The awkward side of social media

Social media is the next big thing. It’s hot! It’s fresh! It’s….awkward. Yes, I’m talking about those people who really just try too hard (or is it not enough) when it comes to utilizing these emerging media outlets (particularly politicians). We’ll start off with Newt Gingrich announcing that he will be running for President in 2012…via Twitter and YouTube. While Gingrich’s announcement isn’t necessarily awkward, it is a tad on the “beige” side as Jon Stewart would say.

Click the image above to view the clip at the Huffington Post.

Now, for something a little closer to home. Recently, WV held a Gubernatorial Primary to fill the remaining term of former Gov. now Senator Joe Manchin. In this race, one candidate stood out…and not for positive reasons. No, Gubernatorial candidate Arne Moltis’ “viral” campaign was more like a short lived case of diarrhea. After plastering pieces of building equipment complete with hastily written messages in sloppy red lettering all over the area (pieces of siding with his name, pieces of wood directing viewers to his YouTube page, and so on), I decided to check out just what all this fuss was about. Quite honestly, it was more painful than I would have guessed. Feel free to watch this man sing two “love songs” to WV but I don’t blame you if you can’t make it past the first few minutes (or seconds).

To me, this just goes to show you that utilizing social media is not always a good thing. Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube don’t automatically help you get in touch with the younger crowd or even really get your name/brand/product across to a larger audience. Only when you have a well thought out campaign in which you use these elements will you really find success and even then it isn’t guaranteed. Emerging media is a wonderful tool, but like most tools you MUST know how to use it effectively in order for it to work.

Author’s note: Mr. Moltis did not win the WV Gubernatorial Primary.


The Intellectual Property Rights of the Entertainment Industry

I remember when a mixed tape was made by holding a recorder up to the radio or, if you were lucky, recording from one tape to the other on a double tape player. Yes, I said TAPE as in cassette tapes, children, not CDs. Do kids today even know what those lovely magnetic wonders are?

Back then, I honestly don’t recall being in fear of getting sued or going to jail for simply recording the latest NKOTB (New Kids on the Block) song, although I’m sure that is a criminal offense on more than one level by today’s standards. Music was music. You got it however you could and listened to your personal mix of “jams” until your ears bled.

Today, music is different, or at least it just feels different. While Intellectual Property Rights ARE important, I think that music’s heart has gotten replaced by a bottom line somewhere along the way. I mean, seriously, suing 12 year old girls for downloading music illegally? 

I think Comedy Central’s animated show South Park summed up my thoughts on the issue pretty succintly in their episode “Christian Rock Hard”. In the episode, Kyle, Stan, and Kenny get arrested for illegally downloading music. The Detective then shows them just what their illegally downloading music has done to recording artists, dooming them to lives of “only semi-luxury”. Click the photo below to view the episode clip.

Do you think that illegal music/movie downloads have really hurt the Entertainment industry as much as they claim it has? Let’s face it, I don’t see illegal music downloads putting Lady Gaga out on the street (if she’s dressed in a cardboard box/newspaper ensemble, I’m sure that’s only the latest in Gaga chic). And, if it does anything at all, the free sharing of music is bound to assist fans in connecting with the artist’s overall brand.

Author’s note: Now’s the part where I say that I do not advocate downloading music illegally. After all it is illegal.

Shazam! When music and shopping collide…

Have you ever heard a song and just could NOT get it out of your head? Do you ever wonder, “WHO sings that song?!” I had one of those moments a few days ago while watching a Heineken commerical. Turns out the tune was “The Golden Age” by The Asteroids Galaxy Tour. How do I know this? I Shazammed it.

Shazam is an app that listens to music playing nearby and tells you which song it is. Shazam also is, quite honestly, my favorite iPhone app EVER. I even paid (gasp) for this app just to unlock unlimited “shazams”. Once you Shazam a song, you can view information about the artist or even buy the song. Enter Old Navy.

Old Navy’s goal is to build loyalty among its 23-to-35-year-old female customer base. It hired a music house to create songs and videos for Old Navy stores and TV and online ads, said Catherine Rhoades, global communications manager at Gap Inc. Is this interactive marketing effectively pulling in customers? Maybe, maybe not, but those are some catchy, albeit occasionally annoying, tunes. 

Pepsi or Coke? Which side are you on?

