Archive for November, 2006

How Do Consumers Choose If All Their Options Really Blow?

By November 30, 2006

I bought a leaf blower today and it turned out to be a lesson in branding and product differentation. Actually, it’s a demonstration of the consumer selection process when there is a lack of difference. Armed with my research I headed to my local big-box home improvement retailer only to find that they had none […]

I bought a leaf blower today and it turned out to be a lesson in branding and product differentation. Actually, it’s a demonstration of the consumer selection process when there is a lack of difference. Armed with my research I headed to my local big-box home improvement retailer only to find that they had none of the brands I wanted. My first inclination was to head to the competing store for a look, but time is short. Surely I can find something suitable here. Upon comparing the product specs I find that most brands are very close in weight, blowing speed and blowing volume. They’re also fairly close in price. So which to choose? One brand has an exclusive, down-the-tube exhaust which might help me to not smell like oily smoke when I’m through. It’s worth a look. Which model should I choose? After quietly pondering (and while my friends are patiently waiting) I select a model and proceed to purchase. On the ride back to the office my friend asks why I chose the model I did. Hmm. I sheepishly reply, “I liked the name.” He is surprised and asks “After all that analysis and comparison you chose the product because you liked the name?” Yep. Even savvy marketers can fall prey to the hot air that our fellow pitchmasters blow at us. But hey, I am one proud owner of the Homelite VacAttack with ZipStart technology!

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Second Life Makes its First Virtual Millionaire

By November 30, 2006

A real estate tycoon no less, and a hot one if you’re into avatars. Anshe Chung spent her precious time developing islands and creating private communities restricted to certain types of architecture, francophones, the gay community or even “furries,” a diaspora of fuzzy avatars.Now Chung’s Linden money is convertable to $1 million US dollars. Makes […]


A real estate tycoon no less, and a hot one if you’re into avatars. Anshe Chung spent her precious time developing islands and creating private communities restricted to certain types of architecture, francophones, the gay community or even “furries,” a diaspora of fuzzy avatars.
Now Chung’s Linden money is convertable to $1 million US dollars. Makes you wonder why you wasted all the time on the Sims, doesn’t it?

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Most Viral Video of all Time

By November 30, 2006

I read this article (linked above) and I thought about everyone’s obsession of doing something ‘Viral.’ The article is proof that viral is not planned. Viral is not thought up in a conference room somewhere. Viral is just a natural spontaneous occurrence. It is like trying to recreate a spontaneous moment so that you can […]

I read this article (linked above) and I thought about everyone’s obsession of doing something ‘Viral.’ The article is proof that viral is not planned. Viral is not thought up in a conference room somewhere. Viral is just a natural spontaneous occurrence.

It is like trying to recreate a spontaneous moment so that you can take a picture of it. 99.9% of the time you will never get the results that you wanted.

This is not to say that I don’t think great ideas on the edge of this new media world cannot become ‘Viral. My point is, if you are sitting in a room saying we need to do something viral, you are most likely setting yourself up for failure.

Break down walls with great ideas and let the chips fall where they may. Ask Danny DeVito and he’d probably tell you that it’s not always the best thing to be the most downloaded video on YouTube.

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Turf TV – Turning the Football Field into a Jumbotron

By November 29, 2006

Mark Nicholls, the founder and chief executive of Sportexe, the number two maker of artificial turf in the NFL, has patented the process of “tufting” fiber optics with blades of plastic grass. “We will be able to turn the football field into a giant Jumbotron,” says Nicholls. It will make it’s debut as a National […]

Mark Nicholls, the founder and chief executive of Sportexe, the number two maker of artificial turf in the NFL, has patented the process of “tufting” fiber optics with blades of plastic grass. “We will be able to turn the football field into a giant Jumbotron,” says Nicholls. It will make it’s debut as a National Football League field.

A field can display a huge American flag during the national anthem. At halftime a sponsor such as Budweiser could cover the field with its logo. During the game, that virtual first-down marker you see on your TV could now be on the field itself before the ball is snapped. And because sensors beneath the fibers can sense when any given blade’s light is obscured, referees can track the footsteps of a player to determine if he was in-bounds or not.

Stadium owners would welcome the technology as well, as it would help them get more use out of the field: A few mouse clicks is all it takes to change the field from a gridiron to a soccer pitch.

Forbes Article

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ShopWiki Lets Shoppers Get to Know Elmo

By November 27, 2006

Continuing the Wiki exploration, this time with consumer generated video clips of product demos. ShopWiki has been integrating user-mad videos by offering $50 each for the first 500 submissions. There are several hundres now and the site has footage of over 120 million products from 180,000 US retailers. The story in DIRECT Magazine. The Elmo […]

Continuing the Wiki exploration, this time with consumer generated video clips of product demos. ShopWiki has been integrating user-mad videos by offering $50 each for the first 500 submissions. There are several hundres now and the site has footage of over 120 million products from 180,000 US retailers. The story in DIRECT Magazine. The Elmo demo.

