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Social Media Strangers

There have been a few revelations on the internet regarding social connections. Facebook is still a roaring success of keeping in touch with user-selected friends and family, Twitter allows quick, rapid conversations within  140 characters. Two of the latest sites that are creating some buzz are ChatRoulette and Mystery Seeker. Both sites feed off randomness but in different extremes.

ChatRoulette

One of the latest video fads, large enough to be featured in Fast Company (here), pairs you up with random strangers via video or  text-only conversations. What originated from the mind of a 17-year old Russian kid, has quickly turned to a exhibitionists dream. Picture having a conversation about comic books with a fat guy wearing a bear costume, or a discussion of Latin in the 21st century with a dominatrix and her hand puppet… The opportunities are endless. It’s kind of cool to interact with others you wouldn’t normally think to, but as with most web platforms, it hasn’t taken long for there to be large amounts of sexual content. BEWARE!

Mystery Seeker (formerly Mystery Google)

The foundation of this site is based around the search engine Google, with the spin of receiving search results from the previous user. Naturally, I had to try it out. I looked up “Cat food” and received actual Google Search results for “Strep Throat”. Meh, the novelty has now worn off. It’s a kitchy, gimmick site that isn’t going to get any traction. So why is it still a hot topic online? Is it an opportunity to expand knowledge on topic you haven’t thought of? Or is it just an opportunity for voyeurism? I bet you will try this one out at least once.

Are these “random” sites the next progression of social interaction? Or is it just a quick zig when others zag experiment? What are your thoughts??

Tales of a Prima Donna

Creative projects are more than the cliché of blood, sweat and tears. There are years of industry experience, demographic pinpointing, identifying realistic unique selling differentiators, and colour psychology, etc.. A lot of ingredients in the recipe. So it is difficult to have projects shot down in a blaze of glory right into the dumpster (quickly or not), be it via the client or the Creative Director.

Is it natural to react by sulking or whining? Sure. Professional? Depends how far you go. Ego deflating? Most certainly. From my point of view, it shouldn’t be perceived as being bitchy or difficult, but to be viewed as being passionate of your work. Should they not like to have somebody work for them that cares about the final product? Somebody who believes that their creative “baby” is the correct way to go?

Enough chat, has anybody seen my cape and red Smarties?

Ethonomics

The latest buzzword. Wikipedia’s definition: the study of ethics in the marketplace. For years now, companies have been working hard to “Go Green” (it’s almost business suicide not to). What started out as company one-upper, has quickly become an expectation from consumable-conscious consumers. Purchase decisions are no longer just based on price comparison, or calorie intake numbers. The newest differentiator is how much wastage is saved through product creation, packaging and distribution. Not only does it benefit the companies bottom line, but it is also great for market positioning.

The numbers are staggering when auditing behemoth companies*:

  • General Mills has reduced yogurt packaging enough to save 1,200 tons of plastic annually.
  • Unilever has reduced water consumption by 63%, and CO2 emissions by 39%.
  • Frito-Lay have one-third of their factories at “zero landfill” status.

Small tweaks on their end make significant differences. Sure, they are saving the planet (as much as possible), but they are also attracting green consumers willing to buy efficient products. It’s a win-win. Now that’s good business.

While you might not have the distribution levels as Coke, Walmart, or Unilever, every bit helps. Our own office consumables have been dramatically reduced to do our part. What changes in your company can be made?

* sourced via fastcompany.com

Junk Spammers Beware!

I started the workday as usual, going through the emails and making lists for the upcoming day. Lucky for me there were lots of emails concerned about any form of EDS I might be having. Who knew that at 31 I was in the target market for Viagra? Perhaps due to the fact that I am 20-30 years under the target market, they are trying to get me in on the ground floor? Is that why they are offering 80% off my purchase? What a deal! Throw in a totally obscure email on the bottom along with a bunch of incoherent content and who wouldn’t want to sign up? By having them send me 15 more reminders before lunch sure shows they care about me too. Thanks for that.

How effective are these junk mails really? They couldn’t be anymore back-assword. They don’t look legit, they don’t use sneaky cosmetic email or web addresses, they don’t even use spell-check. How can they win??

But I am going to teach them. I am going to call their bluff.  No way can they afford to sell pills this cheap. At 80% off I can buy it by the caseload and run them out of business. All I have to do is give them my credit card info, sit back, and wait it to show up in the mail.

Who’s the smart one now?

Super Bowl too Super Pricy for some.

Super Bowl XLIV is coming up February 7, 2010, and while it is still going to be a advertising gong show, it seems that the rising costs for TV spots has almost reached its limits. At an average cost of $2.5 – $3 million, some recession hit companies are pulling in the reins. Such notable names as FedEx, GM, and Pepsi are sitting on the sidelines this year. Pepsi has decided to move its’ spend to a social responsibility grant worth $20 million. GM has been smart enough to use the money internally rather than blow it all (especially after the handout). FedEx is withholding due to “cost-containment actions”.  With companies transferring big ticket TV spots in order to help keep operating costs down, or by introducing social programs, it will be interesting to see whether this is a start of a new trend. Or is the Ad Bowl just too alluring for companies to jump ship in the masses and bank that a Bowl ad will bring the purchasers flowing in? With roughly 99 million viewers last year, it is a tough call to make. What would you do with $3 million + play money??

