebook was tiny compared to MySpace, its primary competitor. Facebook attracted less than 10 million monthly U.S. visitors, compared to MySpace’s 20+ million.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Netflix was only the beginning

The demise of Blockbuster was not a big surprise to anyone. Netflix was the first to make the huge splash offering digital download streaming, but they are certainly not the last.
Our standard cable and satellite companies all saw the trend and created substantial direct view divisions to try and stem the tide. However, 8.00 a month is a price point that has pulled a lot of marginal tv watchers over. I say, marginal, because Netflix offers older offerings. If you're about the latest and the greatest, you'll likely find Itunes or another digital delivery system more to your liking. The market will settle with new players finding niche entertainment offerings. The net net of this whole discussion is that by 2015, a much higher percentage of people will be "digitized" and not tied to the big clunky family monster screen. It's happening faster than many had predicted. I do believe however, family time will still have everyone gathering around a big screen to watch a collective movie together. But the spare tv in the bedroom or den has been replaced with a tablet in the backyard, the basement or anywhere someone cares to be within the wi-fi network.

Here's the article referenced Hollywood Reporter

Monday, June 13, 2011

E Harmony bio video - 5 million hits - 3 minutes we'll never get back

Over 5 million people have spent over 3 minutes watching, what was perceived to be, a woman self destructing as she recorded her eharmony bio and uploaded to Youtube.

No one can love cats.. that much. And no sane, non institutionalized person would actually upload that video after recording.

Thus, it's a hoax. According to Mashable, the video, starring “Debbie,” appears to have been made by a YouTuber named Cara, whose channel features two other spoofy videos. The cat one, however, has been racking up the views and popping up on viral blogs over the last few days.



We really need to get other hobbies. At least I know I do.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Creative Excellence Fridays - the vacuum edition

A friend passed this ad on to me earlier this week, and I was so impressed by the production values I felt it was worthy of a Friday go round.

The positives.
  1. Creativity
  2. Stellar production values
  3. Great casting
  4. Theme built around the product sell points
The negatives
  1. Only one. The ad takes a little too long to get there.
Here it is. Dirt Devil.



As our friends on the shopping channel like to say, that was a show stopper.

A chief competitor to Dirt Devil is Dyson.
This brings us to the age old question.
Entertainment value verses technology triumph.

The Dyson commercial is not particularly entertaining. But it wows you with their "technological superiority".



Which vacuum commercial will sell more vacuums? If you're a hard facts personality, you may go for the technology Dyson approach. If you have more of a playful disposition, the Dirt Devil may win your heart.
But in a battle of pure impressions, here's something worth considering.
In a social media viral world of simply getting in your grill, the Dirt Devil commercial got 700,000 impressions. The Dyson commercial, 1300. That's 70-1 views/impressions in favour of Dirt Devil.

You be the judge.

That's it for this week.
As always, comments and suggestions for this feature are welcome and encouraged.
Have a great weekend.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Video gives your social media a huge boost

Video gives your social media campaigns the power boost they need.

There's a huge demand for video. U.S. audiences viewed nearly 28 billion online videos in November 2009 alone. Statistics don't lie. Over 37 million people watched the VW Darth Vader Superbowl ad on YouTube.

Ensure your video has quality production values. Poorly executed video is the same as a poorly executed website, brochure or business card. First impressions are everything. And because of the power of video to boost your search rankings, that may very well be the first impression thousands of potential customers see.
Here are some quick tips on ensuring quality.

1.Professional camera. Shoot on something that doesn't make your head look like it's a fishbowl.

2.Professional background. The laundry hamper in the background is not going to instil feelings of reassurance with your video blog following.

3.Dress for success. No I'm not saying wear a suit. But dress as you would if you were going to a business mixer. A ball cap and unkempt hair is not a good look if you want people to hire your business.

4.Graphics. Add "on brand" graphics to your video. It reinforces the message and makes your over all video look much more professional.