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Speaking of Wikis

By November 25, 2006

Amazon has just added some Wiki functionality on every product page (there’s currently only about 35 Amazon products that have active Wikis.) But given that you can buy virtually anything through Amazon, the potential is there for it to cover a lot of products. This may seem semi-redundant to the Product Description/Details and Customer Reviews […]

Amazon has just added some Wiki functionality on every product page (there’s currently only about 35 Amazon products that have active Wikis.) But given that you can buy virtually anything through Amazon, the potential is there for it to cover a lot of products.

This may seem semi-redundant to the Product Description/Details and Customer Reviews already available on every product page. But it does provide yet another angle for people to find more information on a product. Since it’s a brand new feature and likely in the experimental state, it’s currently one of the last items on the page. But if more users begin to use this functionality I’d expect its prominence on the product pages might eventually rise.

I couldn’t help but think that it would be a potential avenue for shrewd manufacturers and marketers to have a little more say in how their product is described on the largest online retailer. To keep to the true spirit of Wikis (and to not raise any red flags with Amazon or to abuse the system) you can’t just blindly promote the product with marketing hype. Somebody can simply edit or delete what you wrote anyway. But you can provide factual information and try to frame a potential customer’s mindset and expectations.

I know whenever I’m personally searching for a review of a mainstream consumer product, Amazon is always among the first results (along with various pricing engines and Epinions) that comes up. So the potential for these Amazon Wikis to reach a large audience is clearly nothing to sneeze at.

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Bhamwiki

By November 21, 2006

We have talked at various times about including Wiki editing in some of the projects we are working on, especially as it relates to the tourism industry. This morning I came across another Wiki, this time that focuses on the Birmingham area. There were several articles of relevance to the agency and our clients, including […]

We have talked at various times about including Wiki editing in some of the projects we are working on, especially as it relates to the tourism industry. This morning I came across another Wiki, this time that focuses on the Birmingham area. There were several articles of relevance to the agency and our clients, including this article that incorrectly identifies the agency as Luckie Advertising. I also found it interesting that there isn’t an article about the agency, which has been a part of the Birmingham community for over 50 years.

I realize that becoming editors for every Wiki that might have something to do with us or our clients could be a very time-consuming endeavor, but I believe it would be worth while to at least invest some time in some of the more strategic ones.

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Product Placement Goes Viral

By November 17, 2006

Staples is promoting their new “MailMate(TM)” shredder via product placement on NBC’s “The Office.” To drive traffic online, they’re using a rollover ad (on My Yahoo and elsewhere) that looks much like an office bulletin board. From there you can link to a site that contains a great little interactive tool that allows you to […]

Staples is promoting their new “MailMate(TM)” shredder via product placement on NBC’s “The Office.” To drive traffic online, they’re using a rollover ad (on My Yahoo and elsewhere) that looks much like an office bulletin board. From there you can link to a site that contains a great little interactive tool that allows you to shred items that tie back into the show. It also acts as a landing page for the staples site.

Quite clever on a variety of levels if you ask me. Bravo staples.

- Doug

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Starbucks Tests WOM & Viral Campaign with Cheer Pass

By November 14, 2006

Starbucks kicks off the holidays Pay it Forward-style by disseminating cheer on chilly city streets. Baristas hand out movie tickets and other small gifts on the condition that the recipient has to do something nice for someone else. The campaign includes a “cheer pass” that tracks how far the “chain of cheer” has gone. Participants […]


Starbucks kicks off the holidays Pay it Forward-style by disseminating cheer on chilly city streets. Baristas hand out movie tickets and other small gifts on the condition that the recipient has to do something nice for someone else.

The campaign includes a “cheer pass” that tracks how far the “chain of cheer” has gone. Participants are encouraged to visit It’s Red Again to share holiday stories and create greetings. The site is hosted by an awkward-looking man who personifies Starbucks’ quirky intellectual vibe. It’s also ridden with clever recommendations about holiday coffee blends and seasonal cakes.

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Widgets as the next branding mechanism

By November 14, 2006

I’ve been using widgets on my mac at home for a couple of years now, but didn’t realize they were available cross-platform. This is something we should think about for all of our clients, from a new media perspective. ADWEEK – NEW YORK Ad executives often say that good creative cannot be churned out like […]

I’ve been using widgets on my mac at home for a couple of years now, but didn’t realize they were available cross-platform. This is something we should think about for all of our clients, from a new media perspective.

ADWEEK – NEW YORK Ad executives often say that good creative cannot be churned out like so many “widgets,” a handy catchall term signifying any commodity. But now advertisers are using the term to describe a specific new application, one they hope will break through Internet clutter to connect with consumers.

Widgets are mini-Web applications that are downloaded onto a user’s desktop or transported into personal Web pages, blogs and social-network profiles. For users, they are a source of constantly updated information, from weather to sports scores to personal photos, that can eliminate the need to visit multiple Web sites.

Here’s the whole story – http://www.adweek.com/aw/magazine/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1000652495

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