Friday, June 29, 2007

iPhones and Email Marketing

I took a quick walk over to the Apple Store at Lenox Square Mall in Atlanta today to check out the scene before the iPhone launch. At 1 p.m. there were upwards of 185 people there – and it was growing by the minute. I just purchased a new phone (a Moto Q) a few weeks ago and have no plans to switch to AT&T. So I was merely there to gawk at the crazies who were at the mall before dawn to be the first in line.

At 11:51 a.m. today I got an email from Apple announcing the iPhone (see the picture at right). This week I've been talking with a colleague about email marketing, specifically viewing messages on PDAs. When I tried to view the same message on my Q, it came through as a garbled mess. (I'll try to post a photo of that.) For all the talk about how important email marketing is, we had trouble finding best practices on viewing emails on a mobile platform. I am anxious to see how HTML emails are rendered on an iPhone. It struck me as funny though that I couldn't use my Moto Q (a Windows Mobile Device) to read an email promoting the arrival of the iPhone. I guess Apple hasn't figured out how to send text-based emails.

This segues into what my next post will be about – email marketing and reaching those who read their messages in platforms other than the web and Outlook.

UPDATE: I've added the photo of how Apple's lovely HTML email became garbled on my phone. How/where do you read your email?

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

X Doesn't Always Mark the Age

Penelope Trunk had an interesting post yesterday about generational ID's.  You may think you're a Baby Boomer or in Generation Y just because of the year you were born in.  But, how about identifying with a generation by how they use various forms of media? 

Check out the test she put together and see if you're really acting your age, er, generation.  I scored a 14, which puts me just out of my Generation X birthright.

This got me to thinking.  The way a message is sent isn't always going to be received as it's expected to.  To cut through the clutter, companies can no longer assume they know who's going to be on the receiving end. 

Are you acting your generation?  Take Penelope's test and come back with your results.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Bad Advertising: It's Not Me, It's You

Heather at Microsoft posted the funny video below, which I wanted to pass along.  It does a good job if showing how ignorant companies can be when trying communicate with their consumers.  The dating analogy is perfect.  

This also seems like a good time to mention that I was FINALLY able to get Windows Live Writer to play nice with my Blogger template last night. So I am now able to post much quicker and easier than I have been able to in the past.  (But probably without pictures since I can't FTP them to Blogger, I don't think.) Now, if I could just get Outlook to work like it's supposed to on my home computer all will be right in my world.

NCAA Regains its Senses

After a reporter was ejected last week for live-blogging during the College World Series, the NCAA eased up a bit and now permits live updates are OK, as long as what's posted is limited to the score and time remaining in the game/match/whatever.

Here's the update and thanks to Joel Price for the tip.

Nice to see that the Double-A realized it doesn't own the rights to game scores.  I remembered after my last post that blogging game scores and a running commentary is something Bill Simmons has been doing from his couch for a long time.


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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

You Can Put Lipstick on a Pig but not a Condom

Fox and CBS rejected an ad for Trojan condoms that was to have aired last night.

In the commercial, a cellphone-toting pig hits on women at a bar. He is unsuccessful until he heads to men's room, gets a condom from a vending machine and returns as a head-turning male in his 20's.

At that point, the tagline appears: "Evolve. Use a condom every time."

Trojan's Vice President of marketing explained:

"The 'Evolve' ad does a nice job of being humorous, but it's also a serious call to action," Mr. Daniels said. "The pigs are a symbol of irresponsible sexual behavior, and are juxtaposed with the condom as a responsible symbol of respect for oneself and one's partner."

It seems the TV networks objected to linking condoms to pregnancy prevention (as opposed to health-related issues. That was FOX's basis for rejection). I thought it was a funny take on the "men are pigs" complaint of single women.

Now, I know the average CBS viewer is around 60 or so, or at least old enough to know about condoms. And FOX is the network that knows a thing or two about sexy TV programming ("Joe Millionaire" anyone?). So it's OK to use sex to sell hamburgers (like celebutard Paris Hilton did for Carl Jr.'s) but not condoms? Give me a break!

I think CBS and FOX blew an opportunity to be a part of a very buzz-worthy campaign from Trojan. Thumbs up to those who do run this commercial. Hopefully this includes ESPN…

SMC Meet-up does Alpharetta

Today I went to the Social Media for PR professionals lunch that Sherry Heyl organized through Thanks for organizing it! Grayson Daughters led an interesting discussion, but I think some of the folks there needed a 101 lesson in the tools that were discussed before they could even think of applying them to their client work. I came away with some ideas and things I'll use in my personal and professional lives, such as blog commenting and tagging. No more blurking for me!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

About bats, balls and blogs

On Sunday, June 10, Louisville Courier-Journal reporter Brian Bennett was kicked out of the press box at the NCAA Baseball Super Regional for live-blogging during the University of Louisville's 20-2 win over Oklahoma State en route to the College World Series. What led to Bennett's ouster?

