TalentZoo.com |  Flack Me |  Digital Pivot |  Beneath the Brand Archives  |  Categories
 
Original articles from Staff.
 
AdweekMedia Picks Best of the Decade
People love lists, and this one from AdweekMedia is packed full, rounding out the decade with a summary of the best in the marketing, media, and agency world.

Slower Ad Sales Declines (That's Good News)
The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that the decline in media ad sales is slowing, which is good news for the industry (things are 'less bad'). The article states, "New York Times Co., McClatchy Co. and Co. [sic] offered signs on Tuesday that advertisers are fleeing newspapers at a slower rate. Meanwhile, TV companies CBS Corp., Discovery Communications Inc. and Belo Corp. noted improvement in the local and national TV advertising markets." Advertisers are "fleeing" newspapers at a slower rate, and television executives say that advertising revenue has increased, on both the local and national level, and that fourth- quarter figures may not be as dismal as many expected.

The Police Need a Brand Makeover
There are some organizations or groups that could use a brand makeover. First on the list: the police. Realistically, they really have no need to work on their image because they have no competition. We need them, and they know it. Sadly, this has resulted in a very poor image. Smart organizations work hard at developing their brand deliberately because they know if they just let their brand naturally evolve, it may not be what they want. Various branches of the military have tried to enhance their images through marketing and branding.

Say Christmas or The American Family Association Will Boycott You
The American Family Association is keeping a list of companies who don't use the word Christmas in their holiday advertising, asking shoppers to boycott those who fall under the "naughty" category. If advertisements don't mention "Christmas," the AFA considers those companies to be "marginalizing" it. The Web site says: Based on current advertising, below is a list of companies that avoid, ban, or use the term "Christmas" in their advertising. We will continually update the list, so check back often.

Domain Naming is Internet Branding
Do you know how hard it is these days to get your ideal domain name? Many say the best domains end with a dot-com or a dot-net, but for most companies, particularly the standard names without a hitch, other domain-name extensions might be needed, or domain names might be improvised by adding dashes or numbers to it. With that said, is it hurting your potential target in saturating the market in cyberspace? Definitely.

What's So Green About Greenland?
Thanks to some false advertising way back in time, Greenland never saw this global warming phenomenon coming. In fact, it has become a marketing niche for them as people are turning towards living green. If you are inclined to go green, go to Greenland. Greenland is perhaps history's first case of false advertising.

Web Site Optimization ROI Calculator
ClickZ has a free Website Optimization ROI Calculator to help you determine the value of optimizing your Web site. To use the tool, you do not need to be exact on the values or percentage lift, but try to be consistent with your estimates.

Tool for Tracking Your Content
For those content producers who want to guarantee credit for their work, there is a tool called Tynt that allows you to track when your content is copied from your site to an email, blog, or website. The product uses a bit of code to generate a link back to your site when the content is pasted. The tool offers a way to track where your content is going, gives you credit for what you’ve produced, and can also help to drive traffic back to your site.

Don't Forget Your Traits
If you can't do something right, then don't do it at all. One of the best ways to do PR right is to remember certain traits that help make a message important and gain coverage.

How is the credit crunch affecting your job?
Sorry, I am posting on one of my least favourite subjects at the moment: the credit crunch. How I long to bury my head in the sand and pretend it isn't happening. But as much as I wish it to go away, the credit crunch has started to affect the way in which I do my job. One of my main target areas was the careers pages of the national press (Times of London etc) for attracting new students but also to influence decision-makers.

General knowledge – the most essential skill for PR
"To be really successful in public relations you need to be hungry for knowledge and constantly thirsting to know more. You need to embrace every new client’s industry sector with enthusiasm and immerse yourself in the trends, terminology and practices. A good grounding in general knowledge is invaluable in business, public relations and your life in general." Agree right? Well, according to StuartBiz.com, most younger people do not have the basic knowledge needed in this industry. Here is the intersting blog.

The Shock and the Fizzle: Are Electric Cars the Future?
Like many teenagers, I was a car-lover (especially the "classics"), and I think I owned a 1969 Oldsmobile Cutlass the one time I spoke to the man. He was the "typical" electric car owner: thick black glasses, scruffy beard, Cardigan sweater, bow-tie...a professor at a local community college I believe. I remember one thing about our conversation: My scoffing laughter when he told me that electric cars were going to be everywhere by the 90's. It was the mid-eighties, and I had just gotten my license. Twenty years pass, my laughter long-forgotten. Still, no electric cars. Then 2007/2008, skyrocketing fuel prices, the fall of the US auto industry and the blatant talk of alternative fuel and- gasp -electric cars. My skepticism mirroring that of millions: electric cars weren't a solution, they were an option that was fraught with nothing but problems:

Good Brand Experience Can Change Purchase Behavior
Let’s be honest here. Most of the stuff at IKEA is kind of crappy. A lot of it looks decent, but it’s all pretty disposable. With a little time and any use you’d be lucky to unload most of the stuff at a garage sale. So how does IKEA get away with selling us stuff we wouldn’t touch at Wal-Mart? Simple. It has a better brand experience.

ABC's "Flash Forward" Offers Impressive, Creepy Web Content
Not only is ABC’s "FlashForward" a decent show, it also offers relevant and interesting online content. If you haven’t seen it, it’s basically "LOST" meets "24." In the first episode, everyone in the world passes out at exactly the same time for 2 minutes and 17 seconds. While unconscious, they have a dream-like vision of the future -- or April 29, 2010, to be exact. The central character is an FBI agent whose vision offers clues to what happened. This season follows him and the subsequent investigation.

Charity Is Still a Good Idea for Sales
In recent weeks, the heavens proclaimed that summer was officially in Northern Georgia by turning down the temperature twenty degrees and ushering in storms resulting in what news stations are referring to as the "Georgia Record Flood." I happened to live in one of the counties most adversely affected by flooding but my home, thankfully, was kept from being turned into a wading pool. Lives were lost and properties were destroyed. Families are without homes and children are without their elementary school. With each passing day, new stations report on more and more components of the flood's aftermath. We've seen times like these before. A natural disaster comes along and reminds us of our fragile way of life. Neighbors become heroes. Communities do what they can to lend a helping hand. Local governments try quickly to mend all that has been broken and big business plays a part as well.

Laugh Away, Haters: The Snuggie Success Story
No doubt you've seen the spots fueling 3 a.m. re-runs of JAG. Or, maybe you've been tempted by one, lurking at local drug stores in the "As Seen On TV" aisle. Possibly you've already succumbed to the pressure and dropped the $19.95 (+ S & H) and participated in some of the "events" (bar crawls, fashion shows, etc).

Viva Marketing Innovation
I have been a fan of Viva Towels for years. If you tend to use cheaper brands and haven't experienced the difference yet, then you won't quite understand just how different a paper towel can be. Get thee to the paper towel aisle! Viva paper towels are a much thicker and stronger paper towel, and, over the years, I have found I can use them in ways I never used other paper towels.

Buttwipe Branding Hurts Mother Nature
In efforts to "do their part" in keeping the human race sane, toilet paper manufacturers have gone to great lengths to provide super-fluffy toilet paper. Although a pain in the ass to manufacture, the extra soft TP is kicking the crap out of the competition.

Did MTV Pull a Fast One on Us?
Unless you were living in a cave since last Sunday, the MTV Video Music Awards sparked a great deal of commotion on blog sites, Twitter, and YouTube, which all featured clips involving three very different music artists. The VMA's was a memorable one this year with a handful of jaw-dropping performances and surprises. Well, this year the award for most memorable and infamous stage crasher goes to (surprise..surprise): Kanye West.

Outdoor Advertising Down in 2nd Quarter 2009
It seems this year I've spent more than my fair share of time road tripping across the United States. Just a couple of weeks ago, I spent twenty hours making a pilgrimage from Atlanta to Fort Lauderdale and back. It is safe to say I received an abundance of raw impressions from the so-called other "white meat" of popular advertising. I saw more billboards than I care to remember. There were billboards about telecommunication companies, churches, strip clubs, area law enforcement agencies, abortion alternatives, liquor stores, insurance agencies, divorce attorneys, and on and on and on. That was just within the first hundred miles. Besides wondering what in the heck was going on in the lives of the target audience, I was reminded to check on the status of outdoor advertising during our times of economic ruin.

Idol Banter: Ellen Replaces Paula?!
Ellen Degeneres, one-time stand-up comedienne, sitcom personality, and movie star announced that she would be replacing Paula Abdul on "American Idol." According to MediaBuyerPlanner, "Idol" is, "[. . . ] the country's most-watched show, though ratings slipped significantly last season. The show's finale drew an estimated 28.8 million viewers, its lowest-rated finale ever, and down from 32 million last year."

Experiential Food for Thought
When is a waffle shop not a waffle shop? When it's an experimental platform for media production, a talk show, and an interactive space for public dialogue.

Flash Mob Approach Works for Boost Mobile
The date is August 13th, 2009. Imagine, if you will, that you're walking along the street in New York City's Time Square, taking in the scenery. Suddenly, a crowd of people wearing Charlie Chaplin disguises congregates and engages in a choreographed display of break dancing. You think you've either walked into your very own Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo or gone a little mad. Then you look at the participants a bit more closely and notice some of them have on snazzy black t-shirts. The front reads, "Breakin' Free of Hidden Fees," while the back proudly displays the Boost Mobile logo. You haven't walked into an 80's dancing film. You've happened upon a live commercial.

Pop Up Shops Pop Up Everywhere!
Pop up shops, those 'here today, gone tomorrow' retail outlets, are popping up everywhere, particularly in the advertising press. In the past week, an article in Ad Age cited pop ups as an inexpensive way to build buzz, and another in Creativity showed how London agency RKCR/Y&R took the whole concept to heart by opening a pop up agency to dispense free advertising advice in their neighborhood.

Dueling Doves, Dueling Marketing Strategies
When I first saw Dove Chocolate's “PROMISES® Messages” secreted inside the wrapper of a leftover chocolate, I naturally assumed that it had bought the rights to The Little Book of Calm.

Marveling at Disney's Deep Pockets
Well, it was bound to happen. The Spider has been eaten by the Mouse. I am referring, of course, to Disney buying Marvel for an astonishing $4 billion.

Counterattack on Irritating Weight Loss Ads
Here's what I'm sick of: banner ads that advertise either the plump chick turned supermodel or the pock-faced hermit turned bright faced and bushy tailed. And they are EVERYWHERE. Every site I go to -- music sites, sports site... you name it.

Mad Men Sells Out to the Man
If you've been watching season three of Mad Men, then you know that the show's a bonafide hit. How? Because they are running commercials roughly every seven minutes.

Electronic Arts Starts Spore Campaign

Public's Disapproval of New Logo Shows IKEA's Brand Strength
What would exemplify the ultimate power of a brand? Unaided recall? A "Top Ten" ranking among consumers? Or, rather, a consumer that goes to a store searching for Brand X and Brand X only?

Ecomagination with GE Washers

BrandBucket.com: Exactly What It Says It Is...
What's in a name? For that matter, what's in a brand name? Maybe something special, or maybe nothing at all. Well, the one-stop shopping brand site, BrandBucket, is based on the premise that businesses can choose a "catchy" brand name that comes with a logo and a domain name. The site displays brands and logos that range in price from $495 to brands that live in the "Request Price" neighborhood.

Sad Men: Public Still Skeptical of Advertising
At a time when car salesmen are becoming everyone’s best friends by doling out billions in subsidies to the car buying public, those in advertising are looking like a sure bet to take over the bottom spot on a list of professions rated by ethics and honesty. What makes consumers distrust advertising? Is it a skepticism based on the high profile abuses of the art, or is it a tacit acknowledgment that advertisers unfairly take advantage of psychological influence to create, increase and habitualize demand?

The Christmas Creep Begins
A week ago, I thought I would start making my homemade Christmas cards. It is Martha Stewart-ish of me, but it's therapeutic for me while warming the hearts of the recipients of these glue-gunned greetings.

When The Social Media Storm Subsides...
How do we get a handle on the social media revolution? The various communications disciplines continue to grasp at the quickly-changing social media stratosphere in an uncoordinated way. The danger with this ad-hoc clamoring is that the value social media promises can more easily slip through our collective fingers.

Just Say No to Social (There's a Support Group for That)
Here’s a daunting question: when does all this social media hoopla become grossly superfluous? When the domains of Tommy Twotweets and Sarah Sharesalotoflinks are frequented as sources for the latest news.