5.Length. Don't viewers are busy people. Get to the point.

For more information and tips, drop by our social video site, www.socialvideowizards.com

Monday, June 6, 2011

Xmen and Farmers Insurance

As traditional advertisers try to reach past the clutter of PVR's and online viewing, cinema cross promotion has become a much bigger importance in many national marketing strategies. Farmers Insurance is deemed to be "your parents insurance company" simply by the mention of the word farmers. They have taken an aggressive stance with the cross promotion with the sure to be blockbuster Xmen sequel. If you haven't seen the commercial, it's quite well done and features Canadian comic actress Jennifer Baxter. (I like your hair!)

Friday, June 3, 2011

Creative Excellence Fridays - The Courier Edition

Canada Post is on strike. Again. And in honour of our postal carriers, who have a bit of time on their hands this week, we offering Creative Excellence for couriers and carriers.

Our first offering is from the USPostal Service. The message is sweet, the gag a bit weak, but it get's the main selling point across.



Next up, another instant classic from FedEx. This spot is brilliant because the entire commercial is built around emphasis, emphasis, emphasis of a little known pocket of FedEx business; Fedex is great for non-urgent business too!

Note how the sell message is even tatooed on the president's back.



UPS needed to stress how their complex network infrastructure gets your package there with a minimum of complications. They called it "logistics". A phone call, a purchase of the rights to use the melody "That's Amore", some new lyrics, fancy graphics and voila.



That's it for this week. As always, comments and suggestions are always encouraged.
Have a great weekend.


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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Is Google a training ground for Facebook employees?

Great article from Ad Age Digital today making reference to the brain drain from Google to Facebook.

Link for the article above.

The Burson-Marsteler debacle -- Facebook's disastrous attempt at an anti-Google smear campaign -- is an example of how heated things have become between the search giant and the social network. Indeed, this is Silicon Valley's new big rivalry, and we see it playing out on many fronts.

What makes this contest especially interesting -- and fit for a "Knots Landing" script -- is that almost all the key executives running Facebook used to work at Google. And now they want to crush Google. A quick search on LinkedIn (admittedly, not 100% accurate) shows that 358 current Facebook employees used to work at Google. (Facebook's new campus fits 3,600 people.)

Why is talent leaving Google for Facebook? There is the perception that Google has peaked and is headed for decline. Really, what more can it do with search? And -- barring a miracle -- it pretty much failed at social. Google's 26,000-person workforce creates the kind of bureaucratic slog that deprives creative minds of oxygen, forcing entrepreneurial execs to run for a breath of fresh air.

In response, Google has been forking over enormous pay packages to get key folks to stay. But the top ex-Googlers at Facebook have already made mountains of cash at the search engine; now they're positioned for another windfall with Facebook's mega IPO on the horizon.

Silicon Valley has a long history of tectonic rivalries -- Google vs. Microsoft, Intel vs. Apple. Big difference? The Googlers who run Facebook know the enemy all too well. Know any other key ex-Googlers working at Facebook? Let us know in comments.

Sheryl Sandberg

Position: Chief Operating Officer
Google history: VP-Global Online Sales and Operations, 2001-2008
Facebook start: 2008

When Sheryl Sandberg first got to Facebook, she was described by some as the "grown up" hired to make sure the company turned a profit. Ms. Sandberg, 41, is definitely a grown up when compared to Mark Zuckerberg, 27. She's been an economist at the World Bank, a chief of staff at the U.S. Treasury Department under President Bill Clinton, and instrumental in launching Google.org during her Googleplex time. Mr. Zuckerberg didn't even finish college. The two did attend the same school (Harvard). But besides being an adult with an impressive curriculum vitae, Ms. Sandberg comes to Facebook with Google's secrets in her pocket. After all, she worked there for almost a decade. As COO, Ms. Sandberg makes the decisions that bring in the cash. She often points out that the kind of advertising potential that exists on Facebook is many times larger than search/display performance marketing.


