Category Archives: Social

Social Evolution and Destruction

It’s only Wednesday, but this week has already shown us Google’s answer to Facebook (Google+) and the sale of MySpace for $35 million. Yes, million. It feels like forever since we’ve heard “million” instead of the new common baseline of “billion”, but either way, what a supreme collapse for MySpace! I actually thought it might survive as a niche music community, which it still may, but with such a short sell and news of massive layoffs, one can’t keep too much hope for its survival.

As for Google+, I still need to be granted access to the beta, but as far as I’ve read, it will likely be an exaggerated platform for sharing content between Google/Gmail contacts.  Beyond that, I don’t see how it will takeover Facebook or become much of a social networking site.

Actually, that does raise the question of what is a social network?  What more does it do than allow users to share content and thoughts?  Facebook is still trying to break into the coupon, commerce, and business-linking, mimicking services provided by other platforms like Linkedin, Foursquare, and Groupon.  But aside from those, what does it do that Google + isn’t trying to do?  Let me know what you think.

T-Mobile Royal Wedding Dance

Gotta give it to T-Mobile. Even though they will likely not be a brand by the end of 2011, they are churning out some aggressive marketing so far this year. First, they expanded the Apple vs. Mac copy campaign which at first bothered me due to its apparent lack of originality, but now I find it to be refreshing with the female character and light sense of humor.

Now they are leveraging the unconstrained world of online video to tap into one of the largest stories on the planet; the royal wedding.

Even though it’s normally tough to commercially mimic a cheap viral video, the team that produced this adaptation of the JK Wedding Entrance Dance made so famous in 2009 added enough relevance (linking it with the royal wedding; the plethora of nationalities represented in the crowd) and quality production (the look-a-likes are incredible!) to make it a welcome viral hit in 2011.

Unfortunately the royal wedding lost a lot of its steam due to the fact that bin Laden was killed two days later (and because the royal wedding is a complete bore, especially with its lack of star power in the crowd), but now that the bin Laden story is somewhat winding down, this video might give people a period to put at the end of their royal wedding sentence, and T-Mobile will be the last thing they see at the end of that experience.

Good timing for the video.  Now let’s hope the same goes for the company.

The Bin Laden Effect

Last night my wife and I browsed videos of this weekend’s White House Correspondence Dinner through our Apple TV, and thought our night of entertainment was complete once Obama and Seth Meyers were done tearing into every imaginable target, most brutally Donald Trump. As she headed to the bedroom and I switched the TV’s input back to DirecTV, I was floored by the headline on CNN; Osama Bin Laden is Dead. Over the next few hours, the story unfolded with a speech from Obama (brilliant, btw), details of the assault in Abbottabad, and crowds gathering out front of the White House, Time Square, and Ground Zero. To that last point, even though I’m uncomfortable with the idea of so many people frantically cheering another human’s death, no matter the human, it was fascinating to see how quickly things progressed, and how impossible it would have been for this all to happen this way just 10 years ago. Technology has changed how the world operates and interacts, both for good and bad, and last night was a prime example of the real-time nature of our lives.

Facebook as a distribution channel

Today Warner Brothers continues its partnership with Facebook to release movies via the film’s FB page. Each movie will be $3 a pop and will be available for 48 hours after the purchase is made.

I am trying to envision the experience of watching a movie through FB, and it definitely seems like an odd experience right now, but as penetration of Internet-enabled TV’s and streaming adapters become wider, using primary web channels like FB will become more common and comfortable. I’m still trying to get used to streaming films through Apple TV, and dealing with the connection issues it presents, more often than I’d like, but nothing will outdo the convenience.

The social impact of FB being a distribution channel is likely to be huge, even though only time will tell exactly how consumers and marketers will actually use it. On the obvious side, content will gain huge momentum via WOM and FB’s sharing tools. Less obvious effects will likely revolve around the ways movies and shows are marketed and the overall release cycle. Will the viewing experience through the web become so positive that users are less likely to go to the theater, and therefore making the theater cycle become shorter and shorter? Will video conferencing services like Skype and Face Time enter the business, allowing people to watch movies “together” even though they’re 1000 miles apart? Should be interesting.

W2E2SXSW

Tomorrow is the one year anniversary of my wife and I returning from a 5 month honeymoon in Asia. After getting married in Puerto Vallart, Mexico, on Halloween 2009, we jumped on a plane and landed in Tokyo, the first stop of a trip that led us through Japan, China, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, and the Philippines. We photographed temples, explored caves, experimented with exotic foods, volunteered in destitute communities, and (I) even bungy jumped off the tallest commercial tower in the world in Macau (See below).

Macau Tower Bungy Jump – 233 meters – 12/1609 from Craig Palumbo on Vimeo.

Even though we both had a perfect life in Venice Beach, CA, with great jobs, amazing friends, and more food and music than we knew what to do with, we felt it was important to explore this part of the world before a house or kids could tie us down. Some called us crazy, but most expressed their admiration for actually going through with the trip. And thank God we did, because it has forever changed our POV on the world. We had both previously studies in Europe and traveled extensively in other regions, but heading west to the Far East is so uncommon for Americans that it seemed like something much bigger, which it was if for no other reason than that not many others we knew could point out Kota Kinabalu on a map. Now we can, and we can tell you all about it.

The reason I tell this story is not only to reminisce about the trip, but to dissect how it affected our relationship with our friends, family, and the world.

We now live in Austin, TX, arriving here in the middle of the city’s vicious summer after having spent 3 months road tripping through the US to visit family and all things Americana. We love it here for so many reasons, most importantly the music, food, and tremendous quality of life. I’ve always wanted to live in a city where people smiled as they passed on the street, but I didn’t want that city to be a Norman Rockwellian, dated town that didn’t respect differences in others. Well, Austin is that amazing place, and it only got better over the last two weeks during SXSW.

The first 5 days of SX allowed us to meet, listen to, and interact with other digital marketers. We were amongst our people, which provides value not only for insights gained, but for getting your brain in the right place. In traditional agencies, this isn’t always so easy, so it’s amazing to have 5 days of dense comradery like we did last week.

The last 5 days of SX are all about the music, and let’s just say that two days after the conference ending, my feet, liver, and sleep cycle are still recovering. And it was well worth it. Finding new bands, seeing old bands in new places, and dancing next to a limitless amount of music lovers is an invaluable experience that can only happen here in Austin every March.

Any way, what our trip and SXSW have to do with the way we see the world is that even though my wife and I were in much less communicado over in Asia than we would be back in the US, we sit here a year later not really having missed a beat with our friends, family, and work, because in the end, there are core traits that we all share together that can’t be lost in 5 months. Regarding family and friends, it goes back to the old saying: “Even though you haven’t seen someone you care about in a long time, it feels like no time has passed at all when you reconnect.” We have all experienced that on both ends, therefore it is easy to understand. Work, not so much…

The primary reason I’m in digital marketing is that at its core, it is about building a relationship between companies and consumers. It’s about pulling consumers in with our marketing, not pushing messages on them, and doing this will always be about making emotional connections with consumers. Making emotional connections is a singular objective that is made easier and done so differently based on the technology available to us. Our job is to familiarize ourselves with cutting edge and stabilized technologies and translating that knowledge into insightful strategies and tactics for our clients. That’s it, nothing more nothing less. Anything more than that is just a smoke screen, and we need to be confident enough to see through the smoke into the core issues at hand.

Taco Bell’s Social Response

Okay, so the Taco Bell lawsuit I’m about to discuss doesn’t pertain to this image, but a picture of a car hanging out of a Taco Bell is much more visually appealing than a picture of Taco Bell meat. You’re welcome.

Now about the lawsuit…

Taco Bell was recently sued because they were blamed for not having their meet FDA standards. Believing in the quality of their product, Taco Bell took the offensive and immediately went on their own PR tour to quell the story and to get their version of the story ingrained in consumers’ minds. They succeeded, primarily due to the fact that they have such a solid social media presence.

Mashable did a great piece about how Taco Bell’s strong social presence helped it avoid a huge PR emergency. From being the first to tell their side of the story, to strategically purchasing search ads, to having a willing audience to hear your story, Taco Bell showed that establishing a sound base on all key channels will not only provide invaluable and innumerable chances to engage consumers, it will play a key role in crisis management. Real time channels are not a fad, they should be a key element in any company’s media mix.

Kickstarter getting businesses off the ground

What do you get when you combine online Groupon with venture capitol firms? You get Kickstarter, a funding platform for creative ideas. Companies pitch their idea via a profile and pitch video on Kickstarter’s site, and it’s up to the public to decide if they want to swap their cash for discounts and schwag. That is if a minimum amount of funding is met, similar to how Groupon has their assurance contract.

I love this service for so many reasons. One, it combines several different tools and services to create a new one; this seems to be how the most popular companies are getting off the ground. Their not recreating the wheel, but they’re finding a new way to use that tool. Hell, that’s why cloud computing is so genius. Why build your own platform when you can use an existing, just as functional service? Two, this service is helping get quality businesses off the ground where they may not have been able to had this service not existed. Three, it is leaving the judging for a business’s relevancy in the hands of the people who it will serve; the public. Why should the VC’s have all the say in what succeeds?

Any way, check out this example of a business that used the service and quickly met its minimum funding. Looks like these crazy cats will actually be able to feed the world some interesting microbrew.  (sorry for the lack of an embedded player.  Looks like WordPress doesn’t like iFrames)

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/pipeworks/pipeworks-brewing-chicago-small-batches-big-beers/widget/video.html