Monday, February 21, 2011


Ohmigosh! An update without an excuse!? What is the world coming to?

Granted it is a minor update but an update nonetheless. What I have planned in the near future is to finish that post I started on super bowl commercials. I know the super bowl was several weeks ago but I can still go over which commercials were successful and why and which ones were horrible and why.

Also that post on talent is coming along nicely.

But I will confess, the real reason for this post is to direct you to my article

I will be posting 2 - 3 times a week there with 200-300 word articles. To be honest I'm not sure how I feel about it. They advertise fare rates but it's me getting paid per page view and with no minimum guarantee. Which means they're using me for page views and traffic and nothing more. I'm cool with that I just wish they would fess up to it. SO! Here is a link to my page, go get me some page views! And if you like it share with your friends, I intend to make the posts fairly funny or fun to read, but I won't ask you to whore out my page, that's my job.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Old Spice, New Marketing.

So, it’s finally time for my take on the awesome ad campaign that was “The Man Your Man can Smell Like” (with corny blog title and everything!)

So, for a quick review, here’s the ad.

Ahh man, Isaiah Mustafa, you are hilarious. 

So the success of this ad is two parts.  The first is a simply being a good commercial; it was smartly targeted, and very very well executed.  The second is how they capitalized on the success they were getting. 

Step 1:  Be Funny.

So, who was this ad aimed at?  Well it was aimed at women first and foremost, and then younger ‘hip’ men (aka the internet crowd).  I say women first because the entire commercial is Mustafa with his shirt off.  We all remember the AXE commercials with copious amounts of scantly clad women.  Most women don’t pay attention to that, but Mustafa is eye candy and it makes them listen.  But the most important thing is the humor.  I really want to know how many takes they did, or if Mustafa is really just that good at spouting awesome bull.  The whole thing was quick and precise and it used old Hollywood magic that keeps you watching to figure out how they did it or if it was done in a single shot. 

Step 2:  Be quick to respond and actually respond!

Now with over 40 million hits after the first week, the marketing team for this NAILED it.  They didn’t let up one bit; they started responding to people making comments about this video.  This is absolutely brilliant because that got MORE people talking about it.  There’s an estimated 1.4 billion impressions through the whole campaign.

So the key to this whole campaign was interacting with the people you’re targeting. Mustafa and crew produced 180 videos throughout the campaign most of them targeting celebrities and other people tweeting about the ad and then subsequent response videos.  Hell one guy even used Mustafa to propose 

This is a change that has to be noted.  The most successful marketing campaign in recent history was so successful because it interacted with its audience.  Welcome to 2011 people.  This is the age where when media is directed at you, and cannot be interacted with, it’s not worth sitting still for.  

The interesting thing about this campaign is how well they managed to interact with their audience with out crossing that ‘creepy’ line or come off as too strong.  They kept the humor outlandish and fun, and people kept coming back to see what new responses were being made. 

So, to wrap things up, the Old Spice campaign is a prime example of how powerful interacting with your audience can be, and producers of media (any media) need to start considering how customers will interact with their media and how to best capitalize on it.  It will be really fun to see how this shakes up the industry, because a 107% sales increase (in the month of July) because of a witty deodorant ad is something to talk about.  

Monday, February 14, 2011

Slight Delay

Yes yes yes, excuses excuses.  That's all I'm good for I know.

It's over 1000!
In my defense though, I was not expecting work, let alone to have to stay an hour later than normal.  That on top of trying to catch up on my reader feeds is....difficult.

As you can see, lots of feeder items, this was taken maybe 10 minutes ago.

I am STILL working on the post I had slated for today.  My goal is to get it done before I go to bed so I can look it over for tomorrow, but no promises.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Busy week and a quick update/post

Yes, it's that time again, it's excuse time!

Not really, I vowed one big post a week, I got one done Monday, my post slated for today is being put on hold seeing as I'm having problems with the Internets.

The post slated for today/should be up Monday night at the latest is about Old Spice and its marketing campaign which has been so successful as to increase their sales by 107%. I have a theory as to why, which involves a more commercial approach to the ARG archetype.

I'm also tinkering with a post on talent and how it does and does not exist. It's fun.

Any who, that's all I've got for a quick update, hope you folks have a great weekend. I'll be back again Monday.

Monday, February 7, 2011


The ARG, or Alternative Reality Game (though ARG! Is a fitting term…they tend to be frustrating.) 

The ARG requires a few things, but the most important are easily an interesting story and know your audience. Meaning, you can’t sell a dull story, and you can’t sell Hello Kitty fanny packs at Sturgis. Now there are always slight exceptions to the rule, but in general you have to aim an ARG like any advertisement, and then get your audience hooked, for the ARG, the bait’s been the line “This Is Not A Game”.