Bret Taylor

Position: Chief Technology Officer
Google history: Product Manger, 2003-2007
Facebook start: 2009

Bret Taylor didn't just work at Google, he co-created and launched Google Maps and started Google's first developer conference, Google I/O. And when he left Google, he didn't just create a startup, he founded FriendFeed. Mr. Zuckerberg wanted Mr. Taylor to work at Facebook so bad that he bought his company (for a reported $50 million) and created the CTO role just for him. Some go so far as to credit Mr. Taylor with inventing the "Like," since back in 2009 FriendFeed had an "I like this" button that Facebook supposedly cloned. Once at the company, Mr. Taylor played a key role in building out the Facebook platform, including the Open Graph. In 2006, Mr. Taylor received the Founders' Award, the highest honor given to a Google employee. Et tu, Bret?


David Fischer

Position: VP-Advertising and Global Operations
Google history: VP-Global Online Sales and Operations, 2002-2010
Facebook start: 2010

Here's where the Facebook/Google connection gets extra fun. Not only did David Fischer work with Ms. Sandberg at Google, they also worked together as policy wonks in Washington. Ms. Sandberg was Mr. Fischer's boss when they worked at the Treasury Department. Some of the best Mad Men started out as journalists, and Mr. Fischer is one of these gifted ones -- he covered the 1996 presidential election as the associate editor of U.S. News and World Report. During his seven years at Google, he helped build Google's online advertising network into the largest in the world. Recently, Mr. Fischer spoke to Ad Age about his ever-changing role at Facebook, saying: "People, really, is the operating system that drives all of our behaviors. It's the organizing principal that drives us. I'm seeing that come to life via Facebook. That's why I came here."


Elliott Schrage

Position: VP-Global Communications, Marketing, and Public Policy
Google history: Global Communications and Public Affairs, 2000-2008
Facebook start: 2010

Elliot Schrage's move from Google to Facebook was so scrutinized that Mr. Schrage's job interview ended up an item on Gawker-owned Valleywag. With Facebook's growing public-policy problems (then as now), the social network needed a communications flack who was more than the usual Silicon Valley player. And here's the Sheryl Sandberg connection again -- she recruited Mr. Schrage to Google from the Council on Foreign Relations. Looks like the same trick worked twice. Mr. Schrage's China experience -- he testified on behalf of Google in front of Congress on the matter -- is coming in handy as Facebook looks to establish a presence there. It's not clear whether Mr. Schrage signed off on the Google smear campaign, but as the person in charge of all communications he had to know something was up. A year ago, Mr. Schrage's Q&A about privacy with The New York Times caused quite an uproar and Pulizter Prize-winning reporter John McQuaid called him "infuriating" and "condescending." Mr. Schrage earned -- count 'em -- three degrees from Harvard and served as an adjunct professor at Columbia University and Columbia Law School. But before locking him up in the Ivory Tower, let's not forget he also worked at The Gap.


Barry Schnitt

Position: Director-Corporate Communications and Public Policy
Google history: Communications and Public Affairs, 2000-2008
Facebook start: 2008

At Facebook, Barry Schnitt has had to deal with breastfeeding, the Holocaust and, of course, privacy -- just a few fires put out by him as head of corporate communications. With Facebook constantly in the public eye, Mr. Schnitt's responsibility "for protecting the company's reputation" keeps him busy -- a search for his name comes up with tons of quotes by him, defending and explaining Facebook's moves. Mr. Schnitt worked at Google at the same time as Mr. Fischer, Ms. Sandberg and Mr. Schrage -- the big bosses at Facebook. And like those big bosses, Mr. Schnitt also has a background in politics -- earlier in his career, he was a legislative aide to California State Senator Byron D. Sher.