Here's how Josh Centor from the Double A Zone – the "official blog" of the NCAA - explains it:

Due to the NCAA's broadcasting agreement with ESPN, bloggers are not permitted to update their sites with in-game coverage from the baseball press box. In-game updates include providing readers with the score, inning of the game, roster moves, etc. The policy was enacted at a baseball game, but applies to all NCAA championship events.

Thus, if you want to sit in the press box, you'd better not think about telling your readers what's happened until the fat lady has sung. There's been much chatter in the blogosphere about this. Here are a few of the postings I particularly liked:


Dan Shanoff


Eric McErlain

These guys have all argued great points – from the NCAA being totally out touch with how people receive information to the idea that any Joe or Jane with a TV and an internet connection (or attendee with a cell phone) could do the same thing Brian was doing.

When I was at the University of Georgia, we published the scores for the gymnastics meets (including the NCAAs) as they were announced. Since these meets were never broadcast live it was an invaluable resource for fans that weren't there to still follow along. That fact may be what separates what we were doing from what happened Sunday, as ESPN was broadcasting the game Bennett was blogging.

And when I was working at the boxing venue during the 1996 Olympics, we were constantly coming across men calling the action on their cell phones to be broadcast over the radio back home (which was usually somewhere in Brazil). If those guys had stepped outside the press area, they would have been beyond our jurisdiction.

But Sandi, how does this topic relate to Marketing Clutter? I am glad you asked.

To not grasp the fact that live-blogging is THE most effective and most efficient form of reporting and analysis of all kinds of events - sports or otherwise – demonstrates the NCAA's ignorance. There are so many ways for people to get information these days, that the NCAA cut off its nose to spite its face with its ban on live-blogging. Apparently they thought people would chose to read Bennett's blog over watching the game on TV, which is exactly what happens during the workday when more people turn to the internet than the TV for information.

Even though this didn't happen during the week, the NCAA's tone-deafness to the realities of how people get their information is appalling. This is counterintuitive to how people communicate.

Given that this is the same organization that also banned text messages between coaches and recruits, the ban on live-blogging doesn't surprise me. Way to stay in the 1980's, NCAA!

If this were a Bud Lite commercial, I'd salute you, Mr. I Regulate Information Like it's 1972. You're a real man of genius!

Here's hoping fans of the Louisville Cardinals who have to work during tomorrow's first-round game (which begins at 1 p.m. CST) can follow the action to their liking.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

This pep rally sponsored by...

I'm a day late, but there was a good article in yesterday's New York Times about how marketers are targeting the population of high school athletes, which to my surprise, is 7.2 million strong. As a former high school athlete, this story is of great personal interest to me. My take-away from this story is the increased interest by large media corporations in the population called Millenials, Generation Y or baby boom babies. It was only a matter of time before CPG and the beverage industries also took an interest. The 80% growth figure over the past 35 years quoted isn't a surprise. With the popularity of women's soccer after the 1996 Summer Olympics, interest girls has grown in all sports.

I hope this all isn’t some preamble to corporate sponsorships of high school championship games. The Sprite 1-AAAAA Georgia High School Football Championships at SunTrust Field, anyone?

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Cover your eyes, it's the 2012 logo

Having worked at the 1994, 1996 and 2000 Olympics, and been raised in Atlanta and lived through the fun that was (pre-Grey’s Anatomy) Izzy, I have a personal interest in Monday’s announcement of the logo for the 2012 Olympics in London. To say what was unveiled Monday has gotten a negative reaction would be an understatement. In just one day, thousands have signed a petition calling for the logo to be scrapped and an animated version of the logo was pulled Tuesday from the official website because of concerns that the footage’s flashing lights would cause epileptic seizures. Niiiiiiice….

I didn’t even realize the imagery represented the numeric 2012 date upon first glance. It’s been referred to as a swastika, and I don’t think that’s too far off. I think it’s a jigsaw puzzle piece gone awry.

On the left is a look at the old logo. As one BBC blog put it, this one doesn’t fit on cell phone as nicely, which is the medium of choice of the kids these days, which is apparently the audience organizers were targeting.

London 2012 organizing committee chairman Seb Coe says this logo "… will define the venues we build and the Games we hold and act as a reminder of our promise to use the Olympic spirit to inspire everyone and reach out to young people around the world.

"It is an invitation to take part and be involved. “

Yack. Someone needs to get this guy some training. Is that really how he speaks?

Seth Godin has already done a fine job of explaining the process of logo development and deployment. Creativity is subjective, but I think most are in agreement that what the London 2012 organizers put forth is atrocious.

What do you think of the logo?