Sunday, November 30, 2008

Short Films and Advertising

The wonderful world of short films! See, my true love of Communications has always been media and with my love of media I have created short films ranging from inspirational music videos to very corny comedies. I have always been a fan of short films and videos with a plot since they tend to have a story to tell. To me, it doesn't matter how pretty the actresses or singers are, or how good they dance, all that matters in this visual media is the plot, the theme, and how well it is portrayed.

For example, how many of you have watched Nickelback's "Someday" video? If you haven't, I highly recommend it since it is one of the best musical short films I have ever seen. Seriously, go check it it now! I'll wait.... There's no random dance scene or questions such as "why is she on another planet?" or "why is he surrounded by flashing lights?" It follows the basic plot to any good short film (West Virginia University, P.I. Reed School of Journalism, 2008):

1) A protagonist- Who is the main character?
2) A goal- What do they want to achieve
3) Action- What do they do to achieve it?
4) Conflict/Obstacle- What stands in their way?
5) Climax- Where does the story build?
6) Resolution/Denouement- How does it end?

I could talk forever about the subject of great film, plots, cinematography, Aristotle drama, etc. However, I bet you are wondering what in the world does this have to do with new media and marketing? Audiences are starting to become bored with commercials. Consumers have become so desensitized with the commercial-heavy media that advertisers have to continually push the envelope to draw in more consumers and become memorable ('Bleeping' ads proving a winner with U.S.audiences, 2008).

When it comes to gathering the attention of the masses, advertisers have a limited number of ideas they can try. They could use "shock value" and push the envelope on sexuality, violence, crude language, etc. They can try to create something unique such as the Pepsi Cola campaign where they had Beyoncee, Pink, and Britney Spears sing a cover of Queen's "We Will Rock You" (Durrett, 2004). With the popularity of viral video, many companies have turned to utilizing the marketing potential of short films.

One very interesting point that was made during the discussion on short films was the aspect of ethics. Usually, most people would think, "It's a short film. It's fiction. What does ethics have to do with it?" Well, the difference between a short film for entertainment and a short film for advertisement is that advertisements are suppose to convince a consumer to purchase a product and/or service. Two videos that were brought up in the conversation was the "Evolution" film by Dove's Campaign for Real Beauty and the "Citizen/Soldier" musical short film by the National Guard (song performed by Three Doors Down).

Dove's short film goes through a common process of editing to help transform a normal person into beautiful model for a billboard advertisement. The Campaign for Real Beauty is suppose to encourage women to see the beauty within themselves and to criticize the media's portrayal of unrealistic beauty. However, one ethical problem that Dove currently faces with this type of campaign involves its own unnatural portrayals of "normal" women. Pascal Dangin, a photo retoucher for photographer Annie Lebovitz, claimed that he did some retouches on these "natural" photographs to "keep everyone’s skin and faces showing the mileage but not looking unattractive." Dove would not deliver a statment on the issue, but these contradiction actions does create a few questions about the morality of a company that will use the same tactics that their campaign is supposedly trying to criticize (Dove's 'real beauty' campaign isn't real, 2008).

If this does not seem like a big enough ethical debate for you, then lets take the film created to advertise for the National Guard. I must admit, I enjoy Three Doors Down and have been a fan of theirs since the song "Kryptonite". My views and politics about the war in Iraq should not matter in this discussion. What I want to focus on is the same thing that many within the discussion were pondering: Is it ethical to try and sell young people on the idea of going to war? As a couple of individuals mentioned, yes the Armed Forces do need troops and advertising can be a good way to recruit the masses. However, many criticize this film and the other tactics the National Guard uses to recruit troops claiming that these tactics “glamorize warfare, omit vital information and fail to point out the risks and responsibilities associated with a Forces career,” (Harding, 2008).

When I first read this discussion, an episode of the Simpsons popped into my head where Bart joins a boy band called the Party Posse. They sing a song called "Drop Da Bomb" and within the video are beautiful ladies dressed in veils and bikin's singing "yvan eht nioj" which is later discoverd in the episode to say "join the navy". I couldn't find a decent video clip, but the song is on youtube if you want to look for it. However, I think this fits well with the ethical discussion of the National Guard's short film. The short film does not go as far as the Party Posse video, but it does lead one to wonder where the Armed Forces should draw the line when it comes to this kind of advertising and recruitment

I can not wait to hear your comments on these ethical issues or on short films in general. I believe in the power of short films and advertising, but at the same time I find the topic of ethics to be interesting as well. Has anyone seen any interesting short films that they want to share? Feel free to comment if you have.