Emily White

Position: Director of Local
Google history: Director of Emerging Business, 2001-2010
Facebook start: 2010

Sometimes described in the press as Ms. Sandberg's protege, Emily White was Google employee No. 230 when she joined the company in 2001 with an art degree from Vanderbilt University. AdWords had just been launched -- and it was her job to figure out the advertising and sales strategy. Clearly, Ms. White did an incredible job. She went from AdWords to running ad sales for the Asia, Pacific and Latin America regions, and before her departure was director of emerging business. Her job hop from Google to Facebook undoubtedly had a lot to do with Ms. Sandberg and Mr. Fischer, who were Ms. White's bosses at Google and are again her bosses at Facebook. Ms. White is in charge of local directives at Facebook, and has already launched Deals, Check-ins and Places -- products competing with Foursquare, LivingSocial and Groupon.


Ethan Beard

Position: Director of Platform Marketing
Google history: Social Media Director, New-Business Development Director, 2003-2008
Facebook start: 2008

With Google's fitful efforts in all things social media, it's no surprise Ethan Beard ended up at Facebook -- being social media director at Google must have been understandably frustrating. Facebook gave him wings to fly. Mr. Beard is a major force in Facebook Connect, which spread throughout the internet like wildfire. And even though Mr. Beard started out as a Wharton School of Business graduate structuring derivatives at Bank of America -- which sounds pretty square -- he also worked at MTV. Mr. Beard works closely with the Facebook Developer Network, so he's a well known name on the Developer Blog.


Lexa Pope

Position: Director-Online Sales and Operations, North America
Google history: Online Sales and Operations Director, AdWords North America, 2000-2008
Facebook start: 2010

Lexa Pope worked directly with Ms. White at Google, running North America's online sales operation for almost 3 years. Altogether, she worked at Google for the better part of a decade -- the same time frame that includes many of the recent converts to Facebook. Ms. Pope didn't leave Google directly for Facebook, but consulted at Mixer Labs (co-founded by ex-Googler Elad Gil), which was bought by Twitter for $5.17 million in stock. Mr. Fischer's recommendation of Ms. Pope on LinkedIn states that "she would be an extraordinary addition to any team at a fast-growing company."


Amin Zoufonoun

Position: Director Corporate Development
Google history: Director Corporate Development, 2003-2011
Facebook start: 2011

Amin Zoufonoun was hired to lead Facebook's M&A efforts. He got plenty of experience at gobbling up companies as Google's No. 2 corporate development executive. At Google, Mr. Zoufonoun orchestrated the search giant's first acquisition of a publicly traded company (On2) and many of the most strategic acquisitions and investments, including Metaweb, Feedburner and GrandCentral, aka Google Voice. In 2010, Google went on a shopping spree, buying 40 companies under Mr. Zoufonoun's direction. He's not only a business guy -- he's also a coder and a lawyer, getting both degrees from Santa Clara University.


Grady Burnett

Position: VP-Global Sales and Operations
Google history: Online Sales and Operations, 2005-2009
Facebook start: 2009

At Google, Grady Burnett was the head of sales at AdWords, the pay-per-click, search-term advertising platform that is Google's primary source of revenue. Mr. Burnett was in online sales at DoubleClick in 1998, a decade before Google bought it and the year Mr. Zuckerberg turned 14. For Google, he worked in Ann Arbor, Mich., Google's third-largest office. But to run Facebook's online advertising sales, he moved his entire family to Palo Alto, Calif., telling Crain's Detroit Business that it was a hard decision. As Facebook pushes to increase its profit margin, experienced VPs such as Mr. Burnett are essential to its success -- and potential dominance over Google in online and even search advertising.