Who 2 @Follow?
I get mixed feelings when I'm making a decision on whether to follow an industry competitor on Twitter, whether it be for myself or a client. Same goes for Facebook when you are making "friends," allowing each other access to your messages and posts.

Burger King's Angry Burger: A Nerd in Biker Clothing
Burger King launched its Angry Whopper campaign in Canada that includes an interactive website to talk smack to users and fire them up for the rage that they say is inside the sandwich with angry sauce, jalapenos and pepper jack cheese. "Let's see how full of rage you are," the sandwich says. You don't have a webcam to show your ire? "NO WEBCAM?" the sandwich goads, "You must be pretty angry being stuck in 1997. Do you rollerblade to work everyday?"

How Do You Market Michael Vick?
Out of the doghouse and into the Eagle's nest. Let the swirling media storms and torrential protests begin. The NFL, Philadelphia Eagles, and the city of Philadelphia just invited the entire country to their doorstep. This was certainly a multi-layered decision with elements of redemption, sports, and money involved. The question going forward: how do you sell Michael Vick?

Is New Media a Viable Alternative to Traditional Press?
For the past couple of years, public relations types around the nation have been asking what will become of traditional media outlets over the next few years. Here in scenic Arkansas and in most places, tales of layoffs, forced furloughs and the like make it clear that newspapers, television stations and the radio business are struggling and there's been plenty of talk about traditional media dying and being replaced by -- well, something else.

No Economic Downturn for American Pets
This past Saturday, The Green Concert was held at Piedmont Park in Atlanta featuring Paul McCartney for $79.50 a ticket. As my boyfriend and I approached the park, droves and droves of concert-goers and their pet dogs were making their way to the scene. Although the people were told that no pets were allowed, we couldn't help but think of the luck of those canines. If the concert had indeed been selling tickets for dogs, these fans more than likely would have purchased a ticket for Fido.

GM Markets to the Fringe
Last week I wrote about GM's new viral campaign What Is 230. This morning on the Ad Age website, Abbey Klaassen wrote an article entitled Why GM's 'What Is 230' Buzz Wasn't Enough. Her premise went like this:

Is Social Media Evolving too Quickly?
In my entire college career as a journalism student (2004-2008), I was never taught about the importance of social media. I realize that journalism is not the same as PR or Marketing, but it uses the same methods to get a message across. Where do we get a lot of our news? Websites, blogs, word-of-mouth (and by mouth, I mean Facebook or Twitter). How do we market a company or reach the general public?

Jon and Kate Plus 8,000: The Big Ad Gig
It was bound to happen. The advertising business is about to get its own reality show. The Big Ad Gig is a competition where aspiring ad creatives are invited to enter video submissions and creative books for a chance to win one of four paid freelance gigs at a big NY agency for a month. OK, in terms of reality TV, it's not exactly eight kids and a cheating husband, but it's our little drama. Eight finalists will be chosen to come to New York to deliver their creative pitches to a live audience during Advertising Week, and they will be judged by a panel of big agency big shots.

BCBG Partners with Walmart and Miley Cyrus
I learned something very disturbing recently. It rattled me almost to the core.

Will Social Marketing Be Standard Equipment for GM?
In a press conference yesterday, Fritz Henderson, the CEO of General Motors, admitted that the automaker was indeed behind the website whatis230.com, something that many industry writers and consumers had already figured out on their own.

The Trouble with Twitter
A few weeks ago, more than 300 confidential documents belonging to Twitter execs wound up in the inbox of employees over at TechCrunch. The documents included everything from a financial forecast to confidentiality agreements with numerous companies such as AOL and Dell.

Big Business: Promote a Book!
So, I recently finished reading a book called The Last Cookie Club. In short, it's a book about battling addictions, more specifically, an eating addiction. I enjoyed it, although admittedly some of the descriptions of cheesy fourth meals from Taco Bell and lemon cakes a la Costco seriously made me consider a comfort food break. Perhaps if the book wasn't designed to prevent late night trips to Rally's and the like, a restaurant wouldn't do bad to get behind the project. Fast food joints are forever promoting some movie, so why not cross-promote with a book?

Starbucks Takes Top Brand Honors... WTF?
There's no doubt that Starbucks has built a powerful empire over the years. However, it is difficult for me to understand how Starbucks, the company that's switched marketing strategies almost weekly, has been rated as the top brand on The Wetpaint/Altimeter Group ENGAGEMENTdb Report, ranking higher than Dell, eBay, and Google. Granted, these other brands have not had great years, but Starbucks has been pretty erratic.

Green Works Becomes a Green Brand Leader
Clorox has done a phenomenal job with its Green Works product line. The company known for making bleach has developed an all natural cleaning product that was recently voted the #1 U.S. Image Power Green Brand in WPP’s 2009 Green Brands Global Survey. The Green Works product line started as a personal cause from a group of marketers and scientists at the company. These people took the concept of "natural lifestyle" and attempted to merge it into the cleaning category.

5000 Words from Lorenzo Petrantoni
Click on thumbnail for larger view. More amazing images, as well as a brief profile of the artist, can be seen here. Steven Stark is a Social Creative Director for hire. www.stevenstark.net

Taco Bell Focusing on Smart Consumers
Sometimes I wonder why fast food giants like McDonald's, Burger King and Taco Bell even bother with advertising and public relations. They have become so embedded in our culture that by this point, any sort of business plan seems trivial. It's like beating a dead horse, which, coincidentally, is a cooking method many fast-food chains use. (Oh, snap!)

Reinventing The ROI Wheel
Last week I attended IZEA's Agency Boot Camp in New York City, a panel discussion on social marketing with people from social media companies including Digg, Mashable and CafeMom.

American Made? American Owned? American Purchased?
Recently, Obama got some flak for drinking Bud Light. Even though it just happens to be brewed in St. Louis and be the best selling beer in America, it’s owned by a Belgian company. It got me wondering… just what is owned by and made by Americans anymore?

Twitter with Feeling!
I see a lot of PR and marketing professionals on Twitter who do nothing but Tweet links to PR and marketing-related articles. I know they're just trying to spread their wealth of knowledge, but why do I get such a spammy vibe from them? Don't you hate spammy vibes? I do.

When People Become Brands (and Michael's Hair Becomes Diamonds)
People who receive lots of media attention often make the jump from being just another public figure to becoming their own brand. Examples include Madonna, Armani, Donna Karan, Tiger Woods, Richard Branson, and Michael Jackson.

W-O-M is Where It's At
As I have mentioned in the past, I am a huge fan of using marketing to create a word-of-mouth buzz. Well, a new report suggests that a lot of you out there agree. From Brandweek: Spending behind word-of-mouth marketing hit $1.54 billion last year, according to PQ Media. While most traditional channels saw spending slow, outlays behind w-o-m tactics including buzz, influencer, community and viral marketing grew 14.2 percent in 2008. Food and drink brands led the way, accounting for 30 percent of all w-o-m spending.

United Airlines Receives New Brand Message
Large corporations spend billions of dollars each year to spread their brand messages. However, they are still fighting an "us vs. them" battle in which the "us" is consumers. And we have more power than "they" want us to realize.

Hot Dogs Bringing Sexy Back
Today I had lunch at a place that really gets it right. It is a place in Chicago, and it is really just a hot dog stand. However, it has a certain mystique about it that makes it attractive. So attractive, in fact, that I had to wait over an hour in line to get my order placed.

I Just Graduated, Now What?
Now more than ever the answer to this question is completely dependent upon economic contingencies. However, while the job outlook may be dismal for some, the opportunity to gain experience isn’t. A recent RedEye article, ‘Chicago Interns Move Up the Corporate Ladder,’ touts interns who are doing entry-level work due to hiring freezes and lay offs.

Marijuana Marketing... Just a Thought
.Having grown up in the often lazy and carefree paradise of California, I can't help but pay attention to the state's ever increasing slide into squalor. Arnold's been talking about legalizing that sticky icky in order to help out with Cali's budget problem. Anderson Cooper even did an AC360 special on the crop last week. If marijuana is indeed legalized in California, in addition to a curious upswing in tourism, I have no doubt there will be a massive celebration of UC professors, surfers, rappers, ravers and the entire population of Humboldt County. Arnold wouldn't have to force state workers to take three day furloughs because they'd probably look forward to getting stoned at the local park while grilling Johnsonville sausages... which is the typical reason Californians play hookie. Just kidding (not really).

Pure New Zealand, Pure Packaging
Why can't we have food packaging like this in the USA? This is such a beautiful example of branding and design working together.

Marketing as Art
This Saturday in Brooklyn there's going to be a unique one day art extravaganza that sounds like a wonderful example of art imitating marketing imitating art. It's called POP ROCKS and here's how the folks putting it on describe it:

The Future of Advertising - Going Viral
Advertising is becoming even more difficult to do effectively. Consumers simply do not want to hear about your product. However, viral video is becoming the new "media of choice" for smart advertisers who think outside the box.

Mom Bloggers Out of Control
Ok not really, but that was the comment from a friend who sent me a link to a mom blogger who is soliciting donations so that she can buy a Mac Book Pro. In return, she will advertise the companies who donated by engraving their logos on the lid of the laptop that she'll bring with her to conferences and events attended by bloggers and social media enthusiasts alike. Throughout the sponsorship, she plans on tweeting, submitting videos to YouTube and blogging about the sponsors.

Have You Seen The Observer? FOX TV Takes Viral to New Level
Fox Television has taken viral marketing to a new level. Everyone should take notice. Spawning from the new hit series Fringe, Fox has launched an ad campaign unlike any seen before. Rather than relying on the staple marketing ploys of late night talk show rounds, standard TV ads and review/word of mouth popularity, Fox unloads a strategy that is both in-your-face and yet somehow subtle.

You Might Lose Your Job, But Buy This Car!
We are hearing a lot of communication out there that constantly refers to "tough times like these." The news media is all over it. Heck, "if it bleeds, it leads," they always say. So, right now with the country bleeding. What better time to continuously rub salt on the wounds?

Brands Pull Out All Stops to Woo Consumers
It started with the automotive industry: if you lost your job within a year of purchasing a new car, Hyundai would make payments for several months. If the car buyer was still unemployed, the company would take the car back. Playing off the Federal Government, it was labeled as an "Economic Stimulus" package and announced during the Super Bowl as the Hyundai Assurance Program.

Magazine Winners and Losers
Yesterday, when checking the mail, I saw that my boyfriend's beloved GQ magazine arrived. Sweetheart tends to be big on reading, fashion, movies, T&A and cars, so GQ continues to be a guilty pleasure although he does often protest against the seemingly homo-erotic fashion ads. Flipping through the magazine made me wonder about the current state of advertising in American rags, so I did a little research. Back on July 10th, Magazine Publishers of America released a rather dreary report on ad revenues for the first half of 2009. Revenues were down, down, down 21.2%. First quarter was down nearly 30%. Second quarter was down about 22%. Insert sad violin music here.

Ten Brands That Didn't Make It
There is no doubt that 2008 and 2009 have been hazardous years for American businesses. We, collectively as a country, have watched some of our "iconic" businesses fall under the weight of economic duress and request Federal help. Even after help was rendered, the automotive manufacturers did not fare well; the banking industry did not play fair; and the mortgage industry was too over-extended to recover. It would seem that the American people would have little trust for "big business" but that doesn't seem to be the case. We either have higher priorities, such as unemployment, health care, and foreclosures, or we just don't really think they pose that much of a problem. It is pretty clear that a sense of unease has settled over America in general. Where once we were strong, chinks have appeared in our thick industrial skin.

Internet Memes: The Viral Attack
When something becomes inexplicably popular on the internet (dramatic chipmunk/gopher/prairie dog, anyone?), it's typically described as "viral". Essentially, this is just a chic word used by social media nerds to describe something that becomes an internet sensation - a video, phrase or picture that is emailed, Tweeted, forwarded, Dugg, blogged, Facebooked, etc.

FandangWHOA!
As a follow up to yesterday's post about midnight showings of new movies, I wanted to talk a little bit about the advanced ticket sales that account for many of those midnight tickets.

Is it Public Relations or Public Engagement?
This past week I tuned in to PR Newswire's webinar entitled, "The Convergence of Marketing and Public Relations." It’s obvious that the PR world is in the process of a major transition. The combination of advancing technologies and economic woes have shaken the PR and Advertising fields to their core. I have heard many versions of what’s happens next... The Death of PR, The Death of Twitter and The Decline of Advertising now that consumers are aptly aware of blatant marketing attempts.