'Bleeping ads proving a winner with U.S. audiences. UTalkMarketing. Retrieved November 30, 2008, from

Dove's 'real beauty' campaign isn't real! The Cut. Retrieved November 30, 2008, from

Durrett, M. (2004, January 30). We will rock you--Pepsi gladiator commercial. Retrieved November 30, 2008, from

Harding, T. (2008, January 8) Report claims Army ads 'glamorize war.’ The Telegraph. Retrieved on November 30, 2008 from

West Virginia University, P.I. Reed School of Journalism (2008, August 18). Lesson 6: The reel deal: Short films & streaming media. Retrieved November 30, 2008, from

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Blog Advertising Results

First of all, I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. I know I had a wonderful Thanksgiving and took part in a very interesting discussion about short films and advertising. I shall make an entry about this discussion shortly, so keep your eyes open for an interesting discussion on advertisements in the form of short films.

A couple of weeks ago, I was asked to develop a few ways to build traffic for this blog. At first, I was a bit shocked to advertise outside of the class, but I know that blogs have often given me vital information for my concepts, so if I can help others with my posts then all the better. Here are the three different forms of advertising for this blog site that were considered:

One form of creating buzz is through viral marketing. Viral marketing is basically any online strategy created by the marketer that encourages users to spread the message being promoted to others (West Virginia University, P.I. Reed School of Journalism, 2008). One example of viral marketing that can be used to market a blog or any product is to create an interesting and/or entertaining viral video that captures the audience’s attention and promotes the blog. For example, when the company that produces Mentos decided to take advantage of the Mentos and Diet Coke experiment by creating a viral video contest, the company gained over $10 million in free advertising (Fueling the Mentos and Diet Coke explosion, 2006). By creating and/or hosting interesting viral videos and promoting them through sites such as YouTube and other social networks, the blogger can raise blog views and create an audience.

Another way to promote blog traffic is by posting the blog site on blog directories and search engines. Blog directories such as and lists your blog on their directories so individuals can search through the directory to find blog and/or information the user wants to read (Blogcatalog, 2008). Another blog network to use is Blogburst, “which syndicates content across American newspaper’s websites,” though this type of networking can have a downside since the blogger loses certain rights to their work. A blog carnival can is also a form of promoting not only the individual’s blog, but the blog carnival that the blogger posts on will also promote other blogs within the network (Hung, 2007).

A third option to promote a blog is to spend money on buying a site and advertising. One example is to buy a domain name and host a blog on this site rather than a hosted site that does not allow the user to use a specific domain name (Odden, 2006). Another form of advertising is through Google AdSense, where an individual or business advertises through Google which places ads on other websites and the individual and/or business earns money. These ads are only placed on other pages in which the content relates to the individual and/or business site (What is Google AdSense, 2008).

The first option I have decided to try for marketing this blog is the more realistic approach of using search engines and directories. The first site I used was Yahoo! Search Engine. I submitted my site under the free search engine listings and it actually said that it may take weeks before it is listed. Which has been a disappointment, but as a marketer there are other options available.

The second option I used was the ever popular Google. I used the free service and while I am now contemplating adding the Google AdSense to my arsenal of marketing tools, I wanted to give free advertising a try. I also used the Google Webmaster Tools to add crawl stats and subscriber stats. These stats can come in handy for when I want to check to see page activity. My site is still listed among the "low" ranking since last week, but I do hope to build these ranks even more by posting on a more organized schedule.

Due to the low traffic, I decided recently to add my blog to the blog directories in hopes of boosting traffic. The first site I tried was the Blog Hub since it was considered to be one of the top twenty blog directories (Baker, 2007). Another site I recently loaded my blog link to was Bloggernity. I am thinking about possibly incorporating other methods such as viral video, short-film advertising, and possibly partnering with another blog in order to team up for cross-promotional advertising (my favorite kind of advertising).

If anyone has any tips/suggestions please let me know. Should I join Google AdSense? Or will the addition of these types of advertisements cause the blog to lose the credibility it has?
Baker, L. (2007, November 20). 20 essential blog directories to submit your blog to. Search Engine Journal. Retrieved November 29, 2008, from

Blogcatalog. Retrieved November 29, 2008, from

Fueling the Mentos and Diet Coke explosion. OmniNerd. Retrieved November 29, 2008, from

Hung, T. (2007, January 11). How to market your blog in 2007. ProBlogger. Retrieved November 29, 2008, from

Odden, L. (2006, June 15). 25 tips for marketing your blog. Top Rank Online Marketing. Retrieved November 29, 2008, from

West Virginia University, P.I. Reed School of Journalism. (2008, August 18). Lesson 3: Creating buzz: Viral marketing, crowdsourcing & blogs. Retrieved November 29, 2008, from

What is Google AdSense? Google. Retrieved November 29, 2008, from

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Television On The Internet

Remember the old days where if you wanted to watch a show, but were too busy to see it during it's regular time, you either had to tape it or you ended up missing it and have to depend on reruns? Remember the days when Tivo was this amazing machine that recorded your shows while you were gone and you could come home and watch what you recorded? Well, ladies and gentlemen, there is a new form of watching shows and it's called...drum-roll please...the Internet.

Now, before you pull out your torches and pitchforks and start calling the FCC for illegal downloads, there is something we need to discuss first. Yes, I know there is a debate going on about whether or not it's right to watch television via the internet. However, before you start pillaging Hulu and burning YouTube at the stake, we should look at the pros and cons of this type of medium.

In November 2007, the Writers Guild of America officially declared a strike against the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers when both members failed to create a new agreement after the old agreement expired. Part of the reason was due to the argument that writers should be paid more for movies and television shows that went to DVD along with movies and shows that were broadcast over the internet (Cieply, 2007).

With the fear of numerous shows halting production due to the lack of writers, one man decided to take the bull by the horns and find a loophole. David Letterman, a late-night talkshow host on CBS and owner of World Wide Pants, Inc., decided to step in and hold a special discussion between his company--which owns both his own Late Show and the Late Late Show w/ Craig Ferguson--and the Writers Guild. The big discussion was about how writers would be paid for movies and shows that were broadcast on new media such as the Internet. However, Letterman and the guild came to a separate agreement: CBS will continue to hold the digital rights to both shows, but Letterman's World Wide Pants, Inc. will reimburse the writers in full for any money that CBS makes off of the new media format. The writer's agreed and Letterman and Ferguson were able to return to work eight weeks later with their writers while other networks had to wait even longer since they were owned by the official networks (which were the WGA's opposition) (Farhi, 2007).

Originally, watching downloaded or streaming television on the computer was considered illegal. In some cases, it may still be considered illegal if it is being distributed by an outside party rather than by the official company. You also have companies such as Viacom who demanded that any Viacom and/or subsidiary videos be removed from YouTube's server since Viacom did not originally see the marketing potential behind having videos online (Viacom demands for YouTube to remove unauthorized videos, 2007). However, more and more companies are starting to see the profitable potential of hosting shows on their sites.

For example, hosts videos from networks such as FOX and NBC. The difference is that Hulu uses paid advertisments that users have to watch in order to see the rest of the video (Deleon, 2008). On the CBS site, users now have to watch commercials--such as the Ford Flex--in order to see videos on the site. Even Viacom, who earlier removed all Viacom-affliated videos from YouTube, is now hosting full episodes on some of their websites such as Comedy Central.

So, does this mean that streaming video and video websites are legal? Not quite. It depends on who is distributing the videos and whether or not it is an act of copyright infringement. Also, there are some countries--such as England--that consider video streaming online to be illegal since many users do not pay a television license to watch streaming video. However, I guess it depends upon what is within the legalities of the user and the company. The safest thing to do is to watch the shows when they come on television--so the Nielsen Ratings will stop having a heart attack over low ratings because of more internet television watchers--and avoid online video. However, if you want to watch video online, go for it, but make sure you do not live in a place that requires a television license nor should you upload full episodes or seasons onto YouTube. Just to be on the safe side.
Cieply, M. (2007, November 5). Writers begin strike as talks break off. New York Times. Retrieved November 23, 2008, from

Deleon, N. (2008, November 17). Why is Hulu more valuable to advertisers than YouTube? CrunchGear. Retrieved November 23, 2008, from

Farhi, P. (2007, December 29). Letterman and writers strike deal, gives CBS the edge. Washington Post. Retrieved November 23, 2008, from

Viacom demands for YouTube to remove unauthorized videos. International Hearld Tribune. Retrieved November 23, 2008, from

Mobile Marketing

I remember when I was given my first mobile phone. It was from T-Mobile and it was a "pay as you go" phone that my friend in England gave me since all the college kids used texting and mobile phones to contact one another. Then, this past summer I finally purchased my first cell phone from Verizon. It is a Motorola RAZR with a limited amount of text messages alotted per month. It's amazing how much phones have changed within over a century, but what very few people think about is how much marketing has changed in comparison of the times.

When we think of new media, we usually think of web pages, streaming videos, banners, etc. However, mobile marketing is starting to take hold with the popularity of mobile phones and texting on the rise. One reason for the recent rise in mobile marketing is the number of mobile registrants. There are over 3.3 billion mobile phone subscriptions and more than half of world-wide subscriptions have text messaging capabilities (West Virginia University, P.I. Reed School of Journalism, 2008). For those interested in marketing to the profitable Generation Y, over fifty percent of teens own a mobile phone and a quarter of all 18-24 year olds own a phone with internet access (Krotz, 2008). Among the teens between 13-17 years old, 77 percent of teens claim to text on a daily basis (Navigating the teen media experience, 2008).

