How To Create A Customer In 30 Seconds

May 23, 2013

K-Mart.

You deserve a standing ovation.

Your sales are down and you are constantly losing business to stores like Wal-Mart, Target, and Fred Meyer. So how do you overcome? You made a brilliant television marketing campaign which has everyone on social media talking, and, in turn, regenerating interest and conversation about your store.

K-Mart and the advertising agency DRAFTFCB worked together to create a campaign that would be informative, creative, memorable, funny, and tap into the inner-child of everyone who watches. KMart’s “Ship My Pants” commercial launched on April 10, 2013, to help promote the ability to have the products purchased in store be shipped to your home for free. It became an internet sensation. It has amassed over 17 million views since it’s launch.

Why does it work? Because it’s childish. It starts off so abruptly. It takes you a second to realize what is being said. Once the realization happens, a child runs out and says how he can’t wait to ship his pants. An innocent elderly couple appears to say the titular line, followed by an old man celebrating the incoming arrival of his new bed. It’s quirky. It’s funny. It’s juvenile. It did it’s job.

But DRAFTFCB and KMart weren’t done just yet. On May 22, 2013, the “sequel” to “Ship My Pants” was released. This new commercial was to promote savings on gasoline for KMart members. In less than 24 hours, the commercial has already started an online buzz and has reached 30,000 views.

Different selling point. Same concept and execution. A funny phrase that can be repeated over and over again. Innocent looking actors, who you feel bad about what they are kind of saying, but still think it’s hilarious. A visual gag capped with a perfect comedy “button” that wraps the whole thing up neatly .

People see the commercial. People talk about the commercial. People remember KMart is a thing. People return to KMart. The ad has done it’s job.

Smart. Funny. Juvenile. It’s a similar strategy that AT&T has been using for their “It’s Not Complicated” campaign. People may be fast forwarding through commercials these days due to DVR’s, so advertisers need to make their work something that will stand out. Something that people will want to actively search out and share online. AT&T did that. KMart is doing that.  I’m sure many others will follow shortly.

So congratulations to KMart and DRAFTFCB for making the 12 year old inside all of us come out and laugh and a well thought out commercial. We are all eagerly anticipating Part III.

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There’s Always Money In The Good Marketing Plan

May 20, 2013

This week, after a 7 year hiatus, the Bluth family will return. “Arrested Development” will debut 15 new episodes on Netflix on May 26th. For fans of the short-lived, under-appreciated show, this is a very welcome return. To help generate buzz around the new episodes, Netflix, The Hurwitz Company, and Imagine Entertainment could have done nothing but a few good press releases. The show has gathered such a cult following in the age of DVDs and online binge watching. The fan base was already excited. But they wanted to have a grand kick-off. Celebrate the show, welcome back it’s fans, and bring in a new audience at the same time.

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#SBXLVII

February 3, 2013

First and foremost, congratulations to the Baltimore Ravens on their victory in Super Bowl XLVII (47). The game proved to be just as exciting as everyone had hoped.

But now let’s get to the real reason we’re here. Over the past few years, the Super Bowl has gotten more and more social media friendly. The addition of hashtags and making ads compatible with apps like Shazam are just two examples of how companies have found ways to continue their advertisement past the 30-60 second mark (and also saving a few million dollars). However, I feel that something happened this year. Social media was much more prevalent, ran successful campaigns, and companies were ready to go at a moments notice.

Here are some examples (my opinion) of the top social media moments of Super Bowl XLVII…

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Issues With Journalism Today

August 14, 2012

You know what really grinds my gears!?

Earlier today, at about 1pm on August 14th, a radio host for ESPN Radio Wisconsin sent out a tweet:

“@ESPNChrisLarsen Rumor re: possible #Oregon sanctions. 4 years probation, 2 year bowl ban, 30 scholarships over 3 years.”

He continued:

“@ESPNChrisLarsen No off campus recruiting for Campbell or Pellum in 2013.”

One of Chris Larsen’s 331 followers saw the post, and retweeted it. Which warranted another retweet. And what started out as a pebble rolling down a small mound slowly quickly became an avalanche down the side of the Three Sisters (that’s an Oregon reference for those who don’t get it). Avid Pac-12 fans jumped on the news. Oregon fans were worried and shocked, as there has been no Notice of Allegations from the NCAA. UW and OSU fans rejoiced, as it looked as if their biggest rival was about to get the hammer.

Then Larsen sent out one more tweet a few hours later…

“@ESPNChrisLarsen There is no concrete information out there regarding possible #Oregon sanctions. Just twitter and message board fodder rumors I saw/heard.”

Adding to the madness, Larsen deleted the original posts stating the possible sanctions against Oregon.

I don’t know whether to laugh, be furious, be shocked, or be completely and utterly disgusted. Let’s go with all of the above.

This, in my opinion, is a perfect example of what is wrong with journalism today. I am one of the biggest proponents of Twitter. I love the site. I think it’s service is invaluable. However, it’s biggest flaw is that you’re allowed to say anything. I can go online right now and say that I heard from “sources” that University of Notre Dame is becoming a Jewish institution. No one’s stopping me. And if one person believes it, let the avalanche begin.

This man went onto a rival schools message board, saw a post that had no source or credibility, and posted from his Twitter account which features four extremely important letters in the world of sports.

E. S. P. N.

By simply having the letters ESPN in front of his name, he is instantly given credibility by anyone who is quickly looking through their Twitter feed. “Wow. Look what this guy from ESPN said!”

In my opinion, Larsen was trying to get the attention of “The Mothership.” If he’s right, then he ends up on SportsCenter talking about his findings and giving analysis. But unfortunately for Mr. Larsen, he broke a few major rules of reporting.

He initially reported a major story without citing a source. Not just a credible source, but ANY source.

Once the source was cited, it ended up being “message board fodder.” That’s like using Wikipedia on your grad school thesis paper.

And finally, the biggest error of them all. He deleted the original post. If it can’t be seen, then it never happened, right? Wrong. Once something is out on the internet, it is truly never gone. You can click delete all you want, but it’s still out there floating in cyberspace, waiting for someone to find it. Not to mention the screenshots that everyone took of your original post. One of the first things you learn in J school is that if you make a mistake, you need to own up to it. You can’t just click delete and hope no one saw. Larsen was retweeted over 5,000 times. Other news sources picked it up, saying “Chris Larsen from ESPN Radio is reporting…” If none of this information ends up to be true, his name and reputation will be soiled forever. And in reality, for using the “sources” he did and then deleting the initial report, his name and reputation already are soiled.

Companies like ESPN need to crack down on who is using their names. For Chris Larsen, he probably chose to go with @ESPNChrisLarsen because it made him seem more credible than any other handle stating that he worked for ESPN Radio in Wisconsin. Four simple letters change everything. And Larsen knew this.

What’s wrong with journalism in the age of Social Media? The same thing that makes social media great. Instant results. You post something and it can be picked up and spit back out to a few thousand people in a matter of seconds. How did you find out about Osama Bin Laden’s death? I found out from Twitter. News travels faster than it ever did before. And if the news is wrong, it’s still out there. Larsen’s information had no credibility, no legitimate sources, and all the momentum in the world. It just takes one click to create an avalanche.

It is possible that services like Twitter may be dumbing down journalists. But that is where the debate of journalist vs reporter comes into play. Some believe that Twitter is allowing for everyday people to become journalists. However, that’s really not true.

If you see a car accident on the road and you tweet about it, congratulations. You are a reporter. You reported the news. But you are not a journalist. A journalist goes the extra step to find out more information, gather credible sources, give updates, and stay with the story until it is over.

What Larsen did today was report something that he heard. He failed to take the extra steps necessary to become a journalist. Having a Twitter account with four highly respected letters in front of your name does not make you a journalist. Creating content which is thoroughly researched (and cited) and keeping good ethics will allow you to earn those four letters and then become a journalist.

UPDATE: Larsen changed his Twitter handle, removing “ESPN.” He also made his account protected (private). I think that is just as low as deleting the tweets. At least he stepped up and removed the “ESPN” from his name (or was forced to). It will be interesting to see if ESPN Wisconsin has any statement on the matter in the morning.


Change It Up!

July 11, 2012

It’s time for a Social Media adjustment.

My Twitter account was born as @AlexInInfoHell on March 8th, 2010. According to twbirthday.com, my “Godfather” is @claytongraham. I have logged 20,550 hours, 856 days, 28 months, and 2.3 years on the social media site. I currently stand at 5,142 tweets and have gathered 843 followers. Impressive, if I do say so myself. In those 2.3 years, I have become very well versed in social media; the do’s and don’ts, the proper techniques and etiquette, and much more (thank you #J412ssm)!

But it’s now time for a change.

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