Good Golly, Mr. Gossage
I was just reading Tim Brunelle's Creative Corner article Gossage on the Brain and had one of those aha moments when I read the following quotation from Mr. Gossage: “The audience is our first responsibility, even before the client, for if we cannot involve them what good will it do him?” Damn! There it is. There's the reason why so much advertising fails — because it is written to please the client. We put the clients first because we want them to be happy. After all, it's their happiness that keeps us happily employed. But as the man so eloquently said, to truly service the client we have to look beyond them to see the people we really need to please — the audience.

Evian Reinvigorates Brand with Dancing Babies
Evian Natural Spring Water recently launched a new viral campaign in an attempt to put new energy into its brand and make it relevant once again. With struggling U.S. sales due to a combination of the economic recession and a general shift in the category toward mid to low-priced brands, Evian is focusing on brand building to combat slowing sales. It found exactly what it was looking for with its "Live Young" campaign that features babies break-dancing on roller-skates to a hip-hop soundtrack.

Holiday Inn Rebrand: Just Polishing a Turd?
Intercontinental Hotels Group (IHG) announced on Monday that the second phase of its rebranding efforts will begin for Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express. If you missed the first phase, don't be too hard on yourself as not much happened other than a logo change and new signage. The press release from IHG stated that this effort was to be the largest of its kind ever in the hospitality business, and it also announced that there are two new creative spots to reinforce the "soft" launch, which supposedly included the websites.

Midnight at the Movies
It seems there is a new trend in movie-going. It's not a new idea, but it is definitely spreading in popularity. The Midnight Showing! More and more, movie theaters are showing films at the earliest possible moment. I remember going to the midnight showing of Star Wars about a decade ago, but at that point the majority of the movie-goers were the kind of intense fans that dressed up in character, and only the rare blockbuster movie was given this special treatment.

Using Your PR Skills to Stalk Your Way to a New Job
What have you tried to get your foot in the door? Job seekers are turning to obscure ways to grab hiring managers’ attention, from dressing up as a bunny to sending a gift-wrapped resume. As PR pros, we have a distinct advantage to job searching – experience creating a successful pitch and delivering it to your target audience. In my job search I follow a strategic approach to utilize every opportunity to get a company’s attention.

Public Enemies and Traditional Media
Every time I see a movie, I know I’m supposed to sit there and be entertained but the marketing cynic in me always wonders what the movie is trying to sell. For instance, I am in the 25-45 age bracket. I'm in the acquisition stage of my life with a degree of disposable income. As a kid, I watched Transformers every day after school. Now, suddenly there are two movies out there taking me back to my days in third grade.... and oh yeah, they are overflowing with GM vehicles doing cool things (nice try, GM. I already drive a Saturn and that car is terrible. I’m so getting a Toyota). Sex and the City peddled Manolo Blahniks. James Bond movies sold Sony, Aston Martins and Fords. If you don’t believe me then watch Ironman again and tell me whether or not you get a hankering for Burger King onion rings.

Facebook vs. LinkedIn: Creating Good PR for Yourself
you know that employers today have free access to an online database filled with photos and personal information about their job applicants? Yeah, it's called Google - maybe you've heard of it?

Chick-fil-A Cluckin' Rocks
A couple of days ago, Atlanta based Chick-fil-A released an earnings report in which the chain boasted a system-wide 10% increase in sales. That's a pretty big deal in the fast food world considering that currently the average growth is as much as 4% or as low as -1.7%. While retailers and restaurants are closing in left and right, Chick-fil-A is talking about opening more restaurants this year.

Marketing Lessons Courtesy of Thriller
In 1982, Michael Jackson released the album Thriller. Thriller was so good, that it stayed in the top 10 of the Billboard 200 for 80 consecutive weeks. It had seven singles on the Billboard Hot 100 top 10 singles list and is often said to be the best selling album of all time.

Burger King's Ad Campaign: Smart
Talk about shock and awe. No corporation over the past few months has produced ads as controversial and interesting as the self-described King. Unlike its previous outrageous ad, its aim here is not gratuitous sexuality. Instead, BK goes straight for the cultural throat - satirizing sacred religious imagery. Brash, offensive, over-the-top? Absolutely. Entirely successful? Yes, and let me tell you why.

Simplicity Sells
Have you seen this yet? The Japanese have found a way to bend water! The device triggers plungers that, if operated in certain sequences, can bend water into shapes and letters. I don't know about you, but I can see this making a splash in Vegas.

Give the People a Platform
There's an awesome social art event going on in London right now called One & Other. The idea behind the project is simple: give 2,400 members of the general public the opportunity to take their place on a plinth (that's an empty statue base to you and me) in Trafalgar Square and do whatever they want on top of it for an hour.

When Social Media Failed
To think that a couple of influential Twitter users alone can help carry the launch of a web startup is not an effective launch strategy for the site, nor is it effective PR campaign. Take the recent article in The NY Times about PR in Silicon Valley, the multi-page article follows Brooke Hammerling and her technique of “whispering” into the ears of prominent Silicon Valley professionals to create buzz about Wordnik, a kooky little startup site that serves its purpose very well, but hasn’t announced how it will make money.

Sarah Palin's Personal PR Strategy
Looks like Sarah Palin has something up that red pea coat sleeve of hers. After her sudden resignation as governor of Alaska, my first thought was that maybe she wanted to step out of the political limelight for the sake of her family. Apparently that’s not the case at all.

Green Is the New Black: Marketing to Environmentalists
Is now a good time to start transforming businesses to support the needs of the environment? Just ask CNN, Businessweek, Small Business Trends, or any other news sites. Businesses everywhere are taking steps to reduce their carbon footprint.

Pimp My HBO Show
HBO has just launched a new series called Hung, about a guy named Ray who — after some really bad financial setbacks — decides to use his God-given gift to solve his money problems.

The Skinny on Inbound Links
Gone are the days of quantifying your PR hits by circulation and broadcast audience. In fact, impressions and unique visitors have (in some ways) become the dinosaurs of online measurement. Because social media is social, the metrics that are important are those that illustrate information sharing and discussion. While comments, social bookmarking citations and other metrics are important, Inbound Links are probably the most talked about social media metric.

Sears to the Rescue!
Sears has jumped on the purchase assurance band-wagon! In response to hard economic timesand resistance from customers to make big purchases on its money-making appliances, Sears has introduced a buyer protection program much like the Hyundai program. If you lose your job, you can keep your partially paid for appliances. For the first 12 months of unemployment, the program will credit your Sears card on a monthly basis for the cost of the monthly payment. After 12 months, if you are still unemployed, Sears will erase the balance for the sale, and the appliance is yours to keep.

Clever and Current: Reaching the Information Age
The Internet. The greatest enabler perhaps ever known. The ability to acquire and distribute information at a furious and daunting pace has proven to be the downfall of many a business, political candidate, celebrity etc. However, those who seize control have experienced unprecedented success. Capturing the minds of those fluent in Internet language proves to be the primary goal of advertisers for the future.

Are You Up to the Challenge?
When America needs to grind out a new smash singing sensation who will take the world by storm for at least six months, it comes up with a TV show called “American Idol.” It’s perfect. The show takes amateurs who are willing to perform for next to nothing because it’s a contest and the contestants are doing it to get discovered. That’s what William Hung thought when he went to the audition. Instead of kicking into “She Bangs,” he probably should have entered a different, more recent contest.

'How to Make Devilishly Good Marketing
So, not five minutes after I finished my post yesterday asking if Billy Mays — and all of us — are destined for hell, whose booming voice do I hear coming from the television downstairs but Billy himself, hawking a mini-hamburger maker.

Seven Inches of Beef: The BK BJ
Nothing catches a customer’s eye quite like a 2,000 calorie sandwich, a super model, and, of course, fellatio.

Hey Billy, It's Me Steven... Wait Up!
HI — BILLY MAYS HERE FOR HELL... OK, I shouldn't make fun of this unfortunate tragedy. Billy, a successful and influential man, died an untimely death. But he did expose all of us — and our eardrums — to a painful amount of very loud selling over the years, virtually flooding the airwaves with his high decibel pitch for a lot of stuff of dubious need.

Think Before You Post
I get the feeling it won’t be very long before they change the Miranda rights to say “you have the right to remain silent. Anything you tweet can and will be used against you in a court of law.” It used to be you just had to be really careful with what you posted, messaged and texted for personal reasons. It could get you in a bad breakup, or into a relationship you didn’t want, or signed up in the Marines. But what if something you write gets you fined thousands of dollars? Or thrown in jail?

Agree or Not, Obama is "Online"
Whether you agree with President Obama's politics or not, you have to concede that he is quickly changing the way the game is played. How? By utilizing social media. I'm not just talking about his well-publicized addiction to his Blackberry. I am talking about his use of podcasts for his weekly address and his use of Twitter and Facebook to advance his healthcare agenda.

Catching the Eye While Missing the Mark
I first stumbled across the displayed ad in Washington D.C. on the side of a bus stop. Struck by the image of George Bush, I stopped to survey it. Even as a Bush critic I was somewhat taken aback. Taking one of the most memorable images which represents a sliver of the ultimate failure of the previous administration seems brilliant on the surface. The ad and its organization, changeAidsobama.org, are certainly achieving the type of alluring controversy it intended. However, is the ad successful?

"Why Do We Even Advertise Anymore?"
Being a PR specialist in a world of micro-specialists in every discipline, it would be easy to declare that "advertising is dead!" and proceed to persuade anyone who will listen to the reasons behind my pronouncement while selling the client on a much-more-effective press release.

Keep it Simple, People.
In a world where clutter is king, advertisers everywhere are doing their best to break through the noise. A word of advice (or three) -- keep it simple. That's exactly what Australian agency Cummins Nitro did in their campaign for Tourism Queensland. Challenged to "create international awareness of the Islands of the Great Barrier Reef" and drive tourism there, the local agency executed a campaign that placed classified ads in newspapers across the globe. Unusual? Not if you're looking to fill a position for "The Best Job in the World."

The Social Media Revenue Race
Earlier this month, Nielsen Online released a study detailing time spent on social networking sites. In the past year, usage of social networking sites has jumped 83 percent. Facebook led the way in this surge along with Twitter. However, these media-hyped, mega-viewed sites still struggle with one thing: a way to actually make money.

CEOs Continue to Fear Social Media
I’m scared of the iPhone – as in I have to control my urge to crawl into the fetal position when someone starts explaining all the things it’s capable of doing. When it comes to my cell phone, all I want is the ability to talk and occasionally text. That's it.

Why Aren't We On Oprah?
I know you have all heard it from your boss or clients before. Someone in your industry is quoted in a national publication or seen on national television and they want to know when it will be their turn. About a month ago the organization I work for, Save the Family, was featured on NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams. Coming off that high I got the expected questions regarding when we will be featured nationally again. I don't know why Oprah's people haven't been banging down our door!

KISS at Cannes
No, the glam rock group Kiss didn't make a surprise appearance at Cannes (though it sounds like they could have used the excitement this year). I'm talking about the acronym Keep It Simple Stupid, which seemed to be the guiding principle for winning big this year.

Chasing Cannes Status
It first started when one of my employees tweeted Creativity, an article written by Teressa Iezzi's in the hate/love/hate/love again column of Advertising Age about the creative shift from film towards digital and interactive entitled Lack of Film Standout at Cannes. Later, I received RT's and emails of Jeff Goodby, with all of his Cannes Lions, weighing in with his AdAge.com article about the industry “... becoming irrelevant award-chasers.”

Ashton Kutcher: Twitter King, Box Office Flop
For a guy who hasn’t made a successful movie in several years, Ashton Kutcher remains surprisingly somewhat relevant. If you think it’s because of his marriage to Demi Moore, think again, ‘cause let’s face it – Demi Moore hasn’t been relevant since 1997.

The Holy Grail of Branding
What is the Holy Grail of branding? What is the goal that every brand strives to achieve?

No More Teachers' Dirty Looks
Okay, so yesterday I was whining and griping about the new regulations from the FTC that will throw a chill up the spine of anyone who blogs with an opinion about a product or service. Today it’s only fair that I hail a decision from the court that defends the right to go online and post an opinion. A recent case in Germany involving a website for students to rank their teachers has caused quite a stir in the local educational industry. About now you’re probably being besieged with memories of teachers from your past you wish you had some kind of recourse against.