One vital point that was mentioned about mobile marketing was the timing of the mobile message. During one discussion about mobile marketing and Victoria's Secret, the integrated marketing communications practitioner explained that she chose Black Friday because consumers would be interested in coupons and savings on this day. For those who have never heard of Black Friday, it occurs the day after Thanksgiving when stores lower prices in order to kick off the holiday season (The black friday 2008: Frequently asked questions, 2008). When it came to mobile marketing during Black Friday, they mentioned sending codes to the consumer's cell phone, and by sending these codes to the consumers, they would be able to collect discounts. Along with the discounts, the "Angel Cards" (Victoria Secret credit cards) spending can be measured and additional discounts or points can be given to individuals via mobile phone depending on how much money they spend. This could promote more spending and the building blocks of brand loyalty through rewards.

Another point that was mentioned during the discussion was the idea of mobile marketing benefitting companies that most consumers would never think could benefit from such a program. One example of this was in relation to a movie theater and utilizing mobile marketing to encourage movie-goers to visit a local movie theater. Examples for the mobile message included using another loyalty credit card and gain extra points (or credit) on the consumer's ticket purchase. The reason why this intrigued me was when another member made the comment of how he/she found it ironic that mobile devices could be used to benefit a theater since he/she found mobile devices to be the cause of why he/she disliked attending the theater. There is a bit of irony in using a device that the theaters tell you to turn off before the movie begins as a way to convince people to attend the shows. Especially when cell phones--ringing and answered--are listed #3 and #2 respectedly among theater annoyances (Top 10 theater annoyances, 2005).

So, when it comes to mobile marketing, it seems as though anything is possible. Whether it is through the creation of brand loyalty through cards or by utilizing marketing codes in order to redeem discounts. However, one thing that was not mentioned as often was the idea of using more interactive features such as mobile gaming or text applets. Thes tools came in handy when Adidas wanted to build their soccer fanbase in England with the "Road to Lisbon" campaign. During this campaign, Adidas took a chance on mobile marketing and utilized a text applet that would update soccer fans in real time about their favorite teams; allow for wallpaper and video downloads; and there was even a Euro 2004 video game developed specifically for the mobile phone. While the campaign did not fully infiltrate the 12-24 year old market, it did open the market for more fans of soccer to relate the game with Adidas footwear (Wesley, 2005).

With the upcoming capabilities of 4G wireless, and the constant improvements on cell phones, it is hard to tell what could be next in the future of mobile marketing. Possibly advertising within mobile games? Infrared technology where phones can wirelessly link to one another and allow a technician to connect to a phone via another phone or computer? Maybe ET will be texting his ride to come pick him up instead of calling home.
Krotz, J.L. Tough customers: How to reach Gen Y. Microsoft Small Business Center. Retrieved November 23, 2008, from

Navigating the teen media experience. Longitudinal Media Experience. Retrieved November 23, 2008, from

The black friday 2008: Frequently asked questions. The Black Friday. Retrieved November 21, 2008, from

Top 10 theater annoyances. Movies For Guys. Retrieved November 23, 2008, from

Wesley, D. (2005). The brand in the hand: Mobile marketing at Adidas. Northeastern University, College of Business Administration.

West Virginia University, P.I. Reed School of Journalism (2008, August 18). Lesson 5: Can you hear me now? M2M, advergaming, in-game branding & RSS feed. Retrieved November 23, 2008, from

Friday, November 21, 2008

Marketing to Youngsters

Wow, it's amazing what could happen in the fast-moving chaos of life. Speaking of fast-moving, companies are no longer wasting precious time when it comes to creating consumers. With over sixty-million members within Generation Y, marketers are taking a look at these members--some of the oldest members barely in college--to see how they can take advantage of the young market (Neuborne, 1999). These members are buying cars, clothes, toys and are taking advantage of their parents wallets.

However, there is a question that has been circulating the ethics department of marketing to younger audiences. How young is too young? This question has been disputed over and over by numerous experts and others such as CEO's of companies, child researchers, reporters, and even psychologists. In order to develop an accurate opinion on the matter, the pros and cons of marketing to children need to be analyzed and each argument needs to be heard.

Against Child Marketing

As consumers, many of us do not have a problem differentiating between products that are worth buying and products that are best left on the shelf. While some adult consumers do fall for gimmicks such as "lose 10 pounds in 2 days on the Hollywood Diet", many of us know that advertisements tend to exaggerate. After all, Axe bodyspray does not cause women from within a 30 yard radius to leap on the wearer and rip his clothes off of his body (though, it might not chase them away either unless you wear too much or to little). Also, wearing a shade of lipstick that is endorsed by a supermodel will not make you look like a supermodel (though, it might make your lips a pretty shade of red). Many consumers know this information because they have knowlege and experience to scrutinize this type of advertising.

The problem is that childrens minds--until they reach a certain level of understanding--may not be able to differentiate as easily between advertisement claims and actual results. Ken Viselmann, CEO of Itsy Bitsy Entertainment, even believes that marketing to children under 5 is improper since they lack the cognitive abilities to understand advertising (Hood, 2000). Along with the cognitive inability to scrutinize these advertisements, there are other downfalls to child advertising that impact children more than the companies believe.

Iowa Senator Tom Harkin believes that advertising and marketing “is a factor in childhood obesity, in eating disorders, precocious irresponsible sexuality, youth violence, underage drinking” along with becoming mini-shopaholics (Couric, 2007). For example, thirty percent of kids between the ages of 6 through 19 are considered obese, which this number is double the amount of kids listed as obesed twenty years ago. What has caused this sharp rise in obesity rates? One of the factors included was the seditary lifestyle that children have developed. Children are more likely to sit in front of the telvision or computer and immerse themselves in all sorts of shows, music, and advertising rather than going outside to play. Also, kids that tend to watch more television also tend to eat more fast food and other unhealthy foods (Drucker, 2004).

What does advertising have to do with the rise in obesity? According to Brian Wilcox, psychologist and Professor of Psychology and Director of the Center on Children, Families and the Law at the University of Nebraska, kids are being bombarded by over 40,000 television commercials a year and this information is worriedsome because "the most common products marketed to children are sugared cereals, candies, sweets, sodas and snack foods. Such advertising of unhealthy food products to young children contributes to poor nutritional habits that may last a lifetime and be a variable in the current epidemic of obesity among kids” (Willenz, 2004).

Another impact of advertising is the forceful desensitizing and sexualizing of younger children. Marketers are even taking part in convincing tweens (8-12 year olds) into buying sexy stuff through “age compression”, or pushing adult products and teen attitudes onto younger children (Buying into sexy: The sexing up of tweens, 2005). Teens and tweens are becoming more and more sexualized and desensitized to the adult content that is on television.

Pro Child Marketing

With all of these negatives, why should marketers consider marketing to young children? First of all, there's a large market when it comes to younger children. Markets that sell material suited for 0-3 year olds make over $20 billion dollars a year (Couric, 2007). Even though this is a lot of money, the money that parents spend on children or because of the opinions of children boosts the marketing potential toward children to a new high. According to the National Institute on Media and the Family, "children 12 years and under, directly and indirectly, influenced the household spending of over $600 billion" (Fact Sheet, 2002). With these numbers, it is no wonder why marketers and advertising companies would want to market to such a young audience.

Another argument for marketing to this type of audience is because of the way these kids are growing up in today's society. The kids of today are now becoming more aware of television and other forms of media. In fact, Alvin Poussaint, a psychiatry professor at Harvard Medical School, states that kids over the age of eight can analyze and distinguish between what commercials say and what the reality is behind these products (Hood, 2000). Children growing up in a society where television has always been around and they can not remember not having the internet are supposedly more socialized when it comes to commericals and the media in general. Therefore, the children of today should not be compared to the children of the past.

Who Wins?

It depends on your opinion. I certainly do not have the answer, just my own opinions on the matter. This discussion could go on forever, but I will allow you--the reader--to distinguish between ethics and marketing intelligence. Some say that Barbie and Bratz dolls are poison to girl's self-esteem. Others who grew up playing with dolls and end up feeling self-confident as adults do not see the harm in imagination or these dolls. They are just toys, right? Feel free to comment with your own opinions or evidence.

Couric, K. (2007, May 14). The hard sell: Marketing to kids. CBS Evening News. Retrieved November 21, 2008, from

Buying into sexy: The sexing up of tweens. (2005). CBC Marketplace. Retrieved November 21, 2008, from

Drucker, R. (2004). To your health--CHRC Newsletter. Palo Alto Medical Foundation. Retrieved November 21, 2008, from

Fact sheet. National Institute of Media and the Family. Retrieved November 21, 2008, from

Hood, D. (2000, November 1). Is advertising to kids wrong? Marketers responds. Kidscreen. Retrieved November 21, 2008, from

Neuborne, E. (1999, February 15). Generation Y. BusinessWeek. Retrieved November 21, 2008, from

Willenz, P. (2004, February 23). Television advertising leads to unhealthy habits in children; says APA task force. American Psychological Association. Retrieved November 21, 2008, from

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Unofficial Blogs

Unofficial blogs can be harmful or beneficial to any company. This week, the discussion is based on unofficial blogs and discovering the usefulness of these blogs in a marketing aspect. There was a wide array of blogs ranging from technology companies, college fanblog, and even a slightly biased blog about Wal-Mart. While analyzing these blogs, a few interesting points were brought up within the discussion that I felt needed to be stressed.

The first one that caught my attention was the Wal-Mart Watch blog. This blog was of particular interest to me since I do have a couple of relatives that work as cashiers for Wal-Mart. The blog is basically a critical blog that outlines the negatives of the Wal-Mart corporation. I don't mind bias, since everyone has the ability to be subjective and even a bit bias sometimes. The problem with full-blown bias, in my opinion, comes when this form of bias is met with conflicting information. One example of this is the movie "Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price", which brings out interesting information about the horrific practices of Wal-Mart (Wal-Mart: The high cost of low price, 2008). On the other side of this are the sites and shows that attempt to refute these negative claims such as Penn and Teller's "B.S." which attempts to show those who are against Wal-Mart that this company is actually benefitting many individuals and communities (Schoenberg, 2007). The debates about Wal-Mart tend to be so numerous that sites such as Reclaim Democracy have both pro- and anti-Wal-Mart links posted on the site (though the site is leaning against the company).

While this debate may not have an end, one thing that seems easy to answer is that the Wal-Mart Watch blog is a good test to see how Wal-Mart deals with damage control. One way that Wal-Mart has chosen to deal with this form of negative publicity is to work "directly with bloggers, feeding them exclusive nuggets of news, suggesting topics for postings and even inviting them to visit its corporate headquarters" (Barbaro, 2006). While this practice may seem a bit corrupt, it helps to remember the advice of Thomas Mitchell when it comes to gathering information through the media in general: "Read and watch with a skeptical eye and you can get the facts while evaluating the tone and spin without being hoodwinked" (2008).

Another blog that caught my attention was actually a surprising blog that many individuals would probably not consider to be "entertaining". The Google Maps Mania website has taken a topic like Google maps and has placed an entertaining and humorous twist to the use of these maps. Here is an example of one of the more recent posts from the site (Clarke, 2008):

"This year Budweiser have decided to brew a new beer, Budweiser American Ale. The beer is brewed with caramel malted barley and has a 'noticeably citrus aroma'. If that has whetted your appetite you can use the Bud Map to find the nearest bar that serves the ale.

To use the map just enter your zip code and the nearest bars will be shown on the map. The map should help you find the way to your nearest bar - although there are no promises that you will able to find your way home again."

The site presents a humorous yet informational way of presenting information about Google to the masses (West Virginia University, P.I. Reed School of Journalism, 2008). I believe that Google should definitely examine this site for ideas in marketing their Google Map and Google Earth products. The power of comedy can be very effective when it comes to advertising. In fact, many Super Bowl commercials lean more toward the comedic side within their advertisements (Weaver, 2004).


Barbaro, M. (2006, March 7). Wal-Mart enlists bloggers in P.R. campaign. New York Times. Retrieve November 9, 2008, from

Mitchell, T. (2008, October 28). Everyone talks about bias but nobody does anything about it. Review Journal. Retrieved November 9, 2008, from

Schoenberg, C. (Writer), & Kessler, J.E. (Director). (2007). Wal-Mart Hatred [Television series episode]. In Yampolski, A. (Producer), Penn & Teller: Bullshit! Los Angeles.

Wal-Mart: The high cost of low price. Wal-Mart Movie. Retrieved November 9, 2008, from

Weaver, J. (2004, February 3). Comedy is king in super bowl ads. NBC Sports. Retrieved November 9, 2008, from

West Virginia University, P.I. Reed School of Journalism. (2008, August 18). Lesson 3: Creating buzz: Viral marketing, crowdsourcing & blogs. Retrieved November 9, 2008, from

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Why Should Companies Blog?

This week's discussion leads us down the road of corporate blogging. The challenge was to find an "unofficial blog", analyze the information, and interpret how this information could be useful to companies discussed within the unofficial blog. I had found an interesting blog about Apple products and all sorts of tips to use these products, but one question entered my mind this morning: "Why should companies blog?"

With over 230 million people in the US accessing the Internet, it is no surprise that companies want to infiltrate this new form of potential marketing (Top 20 countries with the highest number of Internet users, 2008). However, there are some negatives to the idea of company blogging. JupiterMedia CEO, and company blogger, Alan Meckler stated that blogs were generally not the best form of marketing in terms of revenue growth and estimates that up to ninety-nine percent of all blogs are useless in terms of marketing. He even went on to mention, "In any given day, I’ll get 20 to 30 comments. Four are valid, the rest are spam" (Baker, 2005). Besides the threats of spam and non-constructive insults, there tends to be a ton of regulatory hoops that company bloggers must jump through since public statements by one individual from the company can have a tremendous impact on the entire company. With all the work that press release teams, public relations staff, and other external relations committees place into building a company's image and reputation; it would take numerous trust from the company to rely on a person(s) to run a company blog without disclosing company secrets or creating harmful libel that competitors could use against the company (McIntosh, 2003).

There are risks to creating blogs, but there are also multiple benefits to creating a company blog. One of the most important factors into building a blog is to build trust between the consumer and the company. According to the co-founder of Nubricks, consumer confidence "is at an all-time low." By creating a blog, a company can build an online image and help to create trust by allowing the consumer to see the company as an open and informative company that will not keep secrets from their consumers (Samuel, 2007). There are many other reasons why blogging could be an effective marketing tool depending on what purpose the business has for the blog. I have listed a few ways that blogging can be beneficial for businesses (Wacka, 2008):

* Become the Expert- Create a company image portraying the company as a leader in innovation

* Customer Relationships- A company can build a more personal relationship between the consumer and the business. Blogs can be a quick way for the company to join customer discussion, divulge tips and information, or receive constructive feedback.

* Internal Collaboration- Blogs can be a great tool for internal affairs within the office. Having an internal blog means individuals can update one another about their progress without spending time creating long reports or filling up inboxes.

* Test Ideas- Blogs are considered to be a more relaxed form of communication. Businesses can use blogs to mention ideas and evaluate how the audience reacts. They can use the information to see how consumers may respond to the idea/product and what the company needs to change or enhance.

*Rank High in Search Engines- Many search engines tend to favor sites that "are updated often, that link to other sites and most importantly, that have many inbound links." By starting a corporate blog, the rise in visitation levels could boost the ranking of the site and allow it to appear more often or higher on search engine lists.

Interacting with consumers can be a balancing act for most companies. On the one hand, the company does not want to be seen as a secretive and distrusting, therefore creating less publicity and less sales. On the other hand, revealing too much information can give the competition the edge in creating a competitive product or the information could indirectly create libel if the blogger is not careful about what is said on the page. Either way, blogging can be used to benefit companies and this might be one of the reasons why companies have not attempted to shut down every single blog site that endorses their product. Even Meckler, who does not believe that most blogs have marketing potential, acknowledges that blogging can be "therapeutic, and beneficial for the company" (Baker, 2005).

Baker, S. (2005, April 27). Who should blog at a company? Business Week. Retrieved November 6, 2008, from

McIntosh, N. (2003, September 29). Why blogs could be bad for business. The Guardian. Retrieved November 6, 2008, from

Samuel, A. (2007). Creating an online personality to help generate sales. Global Edge. Retrieved November 6, 2008, from

Top 20 countries with the highest number of internet users. Internet World Stats. Retrieved November 6, 2008, from

Wacka, F. (2008). Why blog for business? Corporate Blogging. Retrieved November 6, 2008, from

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Social Media Meets Hollywood

I remember when I first signed up for facebook and it was only used for college students to stay in contact. Then, I remember joining myspace and thinking that it was just a fancy version of facebook where you write comments and decorate the page. Within the past few years, I remember going from just a college focused facebook to watching Rick Sanchez on CNN trying to keep in touch with his audience via facebook, twitter, and YouTube.

It's not just Rick Sanchez who is utilizing this form of media. CNN has been recruiting other reporters to use facebook and they even turn their own visitors into reporters through their iReport website. Users can upload their videos onto the site where a few chosen videos may appear on CNN (iReport, 2008). The site also has the "traditional" form of social communication such as forums, polls, and e-mail.

Celebrities are also taking part in more socialized media. One example is all the bands that upload their songs, videos, and blogs on myspace. Bowling For Soup has a myspace page where they use the bulletins to update fans on their tour schedule, a music player so fans can listen to their music and add songs to their individual playlists, a blog to give more updates to fans, and links for fans to purchase and download music (Bowling for soup, 2008). Stan Lee, the famous creator of Spiderman and X-Men comics, uses myspace to keep in touch with fans, post fan-art, promote his new media and entertainment company, and alert fans of his appearances (Stan Lee, 2008).

With this kind of exposure, there are a few problems that can develop. For example, there is a phenomenon called flaming which is the "deliberate act of posting or writing messages on internet bulletin boards and message groups that have the intent of insulting or creating dissent" (Ellis-Christensen, 2008). Users will often flame members or celebrities, especially on forums. Along with flaming, many users will often develop fake profiles pretending to be celebrities, bands, or even other normal users. So, how do news and celebrity sites combat these types of attacks?

To stop flaming and false information, CNN employees will often fact-check and view videos that are posted before broadcasting them on their website or on their station. The site also has a feature where employees review all posts and will only allow posts that are approved by CNN (The forum, 2008). Comedian Weird Al Yankovich came up with an even more clever idea. On his myspace page, he put a link to his website, and then on his website, he placed a link to his myspace page. He even tells his audience on myspace, "Go ahead, check Hit the MySpace link. See if it brings you right back to this page. Go ahead. I'll wait.
See? It's really me" (Weird Al, 2008).

As you can probably see, the gap between fans and the famous is starting to slowly close as celebrities and other media sites are entering the social media zone. In fact, just a few minutes ago I was watching an episode of "King of the Hill" with an episode called "Lost in Myspace" and discussed the activities of using myspace for Strickland Propane. It shown some of the negative aspects of using myspace, but it also shows how far this type of new media has come from a few years ago when myspace was barely a blimp on the screen and facebook was more oriented toward college students.
Bowling for soup. Myspace Music. Retrieved November 2, 2008, from

Ellis-Christensen, T. (2008). What is flaming? Wise Geek. Retrieved November 2, 2008, from

iReport. CNN. Retrieved November 2, 2008, from

Stan Lee. Myspace. Retrieved November 2, 2008, from

The forum. CNN Politics. Retrieved November 2, 2008, from

Weird Al. Myspace Music. Retrieved November 2, 2008, from

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Traditional vs New Media

This week, the discussion was all about the battle between traditional media and new media. When discussing the future of traditional and new media, there are numerous questions that must be considered including: Will any traditional/new media become obsolete? Will traditional technology learn to adapt and evolve into the new media realm? Is traditional media still useful? What new technology is becoming available?

First of all, traditional media and new media needs to be defined in order to build a criteria for analysis. Traditional media is defined as "print, radio, TV, yellow pages, and even outdoor ads" (Using traditional media in your B2B marketing programs, 2007). Traditional media, in a marketing sense, utilizes numerous forms of media such as direct marketing, printed advertisements, radio and television commercials, etc. New media, on the other hand, is "a form of communicating in the digital world" which includes formats such as the internet, electronic publishing on CD-ROM, DVD, digital television, podcasting, etc. (Definition of: New media, 2008). A vast amount of advertising dollars are being spent on new media advertising such as banners, pop-up advertisements, widgets, etc.

The first point that was made within the discussion is the idea of traditional media not becoming obsolete within the next fifty years. Some points were made that traditional media would adapt to new media, but the idea of traditional media entirely fading away at such a rapid rate did not seem realistic. In fact, there have been studies done at universities such as Iowa State where the findings disprove the idea of traditional media falling behind new media. In this study, there were dramatic increases in the use of new media, but there was a slight increase in the use of traditional media as well. The pattern that developed, according to this research, is "people don't actually drop their old habits--or if they do, they do very slowly over a long period of time--but they create new habits very quickly." Therefore, companies may want to continue to advertise on both formats for the time being until more dramatic results form between new media and traditional media (Young, 2008).

The second interesting point was a discussion about the future of one form of traditional media in particular: newspapers. While newspaper website views have increased by 8 percent, weekly subscriptions have fallen by 2.5 percent with Sunday subscriptions falling by 3.1 percent. This movement is in part due to the younger generation and their enthusiasm toward new media (Caverly, 2006). However, the extinction of newspapers has been predicted over the past twenty years, yet they are still being read and circulations still exist. There have been predictions in the past that other forms of news media such as cable news would make newspapers a fading memory, but newspapers continue to defend its existence against competition from other news sources. While researchers such as Philip Meyer believe newspapers will become extinct within the next fifty years, predicting the extinction of media is often a hit and miss situation (Farhi, 2005).

Caverly, D. (2006, May 9). Newspaper sales fall, web traffic increases. WebProNews. Retrieved November 1, 2008, from

Definition of: New media. PC Magazine. Retrieved November 1, 2008, from,2542,t=new+media&i=47936,00.asp

Farhi, P. (2005). A bright future for newspapers. American Journalism Review. Retreived November 1, 2008, from

Using traditional media in your B2B marketing programs. Marketing M.O. Retrieved November 1, 2008, from

Young, L. (2008, October 29). Iowa State U finds new media not replacing traditional media; newspapers, magazines, radio, tv see slight increase in use. AHN. Retrieved November 1, 2008, from