Matthew Papakipos

Position: Director of Engineering
Google history: Engineering Director, Chrome, 2007-2010
Facebook start: 2010

Matthew Papakipos, director of Chrome OS and the Chrome hardware project, announced he was leaving Google for Facebook in a tweet -- "Now that Chrome OS & WebGL are in good shape, it's time for something new. I'm going to work @ Facebook! Love the product and team. Woot!" This was a rough talent leak for Google, as Mr. Papakipos didn't only lead the Chrome project -- he started it. He must have wanted to get to Facebook extra bad -- he left Google before Chrome was even launched. Before Google, Mr. Papakipos co-founded PeakStream, a software developer that Google bought in 2007. A few months after Papkipos left, he was followed by a Chrome teammate, David Garcia. Is Facebook building a browser?


Alexandre Hohagen

Position: VP-Latin America
Google history: Latin America Managing Director, 2005-2011
Facebook start: 2011

Google is losing talent even outside the U.S. -- Alexandre Hohagen was Google's top executive in Latin America until earlier this year, when he jumped ship to do the same job for Facebook. As the man who ran Google in Brazil, Mr. Hohagen was busy -- after all, Google's social network Orkut made an enormous impact there. Google moved Orkut operations to Brazil in 2008. But Facebook is catching up faster than you can say "Friend me" and a big part of Mr. Hohagen's new job will be to overtake Orkut.


Erick Tseng

Position: Head of mobile products
Google history: Senior Android Developer 2006-2010
Facebook start: 2010

When Google loses the Chrome guy and the Android guy, it's time to start speculating about a Facebook browser and a Facebook phone. For four years, Erick Tseng worked on the Android and was a part of the work on Nexus One, the Google phone. Mr. Tseng has been around the tech world, going from Microsoft to Yahoo to Google to Facebook. (Granted, he only stayed at Yahoo for three months.) This guy is obviously a geek superstar; he has a degree from MIT and an MBA from Stanford. Mr. Tseng, like a few others, announced his Google departure via Twitter: "About to begin a new, exciting chapter in my life. Heading to #Facebook on Monday to help innovate at the intersect of mobile and social."


Lexi Reese

Position: Director-Local Sales, New York
Google history: Director of DoubleClick, 2007-2011
Facebook start: 2011

Losing the director of sales for the DoubleClick Ad Exchange was another blow to Google. Lexi Reese is an East Coaster, leading the Google online sales team in Boston. For those who need a refresher, Google bought DoubleClick in 2008 for $3.1 billion. You can imagine how much money it made for Google since. Ms. Reese worked with DoubleClick clients such as Microsoft, General Motors, Coca-Cola, Motorola, L'Oreal, Palm, Visa USA and Nike -- and she's bringing those relationships with her to Facebook.


Greg Badros

Position: Engineering Director
Google history: Senior Director Engineering, 2003-2009
Facebook start: 2009

As head of the AdSense engineering team, Mr. Badros helped Google earn billions. His LinkedIn profile states that between 2004-2007 he was "responsible for Ads, focusing on AdSense." He also directed teams that created on Calendar, Reader, Gmail and Orkut. All that experience is now Team Facebook.


Mark Heynen

Position: Mobile Program Manager
Google history: Strategic Partner Development, 2006-2010
Facebook start: 2010

Mark Heynen is another Android developer like Mr. Tseng. He now works with partners on the mobile ecosystem to embed Facebook in mobile devices. That, and Facebook for Android, of course. At Google, he created content partnership deals and ran content programs. Before Google, Mr. Heynen founded a travel and retail analytics startup in London, and ran it as CEO for five years, growing it to over 250 staffers in three countries with clients in 18 countries before selling it. The international experience of his travel company is of critical importance as he works to making sure Facebook can be used on thousands of devices and hundreds of carriers worldwide.


Maz Sharafi

Position: Senior Manager-Local Monetization
Google history: Strategic Partnerships Local Markets, 2008-2009
Facebook start: 2009

Maz Sharafi is responsible for Facebook's go-to-market strategy and execution for local. Prior to Facebook, MR. Sharafi worked in Google's Local Reseller Partnerships team, where he managed half of the North American partner portfolio and team. Another feather in Facebook's local cap.