But fret not, 95% of TV spots have already been purchased. With biggies like Disney, Frito Lays, Coke, and Anheuser-Busch, there will still be a lot of quality ads for the big game to be worth it. Oh yeah, and there should be good football game going on too.

Santa Claus should be one svelt fella.

Just in time for the holidays I came across this list that breaks down just how magical Santa needs to be in order to gettr’ done. Over the years, I have been fortunate to have been taken care of by St. Nick. So I can appreciate all the hard work and months of prep needed.  Having to work this hard and fast though, one would imagine the big guy would have burned off that bowl full of jelly a long time ago…

Did you know …

  • Santa has 31 hours to do his job on Christmas, thanks to different time zones around the world.
  • To travel around the world’s 122 million km in that time, that means Santa’s sleigh has to move at a mind-blowing 1,047 km persecond — 3,000 times the speed of sound!
  • Santa has to travel with a lot of cargo: Assuming each child gets two pounds worth of gifts, Santa’s payload amounts to an astonishing 321,300 tons.
  • Santa has to make 822.6 visits a second, so, for each house, that means the fat man has less than 1/1,000th of a second to park the reindeer, shimmy down the chimney, fill the stockings, put gifts under the tree, eat whatever snacks were left for him and get back up the chimney and back to his sleigh before doing it all again.

Facebook privacy issues are out in the open.

Once again Facebook, and primarily it’s privacy issues has reared its ugly head. If you are 1 of the 350 million users, you will have noticed that recent upgrade went live Dec. 9. Facebook changed its openness options on what updates, status changes, photos etc. can be viewed by who. Simply put, it’s about letting you set your security settings of who sees what.

This is not the first time Facebook has changed its policy. Read a previous post of the last guffaw on the issue.

Critic backlash has been swift. In a statement, the Electronic Frontier Foundation said: “These new ‘privacy’ changes are clearly intended to push Facebook users to publicly share even more information than before. ” It added: “Even worse, the changes will actually reduce the amount of control that users have over some of their personal data.”

Many users have quickly altered their profiles of what they post, as well as reducing the amount of use to the site. How easier will these changes make hacking or spamming you be with weaker security. How many users will jump ship over this one?

Facebook defends the change citing that it is not about users disclosing even more personal information, but about making updates findable via search engines. Does that mean that if I put that I had a rough day at work I will come up in searches for depression or job postings? How valuable are my updates to people anyways?

Facebook has quickly moved into a social site that is selectively social and private. People only invite friends they want to be in contact with. Chances are, if you’re not on my friend list by now, my being searchable via Google isn’t gonna get you there either.

The “Must Have” Christmas Gift for people on your Naughty List.

The Christmas season can be hectic enough as it is. People spend a lot of time searching for that perfect gift for loved ones and friends. There are lots of lists and flyers to assist in finding that special toy for Bobby, or the ideal trinket for Aunt Ruby. But how can you share your opinion of people on your naughty list? Coal is sooo last century. Is there something to show how you truly feel, and  that they need to clean up their act?

Here is a small collection. See anything you like??

  1. Nose Hair Clippers ~ eww.
  2. A vacuum cleaner ~ A step up from an iron or blender.
  3. A framed photo of yourself and/or your family ~ A reminder that you’re watching them.
  4. A years supply of diet food
  5. A one month gym membership
  6. The Snuggie ~ nuff said.
  7. The Snuggie for Dogs ~ ditto.
  8. Coca-Cola Branded Presents
  9. GrowaFrog Kit ~ Or go classic and get the SeaMonkeys

Where is my martini and lines of coke?

Perception vs. Reality. For years Hollywood has done a great job of portraying ad agencies as glorified frat parties, filled with designers lounging on couches with glamorous women, or playing foosball while mixing their micro-brewery beers with bowls of uppers/downers that can be found at the reception desk.

Gone are the days of 3 martini lunches and HR violation conversations of the Mad Men era. Say goodbye to the 70’s-80’s era of strippers and coke, black turtlenecks, and “I don’t do that, I am a designer” attitude. Oh the good ol’ days…

We now have Agency 3.0. Nowadays the lines have become blurred with what each employee offers. Our Account Reps know about composition, branding, and photography. The Creative department is engrained in strategy and client management. Employees are more diverse in their offerings. Strategy, Creative, Social Media, these are areas that they need to be strong in. ALL of them.

Sure we still have fun, it still gets the creative juices flowing, but the reality is that this is a business with a lot on the line. It is a result-based industry that no longer has room for frivolous partying on the client’s bill. Budgets are getting smaller, and expectations higher. It is hard to keep that in mind after a few stiff drinks.

Enough with the clichés. Now, has anybody seen my RedBull?

Branding is more than a just a logo.

Building a corporate brand is a big job with a lot of components. Gone are the days when a logo, business cards, and a yellow page ad was considered a brand strategy.

At Copeland, we offer Brand Audits that help determine company values, target markets, and personality. From the collected findings, the brand begins its building process. Corporate logo, business cards and stationary, signage, and collateral materials all stem from the Audit. But there is more than just the typical printed materials. What of Social Media? Can it work for your company? Is there somebody to orchestrate it and be the voice of your company? Customer service is the #1 maker/breaker. This should be audited and address any points that can hinder you. Don’t forget about CRM. Is this even on your radar?

Sure, we make pretty logos, but we offer the full meal deal packages that build your brand with a foundation in strategy. There are a lot of touch points for brands nowadays. Have you covered them all?