Friday, June 26, 2009

You can put lipstick on a pig, but it’s still a pig

While reading some articles at I discovered something that we have talked about more than once in our classes at St. Bonaventure. Nothing kills a bad product faster than good advertising. So says Bob Carr, Kathleen Mason, and Charlie Riley. And now introducing – The Comfort Wipe! And the blockbuster hit of the Summer, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.

First let’s discuss the Comfort Wipe product. Here we have a product made for lazy people, people who cannot be inconvenienced to turn around to wipe their own behinds. Upon reading the selling points on the company website, “it's perfect for everyone, especially if you have trouble easily reaching because of physical limitations such as bad shoulder or other mobility li[mit]atations.” So it does serve a purpose. Well, besides making people laugh.

And laugh they must, The Comfort Wipe commercial is now in fourth place among viral videos based on views. The Comfort Wipe has over 700,000 views this past week. But the Comfort Wipe is in “testing stage” and the company will not be moving forward with production. The stock they have now is being sold through the website, but when they are gone, they’re gone. Why? Because the greatest viral campaign, or even the most spectacular marketing plan cannot sell a product that isn’t good.

Now, while reading the article Are You Happy Now, Michael Bay? I find a recurring theme. The just-released blockbuster has less than stellar reviews. The Advertising Age article talks about how producer Michael Bay emailed Paramount and he “bitched how Paramount wasn’t aggressively marketing the soon-to-be blockbuster.” It then goes on to mention that when the movie costs $200 million to make, they can market it any way they want. However, the movie house pulled out it’s big guns last minute and got some spots on tv and made some interesting promotional partners (i.e. Kmart, Burger King). The problem is this, it’s still a pig.

A review of the movie by Alonso Duralde on, 'Transformers sequel less than meets th eye,' discusses how the movie has no plot, is “an assault: It doesn’t look good, it doesn’t make sense and it pummels the viewer into submission when it could just as easily have been entertaining and exhilarating.”

So the movie house went to great effort and expense to put lipstick on a $200 million pig, and half the people I know still don’t know that the movie came out yesterday. And those that do, don’t care because it looks “boaring”. Hehehehe. I had to.

Case in point: There is no reason to spend great amounts of money on advertising if you haven’t made a quality product. Spend your money in development instead.

Edelman's Mom-Blog Maven: We Don't Do Paid-For Posts

Edelman's Mom-Blog Maven: We Don't Do Paid-For Posts

Friday, June 19, 2009


I don’t own an iPhone, nor do I want to.  But I do want to have all the information I can at my fingertips.  That way I wouldn’t have to use my laptop…it’s so bulky and wireless is not free everywhere.  Honestly though, the new iPhone commercials touting “there’s an app for that!” are working.  Where else can you get your tweets, facebook messages, pop virtual bubbles, contact your insurance agent after an accident, and even keep track of your pregnancy?  My goodness, what has this world come to?

It is all very exciting, this paradigm shift.  I remember that less than ten years ago I swore that I would never get a cell phone.  I don’t think I really need one.  I’m not that important.  And who really is?  But now I couldn’t live without it. 

It’s not that I’m important by any means, (well, except to my employer who pays for my cell phone service) but more that I want to always be connected.  In a moment’s notice I can text friends and make plans or call my sister when I can’t find her at the mall.  And we all use our phones for these menial connections.

It has now been taken to a whole other level.  Iphone apps and other phone applications are growing rapidly.  Today I found an article Like a good neighbor, iPhone is there documenting the release of the State Farm Insurance company’s iphone app.  With the free app, which follows its competitor Nationwide Insurance,  customers can make claims, find repair facilities, and contact insurance agents.  I found another article What Wine Goes with iPhone?  There’s an App for That, which highlights the release of Hello Vino, an app that helps the user find the perfect wine for any situation. 

The article that started my quest for app knowledge, IBM Serves up an App for Wimbledon.  This app is very useful for those attending Wimbledon, but is only available for T-Mobile G1 phones.  Not iPhone friendly.  This app is supposed to make your experience at Wimbledon “more friendly”.  You can point your camera phone at a court and the scores will pop up on your screen, you can point your camera phone at one fo the eateries on site and the menu will pop up, and even use the phone as a compass to get around at the event. 

While searching for strange apps for this blog post, I was surprised to even find the article Trying to get pregnant?  There's an app for that!.  It basically served as a list of useful apps for those who wish to become, or are new, mothers.  These include fertility calendars, ones that monitor your pregnancy through the 9 months and give you information on the gestational progress of your fetus, one that helps you decide on your baby’s name, and even a kick counter.  Now I know there’s an app for everything.

What does all this mean?  Marketing has progressed to another level.  Companies are sponsoring apps and becoming a part of our everyday lives.  It’s very interesting to watch this technological revolution from the outside, since my cell phone is pretty sad in comparison.  Texting is its most revolutionizing feature.   But it really makes me think about how the world has changed and how we can now get the information we need at the touch of a button, no matter where we are.  And if you don’t know where you are…well, the new iPhone 3GS has an app for that.


Thursday, June 18, 2009

JetBlue Taps Plane Full of YouTubers to Promote New LAX Route

Social Media Marketing: The Interview

As part of my Internet Marketing, Public Relations, and Advertising class at St. Bonaventure University I am to interview five different marketing professionals who use Social Networking as a marketing tool.

LinkedIn discussion with Karla Tillman Pollack, Principal of Association Business Solutions

Questions asked of the group:

Twitter as a marketing tool

I'm looking for someone to interview for my grad class on the benefits of using twitter as a marketing tool. Will you share your thoughts? 


How long have you been using twitter as a marketing tool for your company? 

How often do you post tweets? 

Do you make your tweets personal or strictly business-oriented? 

What do you feel are the benefits of this marketing tool? 

Do you find that twitter takes away from more important tasks because you have to be available to your followers at a moment’s notice? 

Do you consider social media to be of high importance in your company’s marketing plan? 

Have you found that your company has increased their brand awareness and acceptance through utilizing twitter?

Her reply:

We've added Twitter to our communications/pr tool box for the past year. 

I post about 7 times / week. 

Primarily business but sometimes I'll post a photo from an event I'm attending or something with a more personal tone to it. 

We are an Association Management company providing marketing & writing services to non-profits primarily. We use to market our company as well as promote client events / create greater awareness of their organizations. 

I block out an hour / day to work on social media. The dialogue generally not time critical for our audience. 

We consider it to be an increasingly important part of our communication & PR mix. It enhances our other marketing efforts. 

We understand that 100% of our audience does not use Twitter/other social networking. But it has broadened an awareness of our company....even amongst friends and colleagues. For example, our Tweets automatically feed into my FB page. A Twitter announcement earlier this week connected us with several FB colleagues we hadn't heard from in some time. 

All the best with your project!

Thank you for your help Karla!

Friday, June 12, 2009

The New iPhone Debaucle

This week the news, Facebook, twitter, and numerous blogs focused on the new iPhone3GS release. There are two aspects of this launch that I would like to touch on: the launch and the social media blacklash.

The phone is set to release on June 19, 2009 at a whopping price of $399. This phone can and will do mostly anything short of vacuuming your living room. It has a built-in compass, 32 GB of hard drive space, a faster processor than the previous version, and even makes phone calls.

Apple has employed an advertising campaign to introduce the new product that encompasses traditional mass media as well as twitter and other social media. I’ve seen television spots and heard radio spots. Yesterday I even jumped on the twitter bandwagon and added #squarespace to my tweets in an effort to win a new iPhone. I think this promotional idea shows us how social media marketing is taking off and how we can better utilize the social media websites as marketing tools.

The most amazing part of this phone is that we now have one device that can do everything we expect a phone or PDA to do. It stores and plays media, has downloadable applications, a camera, a video camera, texting and email capabilities, and the list goes on. It is just amazing to me that all of this now is in a device that fits in the palm of your hand. Basically, it’s a very small computer.

The problem with the launch, however, is that AT&T didn’t realize the backlash they would receive from customers who only paid $199 for their latest iPhone upgrade. They are now hitting the social networks and creating a firestorm in an effort to convince AT&T to lower the price. But they don’t know about “subsidies” and don’t take into account the new free software updates coming out next week. If they do, they don’t seem to care. But they have to realize that to stay an innovator it’s going to cost some bells.

Then there’s the other hand. We now live in a totally connected world, where everyone has a forum to say whatever they’d like about any subject. Customers can create a raucous online, but in the end, they’ll still pay the price to have the latest and greatest phone. So why should AT&T worry about all the uproar?

Great marketers know the answer to that. “Because you should always listen to your customers.”

How AT&T Should Handle the Online iPhone Price Backlash

Week in review: Palm challenges Apple to phone fight

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Twitter as a Marketing Tool: The Interview v.2

As part of my Internet Marketing, Public Relations, and Advertising class at St. Bonaventure University I am to interview five different marketing professionals who use Social Networking as a marketing tool.

What is your title and can you provide a brief background on Honda?
Supervisor, Corporate Communications. I'm responsible for American Honda's corporate social media program and also handle corporate announcements/events and serve as a company spokesperson. In addition, I manage marketing communications for Honda's ASIMO humanoid robot in North America.

About American Honda Motor Co., Inc. Honda is celebrating its 50th anniversary in America. It began operations in the U.S. in 1959 with the establishment of American Honda Motor Co., Inc., Honda's first overseas subsidiary. Honda started U.S. production in Ohio in 1979, and began U.S. automobile production in 1982 at its Marysville, Ohio auto plant. The company has invested more than $12.2 billion in its North America operations, including 16 major manufacturing facilities employing more than 35,000 associates. Honda plants have the capacity to produce more than 2 million products annually, including Honda and Acura automobiles as well as motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles, personal watercraft, lawn mowers, general-purpose engines, and the advanced light jet, HondaJet.

How long have you been using twitter as a marketing tool for your company?
Since April 2008

What other social media outlets do you use?
Currently I use YouTube, Facebook, Flickr, and FriendFeed in addition toTwitter. Other Honda divisions use additional outlets like MySpace as well. Do you make your tweets personal or strictly business-oriented? They are all Honda or industry related but I definitely insert some personality into it.

What do you feel are the benefits of this marketing tool?
I've found that there are a variety of benefits:

  • Provide me with a direct line to communicate to consumers/customers/enthusiasts - Gives a personal touch and entry point to the "big," "corporate" Honda brand
  • Affords me an opportunity to share tidbits that might interest my followers but not otherwise be news release worthy
  • Great way to listen to what is being said about the brand to identify potential issues, concerns, feedback, etc.
  • Led to stories about Honda in blogs as well as "traditional" media
  • Aids in customer retention by identifying/elevating concerns as well as thanking customers
  • Bonus: a couple customers have said they've actually purchased a Honda because of engagement with me on Twitter

Do you find that social media marketing takes away from more important tasks because you have to be available to your followers at a moment’s notice? I don't feel that I'm obligated to be available to followers at everymoment. That's the just a part of the nature of Twitter. But I do sometimes find it hard to peel away from Twitter and focus on other things needing my attention... I like social media after all and it’s easy to get lost in the fun stuff! Social media at this time is just one part of my job but, I do make an concerted effort to respond as timely as possible because clearly that's when you are the most helpful and get the most out of it.

Do you consider social media to be of high importance in your company’s marketing plan?
To date, no, it really hasn't been of high importance but it is definitely ever-increasing in importance across all of our Honda divisions/products.  Some groups like our Auto Interactive Marketing group have long been engaged in place like Facebook and MySpace. But, I'm now getting a lot of calls from around the company and am encouraged to see more and more of our marketing teams engaging in or considering social media.

Have you found that your company has increased their brand awareness and acceptance through utilizing social media marketing?
We're in a lot of lines of business with a variety of brands/products in each so this is a big question but overall, yes, our social media efforts have definitely had an impact.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Twitter as a Marketing Tool: The Interview v.1

As part of my Internet Marketing, Public Relations, and Advertising class I am to interview five different marketing professionals who use Social Networking as a marketing tool.

How long have you been using twitter as a marketing tool for your company?
I have been using it about a year or so.

How often do you post tweets?
I post tweets on a regular basis, several times throughout the day. I have found an "app" that allows me to send out messages that I have pre-loaded and tweet them throughout the day. I think it is important to have active participation. I also find it important to engage people on the site (and enjoyable as well) so when I finish a project or have a spare 10 minutes before a meeting, I will jump on and see what is going on.

Do you make your tweets personal or strictly business-oriented?
I feel it is important to be personal, personable, and business... just as you are at work. If you are just selling stuff, people won't pay you much attention. But if you educate and/or engage, you will have more success.

What do you feel are the benefits of this marketing tool? Increasing brand-awareness, giving a "human" side to your business, keeping in touch with the pulse of what is going on, having another forum for people to exchange ideas on home lighting design (for us), ask questions, gain feedback, as well as to perhaps touch customers. I think it helps to improve our marketing.

Do you find that twitter takes away from more important tasks because you have to be available to your followers at a moment’s notice? You don't need to be available at a moment's notice. Most users know that people are not on 24/7 and will not expect a 30 second response to an @ reply. I try to keep my time in short blocks to be able cover longer time periods and not allow it to keep me from other projects. If anything, it is a welcome distraction that helps me to focus better. Some people play Solitaire, I Twitter. It is more productive.

Do you consider social media to be of high importance in your company’s marketing plan?
I think it is an important part, but not THE most important part. My opinion is that any marketing plan needs to be well-rounded.

Have you found that your company has increased their brand awareness and acceptance through utilizing twitter?
Yes, I have. For one, I have tracked our website unique visitors since 2003 and have noticed a slow & steady incline. As I began to engage in Social Media, our unique visitors shot up to double what the previously had been. Social Media was our only change to our promotion of our site.

I hope this is helpful. I would be interested in seeing the paper once you are completed if that is possible. Good luck and best wishes.

Posted by Linda Shaw
Lighting One ( is a cooperative retail organization consisting of over 150 member-owned retail lighting stores throughout the United States. Founded in 1999 as Ilucio, Lighting One joined CCA Global Partners, one of the world’s largest specialty home furnishings groups, in 2001. Lighting One’s purchasing power allows members to enjoy rebates on products, as well as participate in robust national programs. The cooperative also provides its members with extensive marketing services and exclusive merchandise. Lighting One prides itself on its ongoing education programs for managers and salespeople. The learning opportunities Lighting One provides help members increase customer satisfaction and employee retention.

Interview taken from Linked In:

Innovative Marketing, PR, Sales, Word-of-Mouth & Buzz Innovators

Created: February 02, 2008 Professional Organization Members: 48,253

Innovate with innovative marketing, public relations, promotions sales & selling professionals skilled at using creative marketing methods. Join thousands of members to learn & share best practices & advice. LinkedIn's largest Marketing & PR Innovation Group. Organized by Gerald "Solutionman" Haman.

How Twitter Will Change the Way We Live

June 5, 2009

Article: How Twitter Will Change the Way We Live

By Steven Johnson

The article begins by asking “Why does the world need this, exactly?” and then explains not why we need it, but rather how we use it. It explains how it has changed the culture and how it has changed communication between people overall.

In the beginning, people were skeptical about the success of twitter because it is so limited. How can you say something of great importance with only 140 characters? Well, it seems that following someone on twitter gives you “a strangely satisfying glimpse of their daily routines”. This gives you insight as to how your friends, coworkers, and favorite teachers spend their day.

One way, Johnson states, that twitter will change the way we live is the open conversation. He attended a conference in Manhattan with 39 other people and had a six-hour conversation about the future of schools. In this conference they opened a conversation in twitter and therefore could also include others who were not at the conference and even keep the conversation that ensued going after they left the conference. The author states “[i]njecting twitter into that conversation changed the rules of engagement. It added a second layer of discussion and brought a wider audience into what would have been a private exchange”.

The second change he writes about is the “super-fresh web”. Through twitter, people get up-to-date relevant information from the people they are following. Many of these include celebrities and that makes the average person feel closer and more in tune to the celebrity they admire.

Twitter has also recently added a search box by where you can search for popular topics. This feature attempts to bring the tweets together by creating an avenue by which they can actually converse. Critics have long talked “about the demise of shared national experiences, like moon landings and “Who Shot J.R.” cliff hangers”, but twitter is actually bringing those same conversations back…only on the computer. We are again one united group of people experiencing the same thing and have an outlet to discuss it with each other in real time.

The third argument that the author makes is that twitter is turning “toasters to microwaves”. Twitter has designed a website that has grown beyond its initial purpose and has taken on a life of its own through its users. With the “hashtag” (#) and the reply (@), “its core features and applications,” twitter can be used in a different context than it was intended for. It has spawned numerous applications with the new PDAs and smartphones. And these innovations were created by its end user. “It's like inventing a toaster oven and then looking around a year later and seeing that your customers have of their own accord figured out a way to turn it into a microwave.”

Johnson then goes on to say how twitter changes our news and opinion. Because we are constantly linked to people, we read what they’re reading through posts and links and we have basically made our own customized newspaper.

He also states that twitter is changing the way we search for information. Google is a search engine monopoly that gives its user the most popular and relevant results, whereas twitter customizes and personalizes the experience for the end user. An example used in the article is that “if you're looking for advice on sibling rivalry, an article recommended by a friend of a friend might well be the best place to start”.

Twitter also changes the way advertisers attract customers. It gives people access to their favorite brands and at a moment’s notice, customer service. It increases impressions, the metrics which advertising is based on, and therefore increases brand awareness. It creates a personal connection with the brand or celebrity, increasing brand acceptance.

The last way that twitter is changing the way we live is end-user innovation. With twitter, users must be creative in order to get their message out the way they want it. I can’t say it any better than the author, so this direct quote surmises the idea.

“The speed with which users have extended Twitter's platform points to a larger truth about modern innovation. When we talk about innovation and global competitiveness, we tend to fall back on the easy metric of patents and Ph.D.s. It turns out the U.S. share of both has been in steady decline since peaking in the early '70s. (In 1970, more than 50% of the world's graduate degrees in science and engineering were issued by U.S. universities.) Since the mid-'80s, a long progression of doomsayers have warned that our declining market share in the patents-and-Ph.D.s business augurs dark times for American innovation. The specific threats have changed. It was the Japanese who would destroy us in the '80s; now it's China and India.

But what actually happened to American innovation during that period? We came up with America Online, Netscape, Amazon, Google, Blogger, Wikipedia, Craigslist, TiVo, Netflix, eBay, the iPod and iPhone, Xbox, Facebook and Twitter itself. Sure, we didn't build the Prius or the Wii, but if you measure global innovation in terms of actual lifestyle-changing hit products and not just grad students, the U.S. has been lapping the field for the past 20 years.”

And the best part about it all is this: we are in some dire economic times and it seems that the world is falling apart, and all we want to do is “[sit] around trying to invent new ways to talk to one another”.