Mos Def Releases New T-Shirt
When is an album not an album? When it’s a t-shirt.

Be Sure to Follow the Rules You Don't Know
If you blog at all, about anything, you’re going to want to read this. And hopefully I won’t get sued or carried away by black helicopters before I finish writing it. You know how when you’re interested in buying something, you go online and read reviews done by various bloggers about it? And you know how you’re smart enough to get a consensus of those opinions before making your decision? Well the government thinks you’re a friggin’ moron, and they’re going to save you from yourself by regulating what used to be free speech. You’re welcome.

Is Social Media the Last Stop?
I know this article may seem a bit hypocritical, especially since I am constantly on Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites updating my status, keeping up with friends and co-workers, and networking with business associates. However, it has recently come to my attention that I may be addicted. Here are some warning signs:

NOW How Much Would You Pay?!
Whether or not you think there are current attacks on and threats to the free market system, there's one place where there's more free marketing going on than there used to be: iTunes. In April, after a long fought battle, iTunes will continue with its one-price policy for all tracks. Labels weren't too keen on that system. They felt there are some tracks that are worth more, and they should be able to charge more for them. And I think most people, on some level, realize something's just not right when "Stairway to Heaven" costs just as much as William Hung's version of "She Bangs."

Customer Engagement as a Brand Experience
You haven’t lived until you have had to simultaneously prepare for a flight to New York and for a $500k client pitch in the morning crowds of an airport.

The Year the Media Died... Billboard Hit or Broken Record?
If you're looking for another reason to cry yourself to sleep tonight over this whole "recession" thing, here's a whole nine minutes chock-full of reason. Warning: The following video may lead you to question your allegiance to the media world as we know it. (Or cling to it for dear, dear life.) Okay, so if you're anyone in the advertising or media industry, you might have gotten a chuckle or two out of that rather painfully long parody of a Don McLean classic.

Social Media Stirs It Up
There have been two interesting social media moments in my day today. The first was reading an article over at Ad Age that a brave brand planner named Matt Jones wrote called Why I Hate Social Media.

The Truth Is Out There
I'm usually not a conspiracy theorist. I do tend to believe traffic lights know when I'm coming and turn red. And they're slowly putting less and less caffeine in Coke Classic. And global warming is a massive fraud masterminded by menopausal women who want the thermostat set lower. But other than that, I don't buy in easily. But there's talk of a conspiracy afoot at the hands of Verizon and AT&T. The chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee's antitrust subcommittee isn't so sure they haven't been meeting in smoke-filled rooms and setting the price of texting. I believe he even sent a text to both CEO's saying "WTF?"

Not Just for Fun & Games Anymore
I've been humbled. And so has Twitter. And so has YouTube, and probably Facebook. I generally approach technology rather flippantly. And I definitely approach entertainment flippantly. I try not to give the subjects more seriousness than they deserve. But then came the Iranian election. Living in a repressive, closed society is so far from our minds, so out of our experience, that you really have to stretch your imagination to comprehend what it must be like to live in a place where information and communication is controlled.

Dude, You're Getting ROI Dollars!
According to an article at Wired.com, computer manufacturer Dell has done the impossible—they have made money on Twitter. For all of you Doubting Thomas's and Negative Nancy's, I will repeat what I just said: Dell has made money on Twitter.

Nuclear Families Going Boom?
Hulu has had a very entertaining ad campaign running. In it, various celebrities confirm our fears that Hulu is an evil plot to destroy the world. Sorry Hulu, the Internet itself was the first one to come along and destroy the world. It has served a purpose so much grander than its creators ever thought possible. It is not only a revolution equivalent to the iron age or the industrial age, not only represents the ultimate access to virtually all information...but is also the overarching scapegoat for everything that goes wrong in our lives or with society.

Beware of Social Media Myths – I Say Beware of Ignoring Social Media
I recently read an article in the May 29, 2009 BusinessWeek by Gene Marks, CPA, entitled “Beware of Social Media.” I am not sure exactly why Mr. Marks felt the need to comment on this topic. I don’t go around telling him how useless and time consuming balancing your checkbook is (I know there must be benefits or my accounting professor wouldn't have taught us to do it).

Will the Truth Set You Free?
Something happened in the advertising world this morning that got my attention. Someone told the truth. It doesn't happen that often—particularly in public—so when it does I take notice.

Dude, You're Getting $3 Million
In the past, I've joined my voice, pen, keyboard, whatever to the growing chorus of others who question Twitter's ability to last as a red-hot phenom. It certainly has its fans. Hell, it has its addicts. But like any other entertainment medium, and it is an entertainment medium, its overall content has to be kept at a high enough level of quality and usefulness to make it worth habitually turning to day after day. Or in some cases, minute after minute.

Beware of Ignoring Social Media - Part Two
I would like to continue my comments on the article by Gene Marks, CPA which were recently published in the May 29, 2009 BusinessWeek. Last week, I went through his social media myths #1-2 and this week I would like to round out my commentary by continuing to elaborate and further explain why much of what he says is erroneous or simply does not go far enough.

Your Brain Likes Brand Names
There are few things quite as euphoric as a sense of the gratification of reward: being told you’ve done a great job by your friends; seeing your name in the newspaper for some noteworthy deed; or, according to scientists, seeing a brand name.

Competitive Insole Insight
Adidas lets you customize your own shoes and pick colors, patterns and stitching. A few companies do this and its got to be great to have your own custom sneakers to shuffle around in.

Getting Anti-Social with MySpace
Like a lot of people, MySpace was my first foray into the world of social networking. It was certainly the site I kept hearing about until I finally broke down and started noodling around with it. I was immediately impressed with how many people I knew were also on it. I liked finding out what they were up to by checking their "status and mood." I liked getting messages from them through MySpace, seeing what photos and videos they posted. That went along fine until Facebook came along. I resisted Facebook for quite awhile because I felt like when it came to social networking, I'd already chosen my horse. Plus, I just didn't want to be bothered to learn a new system.

A Department of One
If you are like some PR professionals you have found yourself at one time or another the only PR professional in your company. You are a department of one. This presents a number of challenges as well as unique opportunities. The challenges are obvious. You must work that much harder to make yourself a valuable resource to those who control the budgets.

Nationwide Is on Your iPhone
Following in the trend of many major companies and brands releasing their own iPhone apps, Nationwide has just announced their own iPhone app. It's designed to give Nationwide clients an edge in managing their insurance policies. It even includes what they are calling an accident toolkit, designed to walk you through what to do if you are ever in an accident. It provides forms and reminds you to take photos of the damage as well as exchange information with all involved parties. When the toolkit is completed, you merely have to tap the submit button to send your accident claim form in.

Doin' It Just for Love
The ideas you guys have out there are just amazing. There's no shortage of innovation, creativity, or content creation. New ideas for sites, compelling blogs, new ways to get products and services to customers...it just keeps coming. But what's not coming is the fuel that drives the majority of media ventures. Advertising. Many is the night my brain has told me, "Hey, quit wracking me," because I'm always trying to figure out how great ideas can thrive, or at least support themselves, financially.

Social Media's Important Side Dish - SEO
Social Media is no doubt the hot topic in PR, but are we missing out on one important side dish? While the notion of applying SEO to a press release is nothing new, SEO also needs to be applied to these evolving social media strategies, as well. Many savvy consumers first interact with a product online before making a purchase decision. Trusted sources such as posts from reputable blogs, Facebook statuses/endorsements or Twitter conversations have a heavy influence.

What's In A Name
Years ago, I was hired by a Los Angeles radio station to do the morning sports. When I got off the air on day one, the GM called me into his office and said, “I want you to change your name. Marc Weingarten does not sound like a sportscaster’s name.” I said,

Topsy Inflates Twitter Bubble
Last week a new search engine program known as Topsy launched into cyberspace with $15 million in startup cash from multiple investors. Topsy determines the influence of a Twitter user by the number of retweets generated about a topic. Topsy should prove to be an asset for businesses – the most influential twitterers on a topic, product, etc. will be readily available for marketers who want to spread their influence.

Creating Buzz Is Free!
What if you could create word-of-mouth buzz about your company without spending a dime on marketing?

Social Shopping for Boys
Do you know what the first site I check each day is? Beneath the Brand of course! But as soon as I do that I head over to Woot. What's Woot? A shopping site for boys and their toys. I'm sure some girls shop Woot, but the site's focus is clearly guys like me: gadget-happy geeks with an insatiable lust for new shiny objects at cheap prices.

You Only Censor the Ones You Love
In celebration of the anniversary of the Tiananman Square uprising, China temporarily shut down Twitter. Not that any trouble was brewing, but who needs a bunch of kids sending tweets like, "Hey, whoever's up for a democratic revolution meet us at Starbuck's at 3:30"? Anniversaries can rile people up, so they shut down Twitter just to be on the safe side, and of course because they can. Now the Chinese government is requiring that all PC manufacturers bundle software that filters out certain sites. The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology says it's got to happen starting July 1.

Pull Up a Speaker and Let's Party
We're all into new media and the future and seeing where technology takes us when it comes to entertainment. If we weren't into that, I wouldn't write this and you wouldn't check in to Digital Pivot like you do. But still, it's fascinating to me to see how in the midst of ever-accelerating changes and products, there arises a pushback...an almost compulsory urge to do some things the old way. I recently read about the phenom of "MobMovs."

The You Network
What makes you worth something on the Internet? That's not a stupid question at all. Because we now have the ultimate world stage, a platform onto which any human being can stand and bomb or become a smash. Well the traditional media world has clearly sent journalists and writers the message, "You're worthless." Well they aren't worthless, it's just that the institutions to which they belonged became worthless. All you journalists out there now have a monumental task ahead of you...you have to make yourself, your name, the brand now. You have to come up with the content, create the content, gather up a fanbase, market yourself, and get out there and be You, Inc.

Advice to Governor Sanford
I was watching the evening news when a story came on about Governor Sanford's interview with an AP reporter. My advice to Governor Sanford: As a PR professional, I certainly believe in managing the crisis. I believe in giving appropriate access to reporters on the story. Did you catch that? Appropriate.

A Surprising Promotion Idea
Improv Everywhere has posted a new video called Surprise Wedding Reception, where the prolific group of improv pranksters throws a surprise wedding reception for a couple who just got married at city hall in New York

E3’s New Natal Technology Opens Door for Interactive Advertisements
Imagine that you’re walking down your street and you pass a digital advertisement on a television screen. You hear from its direction, “Good morning, sir! Do you have a minute?” Shocked, you stop and give the advertisement a second look. What you see in the screen is a person looking at you—not just outward into the street, but directly at you. You move, and the person’s eyes follow you as you weave across the sidewalk.

Free Donuts Anyone?
Dunkin' Donuts is jumping on the free give-away band wagon tomorrow (6/5), with National Donut Day. They’ll be giving out a free donut with the purchase of a beverage.

The Flat Trend Gets Thrown a Curve
I was reading about a new awesome piece of hardware that will be available in July. It's NEC's 43-inch CRV43 widescreen monitor. It addresses what I suppose is a big problem, which is that when you're running two monitors side by side, you have a a couple of giant black frames running down the middle. But boy does it over-address it. 2880x900 native pixel resolution, 10,000 to 1 contrast ratio, covers 100% of the sRGB color range, and 32 to 10 aspect ratio. And a price tag of $7,999!

The Art of the Retail Experience
There's an article in Ad Age today about Proctor & Gamble's decision to purchase the Art of Shaving, a small, upscale retail chain that offers barbering services and shaving accessories for men. The story got a response from a reader who wondered why, in these challenging economic times, a big CPG company like P&G would decide to add to their operating expenses with a purchase like this, when the potential sales gain would be relatively small.

Coming Soon in Expensivion!
Hollywood studios will tell you there’s an absolute revolution going on. Movie theaters will only tell you if you upgrade to a large soda, you get free refills. There’s a major disconnect going on where the promise and excitement of 3-D movies that really work is being squashed in its tracks by theaters who can’t show them. No question 3-D technology has come a long way from the days when you wore cardboard glasses to see bizarre blue and red lines struggle to deliver one or two effects that only “kinda” worked, the end result usually being you could barely drive home from the headache it gave you and you had paper cuts on both ears.

Brand or Communications First?

Things That Make You Go UGH!
I spent much of the afternoon reading blogs about how to “capture media attention.” What I am reading over and over are tips on how to get a media story or improve your media relations. I agree media relations will always be a vital part of PR, but are we so blind that we forget that it is really the public – people – that are the real target for ALL public relations efforts? Public Relations needs to start taking control of its own destiny and become a forward thinker and strategist.

What's So Special About Social Media Releases, Anyway?
We've probably all heard the buzz about the Social Media Release (SMR) over the past year or two, but many of us have yet to try creating one. Putting together an SMR may seem daunting, but truly, the fundamentals of writing a great press release are the foundation of SMRs as well. Like great traditional releases, SMRs should contain more of a story (and less self-promotion) and be well-written, including all relevant information.

Public Relations Done the Starbucks Way!
Maybe it is because I have become a Starbuck’s Groupie sitting up here day after day writing and drinking a Venti-nonfat-no-whip-raspberry mocha – extra hot filled all the way to the top please – but I think that we as PR professionals can learn a lot about our profession from watching Starbucks baristas go about their jobs. If you know anything about public relations and anything about Starbucks, you know they have something in common: building relationships.

Banking Should Not be Exciting
It’s a quote from a banker, the president of Retail Financial Services, and it appeared online in the New York Times on May 11. But this snappy soundbite wasn’t the big banks admitting a lesson learned. The truism was from a small community bank in Indiana. So how does a small bank executive from Indiana get to play in the New York Times?

If GM Was Your Account, What Would You Do?
Now that GM has officially gone into bankruptcy, a new problem begins. How in the world do you convince people to buy a car from a company with so many overwhelming problems? This question has been rolling through my head for weeks.

The Planned Resurrection of Brand General Motors
During the frantic months leading towards the historic bankruptcy of General Motors, the general public got a lesson in that often used jargon of the marketing communications world: brand.

Workspace Makeovers
You should probably know that every time I write this blog, I’m probably ticked off. Not about what I’m writing about (usually anyway). But I just couldn’t be less thrilled with my work environment, and that keeps me at least slightly agitated. It’s not thought out at all. It’s purely function-over-form slapped together. I have all the interior design skills of a college freshman entering his first dorm room. What I want is an enriched multi-media experience, audio and video production suite, and professionally done chill chamber.

Social Media Beats Porn
Ladies and gentleman, I am stunned. According to an article I just read on Search Engine Watch titled 15 Social Media Maxims for Marketers, by Erik Qualman, "Social media has overtaken pornography as the number one online activity, according to Hitwise data."

The Royal Wii
One thing that’s made the Wii as popular as it is is the fact that all ages and genders seem to be drawn to it. It’s not just a young or a male thing. But when you go down the roster of people who would likely resist its lure, the Queen of England has got to be right there at the top of the list. But that didn’t stop gaming company THQ from presenting her majesty with a gold-plated Wii. Apparently if there’s some doubt as to whether or not someone will like your gift, gold-plating it is a slam dunk to make sure it’s appreciated. You can give me one of those singing fish, and if it’s gold-plated I’ll truly be grateful for it.

Style Or Substance?
Thirty years ago, I was the youngest comedy club owner in the country, employing the likes of Jay Leno, David Letterman and Robin Williams. I was pretty full of myself when a friend hit me upside the head with the ten most resonant words of my life. He said, “Marc, you’re almost always right. But your style is wrong.”

Motive Means Opportunity
After I wrote Friday's blog I was looking for examples about how brands used storytelling in the digital space and I came upon this incredible white paper on the Living Room blog, titled Motive, Means and Opportunity, The beginning, middle and end of brand storytelling written by Nicholine Hayward, an English Brand Planner.

The "Game" Is Changing
Change has always happened. But is it just me (and whenever I ask that question, it usually turns out to be just me), but are today’s changes coming at an accelerated, snowballing speed? I’m not just talking about technology, but the foundational shift with which we have to change what we worry about based on that ever-accelerating technology. In this particular instance, I’m talking about national security. National security used to mean making sure armies didn’t invade. Then it meant making sure nukes didn’t get lobbed over here.

Serial Joiner
One of the problems of reviewing new social media websites and tools is the fact that you have to join most of them to discover the full benefit of the service. I join new sites and services on a weekly basis, mostly to review them, and possibly to recommend them if they are appealing enough, and add enough of a service to my life to continue using it. Like I mentioned though, I join so many of them, and I'm not actually going to use most of them, at least not enough to keep a membership active and continue to check in.

Crossroads of Old & New Media
The “Newspaper of Record” has now officially crossed the line into the Web 2.0 world. Jennifer Preston, the new ‘Social Media Editor’ for the NY Times, has reported for the paper for the past 14 years. This is a fantastic moment that further exemplifies the evolving scope of Journalism. Newspapers might be dying, but Journalism certainly is not. The public has been given little information about the role Preston will play in her new position.

Tell Us a Story
Do you know about Slideshare? It's a site where people can post presentations they have made. I find it to be a great place to see the good, the bad and the ugly in presentations.

It Sells Itself...Not Just a Cliche
I’ve got to blog about this, because it’s rare that I’ve seen a product just suddenly start popping up in people’s hands all around me. It sort of happened with the iPhone, but it was a slower process, and didn’t involve quite as many people as this. For the past 5 weeks or so, I’ve been working almost every day on the set of a TV series that’s going to be on Lifetime. If you’ve ever worked on a TV show, you know there’s a lot of down time when you and your co-workers just sit around waiting until they’re ready for you.

Sexy Sandwiches
Quizno's has been pimping their new sandwich, the Toasty Torpedo. Over 12 inches of sandwich on cibatta for $4.

Artists Without the Art
Watching the music industry make the transition into a new business model based on digital is not unlike watching William Hurt scream and twist in agony in “Altered States.” This apparently just hasn’t been easy on anybody. The CEO of Ticketmaster recently said the demonetization of recorded music has knocked it on its ass (my words, not his) as a source of revenue. He says that now, the music is really nothing more than a marketing tool for the live shows, which are the real money-makers. What else is he going to say? He’s the CEO of Ticketmaster.

Sometimes It's Okay to Pick a Fight
We all know those people who engage others in a snarky, mean-spirited way and still achieve success (I'm looking at you, @amandachapel). They are masters of using the power of controversy and have the ability to fire people up with a single hot-button comment. These firecrackers are everywhere and the media relations industry is no exception. After all, we are all fighting for the media's attention and doing whatever we can to get our story noticed.

Scary Ideas from the Basement
I came across something this morning that really brought a smile to my face. It is a DVD compilation called Monster Kid Home Movies, and it's a collection of homemade horror films kids made, mostly with Super 8 cameras from the 50's to the 80's. There are thirty short horror and sci-fi epics in all, the kind that, once upon a time, kids shot in their backyards and basements after watching a bunch of horror movies on their local UHF channel. Wow, what a treasure!

Assumptions for Sale

When You’re Not in the Top One Percent
For the summer 2009 internship program, Ketchum received more than 1,100 applications for seven spots. Burson-Marstellar received around 800 applications for 15 spots. When the chances of obtaining a PR internship at a large agency are harder then getting into an Ivy League school, one cannot help but wonder – what kind of PR experience do these 22 interns have over the nearly 2,000 others who applied? And to those who were unable to obtain an internship at an agency of any size, how can they refine their skills and obtain PR experience without actually being a part of the industry?

What PR Pros are Doing All Wrong!
In my humble opinion, many Public Relations Professionals have become downright lazy. Over the years, PR has always been considered the “red-headed stepchild” by many companies, clients, advertising agencies and even by the very people who are supposed to be the voice of the profession – the PR specialists themselves.

The Roger Clemens Sculpt
Roger Clemens is a mess. Facing perjury charges for lying to Congress about his steroid use, he hired PR star Gene Grabowski of Levick Strategic Communications to re-shape his image. So Grabowski went on ESPN Radio to sing the wonderful song that was Roger Clemens. Only when I heard Grabowski sing, he was so off-key my ears started to bleed.

Would You Buy a Hyundai if They Paid You?
How do you market cars in a market where no one is buying? Well, Hyundai thinks their newest method will spark even more interest in these turbulent times. Hyundai has combined their Hyundai Assurance plan with our new desire to participate in social networking.

Market Like a Girl
Do you know why this doll is smiling? Because she's an American Girl, one of the best-marketed products in the world. American Girl dolls are a half-billion dollar business that runs on a scant 24% operating margin.

In Control and Not Ready

(Brand) PR+Marketing
Strategically creating a brand makes it possible to show your prospects how your brand aligns with their needs. PR, just like marketing, is part of the essential brand communications mix needed to position a well-designed brand.

I CAN Get Satisfaction!
Don’t you just love it when you come across a company that makes you say from time to time, “Wow. I’m glad I use these guys. What’s not to like?” I mean, how many companies do both a product that good and customer service that good? One such company is Netflix, which habitually shows up at the top of customer satisfaction rankings of online businesses. The sending discs in the mail without having to send them back by a certain date thing was just brilliant.

Twitter and Facebook CAN Be a Unique Branding Experience
I have been hearing about some terrific uses for Twitter and Facebook lately. If your customer base is routinely using Twitter and Facebook, then it’s a no-brainer to find a way to use these mediums well. The problem is, how do you do it in a way that is relevant to your brand?

Starbucks Goes Stalin
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a post about Starbucks' new advertising campaign. My fellow BTB blogger Rena Prizant wrote another post questioning the effectiveness of this multimillion dollar ad blitz. I really don't mean to pick on Starbucks, but I agree with Rena's view of the new campaign as "manipulation." Actually, I'd take it a step further and call it propaganda.

Guilty for Just Being There
Great news! There is no crime going on in South Carolina right now! I mean, the only way a state’s Attorney General could focus his time, effort, money and resources into making sure Craigslist is not available to SC citizens is if there are no real and serious crimes for him to have to deal with, right? Now as I’ve mentioned before, any defense Craiglist tries to put up that it’s not a site used by prostitutes is really, really weak.

The Biggest Mistakes Companies Make in Economic Downturns - part 3
PR Advantage #3 – Public relations is not rigid and can go in many different directions at once, as well as make immediate changes based on feedback from your target audience. When you buy an ad, you control the message, the layout, the timing….well, just about everything and that is an advantage.

Marketing Yourself
Like a lot of other marketers right now, I'm reconsidering my career options. Given the state of the state, I thought it was a good time to get a better picture of everything I can do as a consultant, entrepreneur and employee.

There's Less Room at the Top
America has a friend in its unspoken desire not to be overwhelmed with information…Yahoo. Have you noticed that more and more, when you use Yahoo’s general search engine, you don’t get as many result links? If you did notice that, you’re not going crazy. Yahoo’s doing that on purpose, surmising that people don’t want lots of results when they search a term, they want a few results that are relevant to what they were looking for. Yahoo has been studying for 2-years, longer than some of you had been waiting for the Star Trek movie, what it is you really want when you search for something online.

I Love Everybody Sale
I was shopping at the mall when I noticed not one, not two, but three stores with “Going Out Of Business” signs in their storefront window. I thought to myself, “Why would anybody want to advertise their inability to earn a living?” It’s as if they are saying, “My prices are high, my merchandise stinks and I’m stupid. Come on in and browse!!”

Back End
The messaging is spot on, the release is great, the distribution list is solid, so what could be missing? It's the follow-up. The boring, thankless, sometimes abusive series of calls and contacts to see if the journalist received the story and to "help" him or her frame it to meet the needs of their outlet. Without this follow-up, you may as well not even begin. Paul Hirsch has been in communications since 1983.

CP+B Auctions Off Interns
One of the more interesting things you can currently buy on eBay is a group of interns.

A Controller You Can Control?
Good for Wii! Seriously. Personally, we’re an XBOX360 family, but the Wii truly kicked it up a notch with the whole motion-sensing remote thing. Seemingly overnight, resistance by moms to getting a videogame system fell as they became convinced the kids would actually move, and there would actually be games and activities they saw as worthwhile for themselves, like “Wii Fit.” Now the truth is, if you’ve ever seen my son after a particularly grueling session of Guitar Hero World Tour, you’ll see he clearly must have had some physical and cardio exertion, because he’s drenched in sweat from drumming.

The Biggest Mistake Companies Make in Economic Downturns - part two
Last week, I addressed the first advantage that PR offers, which is keeping you connected to your target audience better than advertising alone can. Another advantage is that it can hit on many fronts….

A-One, A-Two
We all know that messaging is the foundation of a good communications program. What is it, though, that jump starts messaging? For my money it's understanding the client's value proposition. Once flacks can internalize what it is that sets the client apart in the marketplace, they can usually add the words and music.

The Famous Want to Be...You!
If you’re a young local news blogger, you might have dreams of some news director at your local network TV affiliate discovering you and inviting you to be a regular segment on their newscasts. Dream more, and you’re so popular they make you the weekend anchor. Combine dreaming with copious amounts of alcohol, and maybe you see yourself being discovered and made weekday anchor of a major city newscast, then on to being a network news star! If that’s the fantasy you sometimes play out in your mind, it might surprise you to know that a couple of the guys sitting at the endgame of your career dreams…want to be you.

It Came From The Lab
Last week I wrote a post called Deleting Advertising and in it I mentioned that one of the artists who participated in this project worked at the Google Creative Lab. I wanted to find out more about what that was, and I found this video of Andy Berndt, the Managing Director of this new marketing unit for Google, telling a live audience at the 2008 Sandbox Summit what exactly they do there in the Lab.

Ready or Not...Here Traffic Comes
We have this thing called ComScore around to let us know what web sites are doing well, what the online trends are, etc. It’s kind of like TV ratings but hopefully a little more accurate. After all, TV ratings have kept “According to Jim” on the air, but stopped the Rosie O’Donnell Variety Show after one airing. So they’re all over the board. What the latest research shows is that social networking sites continue to boom, growing 12% from March to April.

Back in the Bottle
Yesterday a client was on a TV talk show and regretted something he mentioned in an offhanded way during the interview. My advice to him was that calling attention to the gaffe would create more attention than the mistake itself. You can't but the genie back in the bottle, instead we would put a plan in place to deal with the fallout, if any, when the show airs.

Logo a No Go
As creatives, it's easy to fall in love with an idea. Sometimes we fall in love so deeply that we're willing to fall on our swords for it. I can only guess that's what happened with the Pepsi logo.

Wanted...More Lawyers (and: What Shakespeare Says about CL)
Shakespeare said “nothing is good or bad but thinking makes it so.” He also said “why do I have to use men to play all the women’s parts in my plays when sex sells?” Okay, he didn’t say that second one (that I know of). But sex does sell, and apparently it sells really well on Craigslist. Craigslist, known to many as the Death Star of American newspapers, got more than its fair share of bad publicity after the murder of a masseuse who posted an ad in their “erotic services” section.

Donation, Please
Flacks are often charged with developing materials for fundraising campaigns, especially when the client is a nonprofit. The key element is to make giving both a fun activity and a feel-good experience. Give people a reason to support a worthy cause and most will come through.

Ten for Twittering
One of the amazing things about new social media is how quickly people jump in and claim a piece of it by making an app, add-on or adjunct to the original.

New, From Spam Studios...
This blog is about media and entertainment, and all the ways you can get access to it, and all the ways it can get access to you. But obviously, there’s a lot of content we’d just assume not have access to us. I’ve been working on the set of a TV series for the past few weeks, and one of my cohorts said, “Hey, have you guys been getting calls or texts from a company saying your car warranty is about to expire?” I personally hadn’t, but there were no less than 10 others on the set who had. Besides, when you drive cars as old as I do, expired warranties are just a foregone conclusion.

Podcasts: Are You Missing an Audio Public?
Don’t be intimidated by the online audio behemoths that are podcasts. You could be missing a major audience of audio information junkies by shying away from what was once, but is no longer, a technically complex tactic. True, podcasts can also include video, but I am focusing more closely on the simpler version to implement, the audio podcast.

War of the Words: Just Let It Go Already!
Stuart Foster wrote a post on Tuesday on Social Media Explorer (one of my favorite blogs - add it to your reading list if you haven't already) with seven tips for inciting controversial conversations. The tips are all excellent, but it was #7 that caught my eye: "If all else fails: Laugh and move on.

Social Media ‘Stress Test’ Needed for Generation Y
Know how to embed a YouTube video? Reply to a Tweet? Get Facebook users excited about an event? Many PR professionals at the PRSA-LA events I have attended love to prostrate about social media and how it’s this new, crazy thing that everyone’s using to talk about their products, etc. etc. But herein lies the problem.

Cause Marketing the Country
I think that every agency and everyone who works in marketing should dedicate some of their time to cause-related marketing. Besides being good karma, and a good thing to do, refocusing your mind on causes instead of products lets you use your marketing muscles in a different way.

Don't Let Those Private Labels Knock You Around!
Why does the average Joe buy one bottle of wine over another for the first time? Or something from Target’s Archer Farms private label? The packaging enticed them. Do this with words, do this with design, do this with valuable brand differentiation packaged attractively. Or, better yet, do this with packaging innovation. Why can’t we make a resealable can? Compete with price, of course, but don’t forget design. A good design will stop them in their tracks and give that weasel of a private label a run for its money without costing you an arm and a leg.

Married to Your Apps?
Just like dad’s box of rusty old tools he’s been using or putting off work with for decades, our computers over time gather up our favorite, most often-used web and software apps. It’s actually reassuring that just like we settle in to what our favorite foods are, what Star Wars character we like to dress up as, what our favorite anti-depressant medication is, we let the deluge of new web and software services swirl all around us, while holding dear the ones we’ve adopted as “ours.” Wakoopa collects info on what apps people use, recommend, pass around, etc. Of course, it’s really a survey of mostly males under 27 who love computers and are willing to let their usage be tracked…but surveys are still fun.

Event Hooks
The key element of any media event is a news hook that helps reporters justify covering the event. Cute, fun, or even unique are not enough. You also need to set up a newsworthy contest or provide a news announcement to ensure coverage. Make sure your clients understand this early in the process.

London Calling
T-Mobile recently launched a new viral campaign in the UK with the theme Life’s for Sharing. So far they’ve put out two rather ambitious flash mob-style videos. The first featured hundreds of people dancing in Liverpool station, and the second was an impromptu sing-along to "Hey Jude" with 13,000 people in Trafalgar Square.

Interactive Vigilance
The old standard. For Immediate Release For More Information, Please Contact....

More to Fear than An Abba Reunion
Technology, if you haven’t noticed, is an avalanche. Once it’s rolling, it becomes obvious fairly quickly that you’re not going to be able to stop it. Not only that, it’s a really bad idea to step in front of it. So it’s no surprise technology has started careening down the mountain without anyone getting ahead of it to make sure nobody and nothing in its path gets crushed. For whatever reason, we have this rather romanticized vision of technology as being both effective and trustworthy.

Necessary Evil
No one becomes a PR major with the idea of someday having the pleasure of generating new business. It's a bit of a grim activity in the best of times, and worse than that today. With times as they are, I suggest never removing your new biz hat and consider every industry event and social occasion a sales opportunity. Your survival may depend upon it.

Who Owns Social Media
The debate continues to grow regarding who "owns" social media within the organization. In a recent article in ClickZ, Rebecca Leib outlines the arguments that existing between having PR or SEO groups own social media. The challenging bit about this article, for me, is the fact that most companies don't have dedicated SEO teams. My experience has been that the ownership battle for social media generally rages between marketing teams and their PR counterparts. Personally, I feel social media can fall to either marketing or PR as long as there is plan in place that facilitates conversations rather than simply pushing brand messaging.

Unusually Good YouTube Content
In a bid to get the quirky new NYC cop drama The Unusuals picked up for a second season, the producers of the show are giving it a really strong push online.

Old Media Deathwatch
Maybe the cast of “Big Bang Theory” can figure out how to make CBS’s books amount to something. If not, maybe the cast of “Survivor” can teach former CBS employees how to live off the land when they’re laid off. CBS reported a surprise quarterly loss, but not because their shows are bad. In fact it was the only broadcast TV network to actually increase prime time viewers. But flipping logic on its head, advertisers didn’t care. Despite all those eyes available to see their message, they weren’t buying…so revenue dropped 12%.

A Good Viral Yarn
There’s a new viral video out from Ray-Ban where two guys in dark shades unload a giant red ball of yarn on a San Francisco hilltop and let it roll through the city. The ball bounces along, picks up momentum from the city’s steep hills, gets hit by a truck, and chases a car down. As it rolls down some stairs a pair of feet begin to emerge from the unraveling ball and you realize that there’s someone inside of there. After a last tumble down a hill the guy emerges from what’s left of the ball. He shakes off his dizziness and takes off running across a park, where we see the words Don’t Hide stenciled on the pavement.

No Internet for You!
Those of you who are familiar with Biblical prophesy are probably already quite certain we’re moving toward one world government. And yeah, you’ve never been more right about that than now. But as you await Armageddon, have you ever stopped and taken a moment to think about how Eminem’s intellectual property rights will be affected by this global government? Didn’t think so. Well it turns out that as we sacrifice America’s sovereignty and place ourselves under global laws that regulate the Internet, your future access to it is very much tied up with Eminem’s rights.

No Internet for You!
Those of you who are familiar with Biblical prophesy are probably already quite certain we’re moving toward one world government. And yeah, you’ve never been more right about that than now. But as you await Armageddon, have you ever stopped and taken a moment to think about how Eminem’s intellectual property rights will be affected by this global government? Didn’t think so. Well it turns out that as we sacrifice America’s sovereignty and place ourselves under global laws that regulate the Internet, your future access to it is very much tied up with Eminem’s rights.

In Any Economy, Sex Sells
Wow, even Trojan is getting on the bandwagon with the economy. They recently announced their "economic stimulus pack."

A Rose By Any Other Name
OK, I get how sometimes the best way to differentiate your product from competitors is to re-brand it as something else. The iPhone isn't just a cell phone, it is practically a mini-computer. Subway isn't just a sandwich shop, it is a diet plan. The Cube isn't a car, it's a mobile device.

Deleting Advertising
Recently, a large number of outdoor billboards in New York City were whitewashed over and the ads replaced with art.

Leeeaaaad Times
Clients love magazine coverage. Slick paper, better photography, more prestigious than newspapers, their personal stakeholders are likely to comment, etc. For us, though, magazine coverage can be a headache because it often lacks timeliness. The solution: develop some evergreen messaging with this medium in mind and pitch stories that can be as topical in 60 days as they are tomorrow. Everybody wins.

Point of View
The biggest trick in developing a news release is to make sure it is written from the media's point of view. Why is it interesting to them? Sometimes clients are trying to make sure all the right names are mentioned and all the right buzzwords are included. The key question to ask your client: "Is this for framing on your wall, or for distribution?" Most will immediately understand.

Point of View
The biggest trick in developing a news release is to make sure it is written from the media's point of view. Why is it interesting to them? Sometimes clients are trying to make sure all the right names are mentioned and all the right buzzwords are included. The key question to ask your client: "Is this for framing on your wall, or for distribution?" Most will immediately understand.

Unemployed Copywriter Grins & Bares It
I can tell you from personal experience that this is not the best time to be a copywriter. Layoffs are rampant, budgets are way down, and copy departments have been cut to the bone. And don’t even get me started on those freelance bidding sites where people are doing copy jobs practically for free.

Listing
I am a firm believer in keeping one's own media lists. A good proprietary list is a business advantage, and distributing releases and performing follow ups is a wonderful teaching tool for junior staff (and not a bad brush up for everyone). Clients also love the soup to nuts service.

The Internet Told Me to Write This
Here’s the way it was supposed to go. Once machines got smart enough, they were supposed to turn on us and kill us. If you haven’t ever seen the movie Westworld, that’s pretty much it in a nutshell. But there’s something possibly even more insidious going on. Something so subtle we’d never even notice it until we’re too mentally flaccid to do anything about it. If things progress as is, there’ll come a day when we can’t make even the simplest decision without the Internet telling us what to do.

McDonald's Comes In For The Coffee Kill
McDonald's is about to roll out a huge national campaign for its new coffee line, supposedly its biggest ever. Their total spend is estimated at $100 million, and includes TV, print, radio, outdoor, Internet, events, PR and sampling.

Spend Like an Animal
You might play video games as a form of escapist entertainment. The action temporarily takes you away from the worries and stresses of the day. But hey, to be successful in a new video game venture, you have to zig when the other guy is zagging. That might be why there’s now an online game that is about your worries and stresses of the day. In “Debt Ski,” http://www.indebted.com/the-game/debtski/ you’re a pig. And you ride a jet ski while experiencing all kinds of financial challenges like buying essentials, buying luxuries, taking on debt, getting hit with unexpected smackdowns like a catastrophic medical condition, etc.

All New StumbleUpon Bar
StumbleUpon does a lot of things right and now you can chalk up another plus for the social browsing tool. StumbleUpon has recently integrated a Stumble Bar into the pages you stumble upon. The Stumble Bar looks and feels very similar to the new Digg Bar, but isn't receiving the negative feedback. See, the thing I love about this integration is you don't need to install a toolbar to use the service. For the past few months, I've been using Google Chrome and not having the stumble toolbar always put a damper in my stumbling fun. Not any more! Now excuse me while I continue to stumble.

Hey Starbucks - Wake Up and Smell the Economy
To defend against the recent tide of price-based competition from the likes of McDonalds and Dunkin' Donuts, Starbucks is rolling out a series of long form, full-page newspaper ads on Sunday, to tell the brand's "story" and warn consumers about the dangers of trading down. Now that's stupid strategy!

Your Obligation to Be Interesting
Did you get my tweet? I sure hope so. I sent one out to let all of you know I was enjoying the sunshine. That may not sound like anything very substantive, but look, you chose to follow me. And as a follower of Mike, I make the assumption that you would like to be notified of my every move, no matter how grippingly plain. You probably thought I’d update you on projects I’m working on, big career moves, and maybe the occasional message about my kids accomplishing something.

Creative Advertising
I was looking at Amazon this morning and noticed that one of my favorite books, Creative Advertising, is out with a new edition. Haven't checked it out yet but I did pull out my old copy and saw a few choice things I'd underlined a while back.

Turning Pages is for Suckers
You know about kindling a new relationship. You know about needing kindling to start a good campfire. But do you know about reading on a Kindle? The device has overcome a great many of the shortcomings it had in previous incarnations, and has started to truly take hold in the very crowded vernacular of “standard tech devices that are a must-have.” For those who don’t know, Kindle is what might/will replace books. Amazon hails the Kindle2 as the next generation of wireless reading. I’m sorry, were there wires on books?

Is the Client Always Right?
The dilemma: your client is strongly suggesting something that you know is, at best, ill advised. Do you just shut up and do it, or do you put a stake in the ground? My advice: do neither. Instead, ask for five minutes to calmly explain why their suggestion is misguided, provide an alternative with solid reasoning behind it, and let them choose. Then, of course, do your very best to execute the chosen path. You'll likely be off the hook regardless of how things turnout and you will probably enhance the relationship.

A Band of Brothers
An ad for a brand of men's pants called Bonobo recently caught my eye. Bonobos are advertised as Awesome Fitting Trousers, which sounded kind of cool, so I checked out their website.

Free At Last, Free At Last!
C’mon, you can come out and say it. Even if you’re the most hardcore Apple fan, so in love with your iPhone you’d volunteer to go to Mexico City and be a pig farmer before you’d give it up. You’ll say nothing bad about it, no matter what happens. But at night, when you tuck yourself in bed, you hear that little part of yourself that’s still fighting to be heard and dealt with. It whispers to you in a still, small voice. “I wish I didn’t have to use AT&T.”

How to Get a Show
It’s not enough to have a show anymore. It’s not enough to get people to watch your show on TV. In the new media world, in order to be considered a success, you’re now expected to get people to live, eat, sleep, breathe, and think about your show 24/7. And look, it’s not like it’s an easy task getting someone to watch a show even once. If you create a show, publicize it, and wind up building an impressive base of regular viewers…

Without Words
A good identity program allows flacks to communicate a client's value proposition without words. Flacks can play off colors, fonts and logos by assuming that the values in the identity program have been communicated and do not need repeating. Having a coporate identity team on staff is an edge for a large agency.

The Periodic Table of Visualization Methods
I admit it, I'm a total sucker for data visualization. I'll happily pour over Edward Tufte's books anytime and though I'm a writer, I'm totally OK with an almost complete absence of words.

Shareowner Meeting
The Annual Shareowner Meeting for publicly traded companies provides the relatively rare confluence of media relations, executive communications, employee communications, and investor relations. All those cooks can make for a fairly convoluted stew with a wide variety of goals and messages. The key to keep from strangling each other is to prioritize goals for the meeting before nerves and personalities get involved, and then stick to those goals when the sledding gets rough.

Cool Coffee
There was an interesting article in the New York Times this weekend — in the Styles section no less — about Café Bustelo. Just in case you don't know, Café Bustelo is a low-priced, Cuban-style espresso coffee that comes in a retro yellow and red can, and has a no-nonsense coffee taste with a substantial kick.

What Is...Inferior Humans
IBM is announcing today it’s got a computer program almost ready to go that will go up against human contestants in…”Jeopardy!” Some say that would be a huge leap in artificial intelligence technology. Others say it’s just an amusement that shows nothing. But it is interesting that those who work with such computers feel passionate and compelled to make computers better than humans. And there are also those humans who are deeply passionate about proving humans are still superior to computers.

HR Communications
It's pretty common for corporate flacks to rotate into internal communications at some point. A very good field with which to become familiar is Human Resources. The communications is precise, and every company needs this skill. Learning and executing HR Communications can add more responsibility, hopefully leading to greater compensation, and increase your career options.

Patience Required
Speed is a constant in the life of a flack. Internet news cycles are instaneous, TV and radio are same day, and newspaper articles can come out the next day. The exception is magazines, which can have lead times of weeks or months. This departure is often frustrating, but there are payoffs. Magazine articles are often carefully crafted, features can go into depth unavailable elsewhere, and in some prestige rags the presentations can be beautiful. Patience is a virture. It can also impress your client.

Your Logo Makes Me Barf
OK, here's a website you don't want to be featured on: it's called Your Logo Makes Me Barf and it's a hall of shame for really bad logo design.

Your Right to Steal in Jeopardy Again
I know, I know…you enjoyed Pink Panther 2 so much you vowed to not only buy the DVD, but to also make sure a copy is stored digitally on your hard drive so you can watch it on your ipod and make sure that even if, God forbid, something happened to the CD, you’d still get to enjoy Pink Panther 2 whenever you wanted. Totally understandable. But Hollywood doesn’t understand you. And they get very bent out of shape when they hear anything about a copy being made of a DVD.

Setting Expectations
There is nothing more important to a client than his or her story. How many times have you heard something like, "This seems like a Fortune cover story to me." Or, "Can we get 60 Minutes to cover this?" Tip O'Neill supposedly claimed that, "All politics is local." Is the same true for PR?

Setting Expectations
There is nothing more important to a client than his or her story. How many times have you heard something like, "This seems like a Fortune cover story to me." Or, "Can we get 60 Minutes to cover this?" Tip O'Neill supposedly claimed that, "All politics is local." Is the same true for PR?

Mirror, Mirror on the Video...
Samsung just launched a really cool video on YouTube to promote their new HD camera phone. The video, created by London-based agency The Viral Factory, challenges you to figure out how they make a camera phone disappear without edits or effects.

Muscles Need Protein Above All
Are you one of the many health buffs into bodybuilding? Well if you are, don’t forget the one most important thing to make those muscles strong and healthy…protein. They are one of the many supplemental additives that help people build bodies into the envious builds that many people dream of today. Liquid Morph+ combines 45 grams of three high-quality types of protein (whey, casein, and hydrolyzed collagenic)--along with some extra nutrients for strength, pumps, and recovery.

Students Celebrate WiMAX
Universities get everything cool first. They got the Internet first. They got Facebook first. Now they’re getting mobile WiMAX first. And it’s not even an American university! Taiwan’s Tatung University now has a cloud of connectivity that has descended over its campus. And it’s a cloud more than a few experts have said isn’t a workable wireless platform. Tell that to Tatung teachers and student, who are Twittering and status-updating all over campus. Oh the experts think WiMAX is fine for fixed networks, but mobile…uh uh. It’s hardly that America has washed its hands of the notion.

One Rotten Apple App
Apple’s bread and butter (all this talk about food!) is being hip and on the cutting edge. However, we’ve once again been reminded that you can be just flat irresponsibly cutting edge. I supposed “cutting edge,” by definition, is to take your product or service or content places that haven’t been explored before. Or exploited before. Well if that’s the case, the developers at Sikalosoft are so cutting edge they’re just too cool for the room…even the Apple room. They got an app for iPhone approved and made available for sale on iTunes called “Baby Shaker.” That’s right, that’s the name they picked for it. About now you’re thinking, “Oh, well that’s not what the app is about, it’s just a very poorly chosen name for an app.”

TV Prep
I spent most of today preparing two clients for television interviews. It was a good reminder of how nervous the idea of television makes some otherwise highly accomplished folks. Nothing beats a role-play session to calm nerves and create the feeling that this is routine.

Breakfast in Someone Else's Bed
Guests staying at hotels in London this morning are waking up to a pleasant surprise: free breakfast delivery, compliments of another hotel.

EcoPower Recycled Motor Oil Launched
No more excuses! People who often complain that they find nothing eco-friendly about alternative fuel or oil solutions are bound to come to a halt now that EcoPower is around thanks to Safety-Kleen. For the past 20 years, Safety-Kleen has produced high quality motor oils for large commercial fleets and the federal government by re-refining used oil the company collects at thousands of car dealerships, automotive retailers and quick lube facilities across North America.

Sheraton Columbia Town Center Reborn
When renovation sets into any property, expectations are high. And considering that Sheraton Columbia Town Center is a place that most travelers are familiar with, you can just imagine why people expect improved and better service.

Glutamine Keeps You Up and About
There are many things you can do to make yourself fit and healthy and apparently Glutamine can help achieve that for you. Glutamine is a very important amino acid and it’s the most abundant amino acid (protein) in the body, accounting for 60% of free form protein in our muscles. And it’s a powerful antioxidant. It has a major effect on liver function and acts as cellular fuel to muscles and other tissues in the body, as well as regulating protein synthesis.

Is There Life After People?
Apparently most of us will sooner or later come to think, what happens when all of mankind comes to a stop? Will the world still be around? While we don’t have the answers to that, we can always visualize in our own little way what the world would look like. Apparently you can use your iPhone do somehow foresee how the world would look like in the distant future given those constraints. HISTORY has today launched its first iPhone and iPod Touch application, the Life After People Photo Ager, which helps to answer that question. The free application is available for download at Apple’s iTunes store and allows users to “age” images by adding cracks, holes, mold, dirt, vines, plants and even stray animals and rusty bicycles to photos that can be saved for later and shared with friends.

Meet the Two Eco-Friendliest Celebrities
There are a lot of big names in the showbiz industry these days making headway in the call for eco-friendliness. While the list goes on, two names came out on top. They are Leonardo DiCaprio and Oprah Winfrey. DiCaprio beat off male counterparts Bono, Brad Pitt and actor Ed Begley Jr. to top the male category in the survey, which was carried out by GreenDaily.com and Bebo.com, to mark Earth Day today.

Correction, Please
Regardless of how clear and clever your messaging is, eventually a media outlet will misinterpret your assertions and deliver some unwarranted criticism. That is your opportunity to tactfully respond with a gentle correction. If done correctly you'll score points with your client and the media outlet will agree they owe you one. That's my definition of a win-win.

Colgate-Palmolive Combats Childhood Hunger
Colgate-Palmolive focuses on the problem of hunger in the world as it has partnered with Share Our Strength to address the current issue. To coincide with Mother's Day, Colgate today launched a campaign to raise awareness of childhood hunger featuring an online contest to support summer feeding programs to select cities in the U.S.

McDonalds Names All-American Achievers
Two essays written by students from the 7th and 8th grade were named All-American Achievers by McDonalds to highlight the students who are excelling in academics. The company named two students - one Durham, North Carolina, 8th grader and one Fort Lauderdale, Florida, 7th grader - as All American Achievers. The kids were selected from among the 20,000 7th- and 8th-grade classrooms in 1,900 schools nationwide invited to participate in the program.

Kellogg Settles False Advertising Charges
Kellogg has announced that it will settle federal charges surrounding the supposed false benefits that children would get from one of its products, Frosted Mini-Wheats. A proposed consent agreement would bar Kellogg from making misleading claims for its breakfast and snack foods and from misrepresenting studies, the FTC said.

Reach Out and Sell Someone
I love ad agencies. Ad agencies are really fun places: you get to hang around with a pretty interesting, quirky bunch of folks, and you get to make up stuff and get paid for it! But, with all the layoffs and lost business and palpable fear in the air, agencies aren't that much fun lately. The good news, is that there's something we can do about it.

Take The Bus on Earth Day
What is one day without a car? Well for Earth Day, join the trend of most motorists abstaining at least for that day by taking the bus. During Earth Day, follow the lead of most people who are going to travel or go to work alternatively by taking the bus. It is their way of celebrating Earth Day and one day should not be too much to ask. People often overlook the fact that public transit and school buses replace a significant number of cars on the road, making them an environmentally sound transportation option. Research shows the typical automobile driver can reduce individual daily carbon emissions by more than 4,800 pounds per year by using public transit.

Cheerios Reduce Cholesterol?
Cereals are a great breakfast meal. However, it looks like Cheerios can do more than satisfy our hunger. They can lower our cholesterol levels! Research presented at the Experimental Biology Meeting revealed Cheerios can help lower cholesterol by 10 percent in one month. The study, which was conducted and presented by Provident Clinical Research, found that eating two 1 1/2 cup servings of Cheerios daily, as part of a reduced calorie diet low in fat, lowered LDL or "bad" cholesterol about 10 percent in one month. Cheerios is the only leading ready-to-eat cereal clinically proven to lower cholesterol.

You've Got a Degree in What?
The other day I got a newsletter in the mail from my alma mater, the Journalism school at the University of Georgia. I was surprised at my reaction to it. The very first thought that came into my head was…”universities still have journalism schools? Really?” Why? I’m not the only one thinking that way according to an article in the New York Times (filed quickly to get it in before the paper goes out of business)

Twittering for Pay?
Pizza hut has announced that it is looking for people to Twitter, for pay, about the company and its events. Theoretically, they are looking at this as a paid internship, and are ideally looking for a college student, The Pizza Hut internship "twinternship" is a 10-12 week session during the summer months at the company’s headquarters in Dallas. The intern will act as a fully integrated member of the PR team and will focus on new and emerging social media, such as Twitter, Facebook and others. This is a full-time paid internship, and Pizza Hut will work with you and your school to support academic credit, if applicable.

Crazedlist.org
There have been craigslists tools before. Almost all of them get shut down or disabled, due to the way craigslist returns search results. There's a new one in town, though. Crazedlist.org is a new site, it allows you to search many different city pages at once, preventing having to visit each one individually to find what you need. The developer has a cute disclaimer on the site, intended to be tongue in cheek, but it serves its purpose. dear craigslist,

Need to win a war? There's an app for that!
Much debate and political flame-throwing has taken place over properly equipping our troops in Iraq. We’re talking mostly body armor, armor plating for Humvees, maybe some advanced weaponry, some pilotless drones. And as cool as all that is to have, a soldier’s coolest gear just may turn out to be their Apple iTouch. Newsweek reports that America’s finest have apparently been using the iTouch for sending data back and forth about their location, and the enemy’s. They can use it for translating. They can use it to photograph and upload pictures of suspects

Internal Flackery
The evolution from journalist to flack often inludes a stop editing the company publication, nowadays more likely to be a 360 degree online blog. This assignment helps the former journalist ease into partisan flackery while taking advantage of some hard-earned professional skills.

Bring Out the Mermaids
There's a drinking establishment in Brooklyn's Red Hook section called the Tini Wine Bar, that had a dispute with their landlord recently and was forced to relocate. The bar was just moving down the street, but instead of hiring movers, they turned the move into an event.

New Flip Flops from Sandals Launched by Fitness Footwear
Flip Flops have their share of followers and because of this, Fitness Footwear has come out with a new batch, particularly in time for Summer. Fit Flops are just one of the answers. Styled to resemble a comfortable flip flop and now with a new range of winter slipper designs, they are the perfect footwear to stay slim and trim all year round, from going about the daily routine to relaxing at home. Fitness Footwear MD Luke Barlow said: "This is the time of year when everyone goes mad for sandals. Suddenly the sun comes out and all our stocks of Birkenstocks and Fit Flops are flying out the door."

I, Twitter
Twitter. For those of you who don't know what Twitter is, or sort of know what it is, here's a paraphrased explanation from Wikipedia:

Burger King Lands Themselves in a Whopper
.Burger King tends to revel in walking the razor's edge of public opinion when it comes to advertising. To give them credit, they definitely think outside of the box. In recent years, we have been able to sacrifice our friends on Facebook in exchange for a whopper, been treated to a crazy plastic king running around cities doing strange stuff (inlcuding starring in XBox 360 games), and even currently, we get to see women dancing with bizarrely square-shaped derriers while Sir Mix-a-lot sings about how he loves square pants.

Use Fewer Words
Flacks who can communicate well without using words have a significant edge. Simple elements like fonts, white space and colors can communicate values and branding without forcing your audience to expend effort reading. It adds a layer of difficulty, but it's worth it.

US Economy - the Video Game
We hear economic indicators on the news all the time. We hear about housing starts and the consumer price index and new unemployment claims. But one way to tell if we’re really going over the edge might be to watch what’s going on with…video games. It’s easy to assume that’s one of those industries that should largely be “recession proof.” I’ve gotten to where every time I hear that term used in the media, they may as well be trying to tell me that some people are “age proof.”

Marketing with Zombies
There's a new version of Pride and Prejudice in bookstores now that's definitely going to take this classic out of the chick lit category. It's called Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and it's a literary mash-up the likes of which I've never seen.

Message Massage
A lot of projects develop several moving parts. Before you get too far ahead of yourself remember to develop a messaging document to which the entire team can refer. This will maintain focus and maximize your opportunities.

Woe Is I
As a writer, one of the things that really hurts is seeing smart people make dumb writing mistakes. Now, I'm not talking about grammar with a capital G — which, trust me, I'm no expert at — I'm talking about simple, avoidable mistakes.

Julianne Moore to Judge Battle of the Chefs:
Looking for something eco-friendly to cook? Well, check out this event sponsored by SOYJOY and Gen Art. On April 22, the Battle of the Chefs: Eco-Cuisine, a dynamic, live cooking competition will place notable chefs in live culinary combat to demonstrate the numerous ways to incorporate earth-friendly foods, like soy, into our diets.

Meet The New Working Mother of The Year
Today, you just have to take your hats off to the successful working mothers. Traditionally mothers are supposed to stay at home but with the need for both parents to work for better chances of surviving the financial bug, we have seen a lot of successful working mothers. And for Working Mother Magazine, the top choice for “Working Mother of the Year” is Janet Liang.

BuildASign.com Announces Bailout Plan
In a move to provide some assistance to the struggling retailers as far as signage requirements are concerned, BuildASign.com has released an open-ended offer to partner with sign businesses across the country. The online signs retailer extends this offer to competitors in danger of closing anywhere in the US in order to create mutually beneficial relationships that will help see both BuildASign.com and its partner companies through the recession. BuildASign.com has invested heavily in developing a state-of-the-art, user-friendly website and building a national online presence.

Dallas Ad League Hosts Auction Online for Charity
The Dallas Ad League will play host for Dallas’ Greater Area for 2 days, allowing access to more than $1.4 million in paid media for just pennies on the dollar. Proceeds from the DAL Spring Media Auction will benefit two charities: The DREAM Fund and the Dallas Ad League Foundation scholarship program. "We're supporting the Dallas advertising community in these tough economic times by stimulating cash flow for participating media entities and offering incredible deals for media buyers and their agencies," said Frank Kopec, executive director of the Dallas Ad League.

KFC Presents the Kentucky Grilled Chicken
Kentucky Fried Chicken has been known to come up with the craziest concept dishes and apparently there is a new one coming out. KFC announced a second secret recipe added to its menu – the Kentucky Grilled Chicken (KGC). The announcement made today, at New York City's famed Friars Club marks the launch of this revolutionary new non-fried menu item, which is available in KFC stores nationwide beginning today. KFC's Kentucky Grilled Chicken is packed with flavor. It's marinated and seasoned with a savory blend of six secret herbs and spices and slow-grilled to juicy perfection.

Junkie Pricing
My whole life, I went out of my way to avoid becoming a “heavy user.” I watched all the films in school warning me about it, I visited the police station on career day. I had it ingrained in me that if I every crossed the line and became a heavy user, there’d be a price to pay for it. Boy were they right. Because once you’re hooked on heavy broadband usage, you’re nothing more than somebody’s digital crack monkey, who’ll do and pay anything to keep the 0’s and 1’s flying both ways, fast and furious.

Jamba Juice Presents School Bonanza ‘09
Jamba Juice will be holding a 6 week promotion to give back to local schools to back up its fundraising efforts. The leading provider of healthy, fun and on-the-go food, snacks and beverages, announced today the kick-off of its latest promotion, School Bananananza '09--a 6 week long program that begins its year-long efforts to raise over $1 million dollars for schools nationwide.

Microsoft and Discovery Team Up for Cross Network Ad Buy
.Two big names, Discover and Microsoft have collaborated to launch a three-screen campaign spanning mobile, Internet and gaming. Microsoft Advertising sets sail today with the announcement of a simultaneous three-screen ad campaign for the Discovery Channel's "Deadliest Catch" television series. The advertising campaign, which spans MSN, MSN Mobile, Windows Live Hotmail, Microsoft Live Search and Xbox LIVE, is designed to drum up excitement for the premiere of the fifth season of the channel's highly-rated reality series about crab fishing in the waters off Alaska.

Lovely & Delicious Go Full Time
Lovely & Delicious is expanding its niche by announcing that it will become a full service brand marketing firm for the food and lifestyle business categories. This move positions Lovely & Delicious Enterprises to serve medium-sized and national / global brands.

Tabasco Gets Royal Seal of Approval
It looks like the Queen of England like the Tabasco brand so much that she has awarded it that ultimate royal seal of approval. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has awarded a Royal Warrant to its maker, McIlhenny Company, a family-owned company that celebrated its 140th anniversary in 2008.

Christopher Guy Scheduled to be at Toronto for Ridpath Fine Furniture Debut
No other than the man behind the concepts and designs of luxury brand Ridpath's Fine Furniture. On Thursday, April 30 from 6-9 pm, Christopher will present an in-depth look into his approach to style, luxury and design. He will also discuss the elements and inspiration behind his latest collection which is making its Toronto debut. Christopher, world-renowned for fusing classicism with modernism, is the creative force behind his 15 year old luxury brand.

Bremner Recalls Fresh Finds Brand Pistachios
Until Pistachios are cleared to be safe, expect a lot of companies that distribute them to issue voluntary recalls. Now these recalls should not be considered admitting that they are unsafe products. Rather it is a precautionary measure until a proper medium to determine their safety for consumption comes out. Flavor House Products, Inc. and Nutcracker Brands, Inc., both part of the Bremner Food Group, announced a voluntary recall today of several brands of in-shell roasted and salted pistachios and dry roasted pistachio kernels. This recall is a precautionary measure due to the voluntary recall of pistachios announced by the supplier of the pistachios, Setton Pistachio of Terra Bella, Inc., on March 31, 2009.

Church’s Chicken Continues Strive for Success
With a proven brand marketing tactic bringing in the bacon, Church’s Chicken has placed a positive outlook for its brand. The latest tactic is their 99-cent value menu offering launched in January during a period typically slow for most restaurants in the quick-serve industry, the new value menu offers eight items for under a dollar. The success of the value menu especially during a down economy only re-enforces the effectiveness of their multi-layered marketing approach to drive value while staying true to the brand’s core essence of authenticity and time-tested great products offered at a value.

Kimberly Clark Launches New Super Premium Huggies
Kimberly Clark has unveiled a new super premium diaper under its Huggies brand that includes natural, organic materials and ingredients to provide gentle protection for new babies, as well as initial steps toward environmental improvements, without sacrificing performance. The new Huggies Pure & Natural diaper is hypoallergenic, latex and fragrance free and features a breathable outer cover that includes organic cotton. The liner includes natural Aloe & Vitamin E and materials from renewable sources, and the product's outer packaging is sourced from 20 percent post-consumer recycled materials. The new diaper will be offered in 6 sizes, from newborn through size 5.

Right or Writer
One of the dangers of a long career in corporate PR, especially at one company, is that some flacks will begin to write for approval instead of writing to communicate the company messages. The human tendency to avoid conflict comes into play. Stand up to it. Calmly explain to the authority figure why you are doing what you're doing. