How Does Social Media Affect You?

August 20, 2009 at 10:27 pm (advertising, Branding, economy, marketing, networking, social media) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , )

What is social media, how do people use it, why do they use it, and how does that effect you as a designer, advertiser, marketer, etc? Watch and learn:

Thanks @saribrooke for the link!

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AARP Joins the Fight with Canes a Swing’n

August 18, 2009 at 2:21 pm (advertising, commercials, economy, marketing, News, print media, TV advertising) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Amidst the debate of national healthcare reform, one television commercial really stands out. Regardless of your opinions on this controversial topic, this commercial has the perfect metaphor for AARP’s message; an ambulance running lights and sirens, getting cut-off at every turn – brilliant. I didn’t even listen to the words the first few times I saw the commercial, I watched the imagery and instantly got it. Maybe I connect with the spot because of my brief stint as a state certified Emergency Medical Technician and 8 years as a part-time health and safety educator, or maybe the symbolism is just that strong. Either way I though it was well done.

In the past few days this commercial has stirred more controversy than most advertisements ever will, here’s some comments:

From AARP.org on August 17th & 18th:
“My first impression was laughter.  I thought all of those cars were rich ambulance-chasing trial lawyers fighting to get a new client.”

“The AARP commercial looks pretty good – it takes on the myths and facts.  Take a look.

I love the comments about the use of American cars in the commercial (some people reallllllly have too much time on their hands to look for conspiracy theories.  They’re probably disappointed that black helicopters aren’t featured as well.)”

“WE WERE MASSIVELY OFFENDED by the commercial we saw tonight showing an ambulance being cut off by expensive cars at every turn. SHAME ON AARP for thinking that we are so gullible as to be influenced by such obvious tripe.”

I didn’t know the Dodge Caliber, the car most visible throughout the commercial, was considered an “expensive car”, but okay.

From YouTube on August 17th:

“This video is awsome it really shows how good the government has got at sponsoring propaganda!! 2 thumbs up!!”

“I hope AARP paid enough to make this commercial because I definitely think less of them after having seen it.”

Pretty strong opinions for a commercial sponsored by a non-governmental organization (and interest group). Whatever your feelings about the healthcare reform bill are, you have to admit that this is a strong commercial with unmistakable symbolism – people getting in the way of healthcare.

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United Breaks Guitars – Dave Carroll Breaks United

July 23, 2009 at 10:35 pm (economy, News) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

I ended my last post regarding the United Breaks Guitars video with: “I guess an important lesson for companies to learn is that the consumer is no longer helpless to retaliate. It will be interesting to see if any of these videos affect United’s bottom line.”

Well, guess what? It has affected the company. This morning many news outlets across the globe are reporting on the financial fallout from Dave Carroll’s YouTube video, United Breaks Guitars. The Times reporter Mike Harvey from San Francisco noted, “Consumer revenge, it seems, is best served with a video camera and three-part harmonies.”

In the past disgruntled customers could only threaten physical harm on company representatives who they felt had wronged them (this usually did not end well), but could not threaten fiscal harm to an entire company. This video has caused a 10% drop in airline stock price resulting in a loss of $180 million dollars to shareholders. “Which, incidentally, would have bought Carroll more than 51,000 replacement guitars” as reported by Chris Ayres of The Times.

For updates on the Dave Carroll saga you can follow him on Twitter: @DaveCarroll or Curve Productions: @curveprod

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Creative Truths

July 22, 2009 at 10:10 pm (advertising, Art, Branding, commercials, Design, marketing, News) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

The Vendor Client Relationship Video is a fantastic representation of what designers go through every day. Most transactions that people face day to day are non-negotiable, or partially negotiable. As designers we deal with perceived value in a much different way. People say “why would I pay you that much when my [insert friend or family’s name and relation here] can build a website” or “knows Photoshop.” Many people do not understand that an attitude like that is like saying: “my friend can give you stitches just as good as a medical professional and at a deep discount” just because she know how to cross stitch.

The video presents this disproportioned view of the design business in a comical and uncomfortably true way. On top of the comedic genius of the final product itself, the video is an example of viral video done well. The creative force behind this video is Scofield Editorial – creator of videos, web spots, documentaries, and the like. They did a great job of creating a successful, humorous, and non-sophomoric viral video. Now if they can only figure out how to use proper kerning on their logo!

The video reminds me of the Designing a Stop Sign video that featured Al Samuels and Katie Nahnsen from Chicago area improv theaters and the NBC show Sports Action Team.

Both these videos are a must see for anyone in the creative arts!

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Online Identity – How We Use Social Media

July 21, 2009 at 5:42 pm (marketing, networking, social media) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Social_media_superhero

The other day I was sitting in a conference and heard a continuous and steady ticking noise – the sounds of twitter and facebook being updated, text messages flying, and emails sending. Isn’t it funny how social norms have changed? In the past it would have been rude to be completely enthralled in something other than what the speaker was talking about. Now, at least in some arenas, it is not only accepted, but expected, that people will be using social media throughout the entire presentation. The job of stenographer has been passed to anyone with a cell phone, laptop, or other portable uploading device.

Many of us are fully connected to each other through social media. We can get a minute-by-minute update of conferences or events through the use of hashtags, podcasts, and micoblogs. Not only are these forms of social media developing their own unique set of rules and personalities, but they are reshaping social norms in the real world.

Some of the personalities I have witnessed in social media are as follows:

  • Class President – Organizer of social media meetups, tweetups, mashups, etc. Usually just known locally by the social media groups in their own region.
  • Professional –  Social media is their job. They produce content to drive people to their company’s site, promote their products, etc, but still provide relevant and current information and news.
  • Networker – They are involved in meetups, online conversations, sharing information, and the like. They don’t always create their own content, but can find something relevant to any topic. These people are constantly connected.
  • Reply and Retweet Informant – This person has no original content. Their sole purpose in social media is to regurgitate what someone else said, or comment on what others have posted.
  • Comedian – Their updates are just to get a smile out of readers.
  • Business – Click here and buy, endorse, or promote my crap.
  • Diary Keeper – They let us know every little detail about their meals, workday, bodily functions, or whatever other monotonous thing is happening.
  • Porn – The people that for an unsolicited reason friend, connect, post, and pursue you because they have an army of 22-year-olds who match you perfectly based on God knows what.

I have also noticed that social media is used in different ways:

  • Retribution – To get back at those who physically or mentally harmed you in the past by showing how great you life is now
  • Self-esteem – The people whose online persona looks like they are living the highlife and loving every minute of it. In reality none of it is true, but it makes them feel better.
  • Therapy – These people share their problems with the world; everything is drama.
  • Bragging – Their life is going well, and they want everyone to know it.
  • Reconnect and Friend –  They really do want to know what happened to everyone, and how they are doing.

I think it’s funny how we all hide behind our personally constructed online identities. Like superheroes in masks and colorful costumes, it’s usually not that hard to tell that Clark Kent is Superman with glasses. I’m sure there are more personality types and reasons people use social media than I listed here, these were just the ones I see the most. There’s a great presentation by Social Interaction Design specialist Adrian Chan that describes social media personality types in a more detailed and professional way. It will be interesting to see how social media psychology and etiquette develop over the next few years, and how it will interact and influence our traditional social norms.

What kind of online personality am I? Find out: @IamBartleby

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Tweet, Tweet – The News is Calling

July 15, 2009 at 12:24 pm (Florida, Fort Lauderdale, free, marketing, networking, News, social event, Social Events & Networking, South Florida) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Social_media_header2

What happens when you stuff 100 people into a room to listen to 6 panelists discuss “How Traditional Media is being influenced by Social Media?”

A lot of tweeting!

Last night was the Social Media Club of South Florida (@SMCSF) Meetup held on the 12th floor of Broward College’s downtown building. The panel was moderated by former journalist Agustina Prigoshin (@AgustinaP) and included:

Niala Boodhoo (@nialaboodhoo), The Miami Herald
Chris Tiedje (@ctiedje), South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Mathilde Piard (@mathildepiard), The Palm Beach Post
Jessica Sick, NBCMiami.com
Trina Sargalski (@wlrnunderthesun), WLRN 91.3 FM
Adrienne Roark (@AdrienneRoark), News Director at CBS4

Back in the day we had town criers, then newspapers came about to deliver our daily dose of news. Now a new generation has ushered in a variable feast of town criers through Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and even Flickr. They hawk their own brand of news through every available outlet, from PDAs to computers screens and any other conduit that’s backlit in RGB. So, what does this panel of traditional newsies have to say about the brave new social media frontier?

They almost all agree on several points:

  • That they have gone through a trial and error phase of what works and what doesn’t, e.g. While Facebook fan pages are great, they may cause problems with RSS feeds.
  • Though their circulation is down for physical products, their media reach is actually growing. This is due to the fact that they are reaching audiences who would have otherwise been inaccessible through traditional media outlets.
  • There has been a shift in importance causing reporters to write for the web first, and print second. The reporting staff has adapted to use social media, web, photography, and other non-traditional avenues in their coverage.
  • Social media is a valuable tool in gaining real-time leads and also feedback to how the consumer feels about changes in interface, style, etc.

The panel discussion was very informative. There was a chance to meet with everyone in a face-to-face social atmosphere after the event at Off the Hookah. Due to time constraints I was not able to attend the post-event festivities, but hope to be able to next time.

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United Puts on the Breaks

July 13, 2009 at 7:06 pm (economy, News) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

SOMDave Carroll of the eclectic Canadian Pop-Folk music group Sons of Maxwell was traveling with the group in the Spring of 2008 to perform in Nebraska when he witnessed United Airlines baggage handlers throwing his Taylor Guitar. The result of this action was $1200 in damage to his guitar, which, though now fixed, is still not the same as it was. After over a year of dealing with United his claims for compensation were denied several times.

So what, that stuff happens everyday…. well here’s where it gets interesting:

Mr. Carroll informed the last United representative to deny his claim that he would be writing three songs about his experience with the company, which will be made into music videos. The first of these is already online with song number 2 already written and video preproduction in the works.

His goal was to have over 1 million views during the course of a year. Less than one week later he has 2,600,126 views and 21,177 people rating it in average of 5 stars. He has also been covered by CNN and other news outlets across the country, even getting a personal video response from Bob Taylor at Taylor Guitars – Carroll has reportedly been given two guitars from Taylor [unconfirmed].

CNN reported that United will use the video as “A unique learning opportunity,” and will somehow integrate it into their training program. I guess an important lesson for companies to learn is that the consumer is no longer helpless to retaliate. It will be interesting to see if any of these videos affect United’s bottom line. Even if they do not, I can’t wait to see the next two videos.

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Air New Zealand Flies with Landing Gear Down

July 5, 2009 at 1:18 pm (advertising, Branding, commercials, marketing, News, TV advertising) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Flight_crewWhat better way to ease your mind about picking an airline, or safety aboard a 737-300 aircraft, other than a naked flight crew?

That’s right, Air New Zealand’s latest ad campaign features the airline’s staff and crew wearing only body paint, shoes, and the occasional hat. What’s the message behind this – that they have nothing to hide; in other words, they give you everything…upfront.

So beyond the fun spirit of nudity and double entendre what else makes this ad interesting? It was shot in 1 day at 10 to 15% the cost of a regular ad. They way they did this was by using actual employees of the airline to act as talent. Even the CEO stripped for the cause, he’s one of the baggage handlers.

In addition to the ad, the flight safety video, Bare Essentials,  is created in the same way. The videos already have over 2 Million views on YouTube – and that’s the naked truth.

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