This gets me to my point, an ARG, as it exists now, is a new form of advertisement. It’s rather ingenious, getting people to spend time getting involved in a story based on what you’re selling, I’ll use halo’s ilovebees an an example. Millions of computer gamers read, went through puzzles, waited at pay-phones, answered and sent e-mails, and spent countless hours of their free time in this game; and all they got was a dvd, maybe some honey, and a chance to play Halo 2 before anyone else. 

Now, imagine kids who don’t like to read, and who play video games instead of doing homework, and then introduce them to ILB. Now they think about it, and where as some will only take part a little bit, maybe try and solve a puzzle here and there but get bored of the puzzles, but still follow along with the story, others get more involved, actually solve puzzles with out help and are engrossed in the story, then you get the hard core set who are the first at everything, and who go through movies frame by frame trying to find something. 

Getting that sort of reaction from people, for an advertisement, is impressive. I’m not sure of the costs of an ARG, but from what I’ve read it’s relatively cheap compared to other forms. Of course low production costs don’t limit what an ARG can do, but how much can be done at once.

(Now, I know I’ve been pretty much saying ARG’s are only for profit companies, but there are some non-profit ARG’s out there. But I focus on the profit ones because, 1.) they are more widely known, 2.) they are easier to judge, in terms of success and comparing the success between ARG’s (the LOST ARG vs The Beast).)

In short, a good ARG has a great story, which is very in depth and expands on the Canon or general plot of it’s subject (how ILB became Halo Canon), which should hook people, which should ‘make’ them get involved, changing how they would normally act if they had never bothered with the ARG in the first place. 

Just remember…this is not a game.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Various Forms of the Marketing Future

The next week or two I'm going to post on marketing.  Starting with ARGs, then talking a bit on the Old Spice success, and ending with where I think this new marketing can go, and how it may affect the future.

So, in short, filler post! 

Also, I may go into Super Bowl commercials since they are so conveniently timed to today!  

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Prediction Addiction

Do you have Prediction Addiction? 

Chances are you do, or had it at one point in time.  Prediction Addiction comes from our desires to make sense out of everything, including events that are not predictable like rise and falls of stock markets, the end of the world, ect. 

Actually Jehovah’s Witnesses are a prime example of this.   They’ve had 16 failed predictions since 1877.  That’s about one failed prediction every eight years.  The great thing about this though, is these failed predictions actually strengthen their beliefs.  An example of this is with The Church of the SubGenius.  They predicted that an alien race would wipe out humanity on July 8th, 1998.  When the alien invasion didn’t come some took it as a sign that the aliens were happy with the work the cult was doing and put off the invasion. 

The more recent popular example is the 2012 Mayan Calendar ending.  Oh wait, there was Y2K before that where people thought the computer systems would fail miserably.  And there are countless other examples.  Ranging from the end of Rock and Roll, to the rights of women, to Mad Magazine.  Most of these predictions are pure speculation but the more outrageous the more it spreads like wild fire. 

Y2K is my favorite example of this. 

The Y2K problem is the electronic equivalent of the El NiƱo and there will be nasty surprises around the globe. — John Hamre, United States Deputy Secretary of Defense

Now before I go criticize the response, there were some legitimate problems.  Here’s a quick list taken from Wikipedia

Resulting bugs from date programming
Storage of a combined date and time within a fixed binary field is often considered a solution, but the possibility for software to misinterpret dates remains because such date and time representations must be relative to some known origin. Rollover of such systems is still a problem but can happen at varying dates and can fail in various ways. For example:
                The Microsoft Excel spreadsheet program had a very elementary Y2K problem: Excel (in both Windows and Mac versions, when they are set to start at 1900) incorrectly set the year 1900 as a leap year for compatibility with Lotus 1-2-3.[8] In addition, the years 2100, 2200, and so on, were regarded as leap years. This bug was fixed in later versions, but since the epoch of the Excel timestamp was set to the meaningless date of January 0, 1900 in previous versions, the year 1900 is still regarded as a leap year to maintain backward compatibility.
                In the C programming language, the standard library function to extract the year from a timestamp returns the year minus 1900. Many programs using functions from C, such as Perl and Java, two programming languages widely used in web development, incorrectly treated this value as the last two digits of the year. On the web this was usually a harmless presentation bug, but it did cause many dynamically generated web pages to display January 1, 2000 as "1/1/19100", "1/1/100", or other variants, depending on the display format.[citation needed]
                JavaScript was changed due to the concerns of the Y2K bug, and the return value for years changed and thus differed between versions from sometimes being a four digit representation and sometimes a two-digit representation forcing programmers to rewrite already working code to make sure web pages worked for all versions.[9][10] This forced programmers to change already working code and add checks to see if the returned date was less than 1900 and react accordingly.
                Older applications written for the commonly used UNIX source code control system SCCS failed to handle years that began with the digit "2".
                In the Windows 3.x file manager, dates displayed as 1/1/19:0 for 1/1/2000 (because the colon is the character after 9 in the character set). An update was available.

Now, these are real problems, but they are not a massive banking collapse, no significant problems.  To put it blunt, the significance of the problem was vastly overstated.

So why was it so prevalent?  Why did this, for all intensive purposes, little bug cost over $300 Billion? 

My theory is that it was a really good story.  “2000 bug may induce risky nuclear limbo”, “U.S. Military to Visit Moscow for Millennium Talks”, “Federal Nuclear Unit Ready for Y2K”.  These are actual headlines I cant make this stuff up.  The idea of computers ending the world is one of our guilty pleasures.  We LOVE the idea of some rogue AI or faulty machine ruining the world.  Y2K was that brought to life. 

So the same can be said for this new Mayan fear.  Another guilty pleasure of ours is this romancing of ancient cultures.  This is done one of two ways usually, grossly underestimating their ability, or grossly over estimating their meanings.  The underestimating is shown with those psudohistorians claiming that the pyramids couldn’t have been made in the time frame claimed so ALIENS helped.  The overestimating is the whole end of the world thing. 

Between misconstruing and vastly taking things out of context, we’ve romanticized the 2012 issue to the point where it must be true.  Because there is a great story there about ancient civilizations being so much more advanced than our own that they have a mystical way of telling just when the world will end! 

That sounds so much more fun than “The world will spin round and round indifferent to us.”

Other fun failed predictions: 

85 Bad Predictions about the future.

Top 30 Failed Tech Predictions

Russian Professor Predicts the End of U.S. in 2010

Friday, February 4, 2011

More Blog News!

I am going to merge my two blogs, I hardly have time to write for one, so why have two right?   Besides, given tomorrows post I  figure that this is as good a time as any to announce that I will be predicting and theorizing about the future…hehe.

So, with out further adieu, “Armageddon in a Hand Basket” will now be a part of this blog.  Rejoice!  

Thursday, February 3, 2011

It's Cold. Really Cold. INCONCEIVABLY COLD!

The current temperature outside is -8.  

Yah, it's pretty cold out.  Not the COLDEST I've seen, mind you, I've walked to school when it was -20 out (and snowing.  And it was uphill.  Both ways.  And there was a dragon...)

Anyway, I am taking a more...realistic approach to this blog.  There will probably be no more daily updates, or if there are they will be filler and unsubstantial.

However I will be writing new material, and I shall post it soon...very soon.  Actually I am writing my next post as I type...

My next blog post will be entitled, "Prediction Addiction."  Anticipate it!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Google vs Bing!

So, working on coming back to the blog scene! My whole three followers will be ecstatic!

So I’ll start this post with something taken from the Google Blog

Basically, Bing (Microsoft’s Search Engine) is stealing searches from Google.

It all started with tarsorrhaphy. Really. As it happens, tarsorrhaphy is a rare surgical procedure on eyelids. And in the summer of 2010, we were looking at the search results for an unusual misspelled query [torsorophy]. Google returned the correct spelling—tarsorrhaphy—along with results for the corrected query. At that time, Bing had no results for the misspelling. Later in the summer, Bing started returning our first result to their users without offering the spell correction (see screenshots below). This was very strange. How could they return our first result to their users without the correct spelling? Had they known the correct spelling, they could have returned several more relevant results for the corrected query.

It works pretty reliably too, for instance “bent 42 bacon” returns the same top result on both engines Wrapped Sweet Potato Fries, sounds tasty)

Note: The same top result appears on all engines, but anything about bacon wrapped sweet potato fries is too good to pass up

There are some notable differences however. For instance, “tyfography staw” returns corrected as “Typography star” on both engines, but Google’s results point to Star Trek typography stuff, where as Bing sends you to Star Wars typography posters.

And after a few minutes of comment reading via Gizmodo it looks like this isn’t illegal. To quote the VERY FIRST comment,
“Bing is not "stealing" google search results. They are data mining through an OPT-IN program that google knowingly agreed to, and now google is attempting to use it for PR purposes.”

Both have good points, Google’s pissed that Bing can freely, “steal” search results a few weeks after they’re posted on Google, conveniently side stepping the years it took to perfect the complex searching and logging algorithms that Google uses. But on the other hand, it’s like still pushing dial-up when we can use broadband Internet, Microsoft has the information in their hands via the methods they’re using to get these results, and they’re accurate results.

It also will not stop Microsoft from developing their own search algorithms because why wait a week to get a search result from Bing when you can get it today from Google?