Choosing a favorite between Pepsi and Coke is like choosing your side in the great Beatles or Rolling Stones debate. For some people its like choosing your favorite child. Yes, you may like them both, but essentially there is one you like just a tad bit more. Here’s a little background on this age old debate courtesy of

Now, with Coke the obvious leader in the social media game (their Facebook page has nearly 7x the fans of Pepsi), the real question is, what side are you on? I challenge you all to take the DigitalPrairie Pepsi/Coke challenge which covers not only a blind taste test but also cost comparison, brand loyalty, and marketing strategies. Interested? 

To tell you the truth, I’ve always been a Pepsi girl myself (also I have to go with the Beatles on this one) in the Pepsi vs. Coke Debate (although my heart belongs to Dr. Pepper).

Smile for the Barcode Scanner! Spinjitzu Wins at EIMA!

During this year’s (11th annual) Excellence in Interactive Marketing Awards, the winner for Most Effective Use of Games was LEGO (Agency: Blockdot) for the advergame Spinjitzu Smash.

In the “Spinjitzu Smash” mobile version “Scavenger Hunt”, players compete as a karate apprentice, journeying through a rich environment filled with adventure and bloodthirsty opponents — and even a little wisdom.

The key to this mobile advergame lies within its use of the in-phone camera. Players (I’m assuming the majority of which are children) must go to the stores and scan barcodes of different playsets to unlock parts of the game. Although users do not have to purchase any of these products, most parents can assume that one of two things will happen. #1: The child will want the parent to purchase the item or items and the parent will. #2: The child will want the parent to purchase the item or items and the parent will not. We all know the types of scenes that can be created with the latter.

{insert company name here} presents: The Greatest Blog Ever Sold…

Okay so I don’t have any sponsors yet… I wonder if Mane ‘n Tail is available?  Anyway, I’m sure you’ve guessed just what this post will be about. Unicorns, you say? No, not this week, but nice try.

POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold (officially releases April 22) is a documentary about product placement and marketing paid for completely through product placement and marketing deals, essentially unmasking the entire marketing process. Sounds like a good time, right?

Product placements, although nothing new, are EVERYWHERE (including new media outlets: think mobile advergames). Try watching a season of Bones and not seeing a Toyota (or hearing a Toyota pitch by one of the characters)… you can’t! Let’s face it, product placements, although sometimes fun and witty can turn painfully awkward very quickly. Then its off to YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter to discuss how awkward they really are. But doesn’t this still create major amounts of buzz for the companies oh so shamelessly promoted? Hmm….it seems these placements are ingenious in their stupidity.

“I always eat Cheerios when I study but I’m not usually this painfully awkward…”

“Dear Chex Mix, I do NOT taste a million different flavors in my mouth when I eat your product.”

“Wanchai Ferry, it’ll make you feel a little less depressed”

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I must go and drink some smooth, refreshing, Dr. Pepper. Afterall, “There’s nothing like a Dr. Pepper”. {Smile, point to bottle & “I’m a Pepper” T-shirt…}

I wonder if Charlie the Unicorn (or Ke$ha) chews Juicy Fruit gum?

There is just something about unicorns. They’re majestic. They’re whimsical. They’re inspiring. And, apparently, they are a sure bet when it comes to entertainment (See the viral hit Charlie the Unicorn video and Ke$ha’s newest music video “Blow” below). But does a unicorn’s magic hold up against the everyday grind of the marketing scene? Juicy Fruit seems to think so with their “Sweeten Your Friend’s Day” campaign filled to the brim with special Facebook messages (Click Here to go to their Facebook App) and 80’s pop hits lipsynced by, you guessed it, a puppet unicorn. How sweet is that?

The campaign was rolled out in 2010 and continues to gain momentum in 2011. From “belting out” Michael Bolton’s “How am I Supposed to Live Without You” to Boyz II Men’s “On Bended Knee”, this is one smooth unicorn. The newest video features our mythical unicorn friend falling in (and out of) love with none other than Sarah Silverman to the tune of “Angel” by Aerosmith. Now who wants some Juicy Fruit?

Charlie the Unicorn Goes to Candy Mountain

Even Ke$ha is getting into the unicorn spirit…

Author’s Note: No mythical animals were harmed in the making of this blog.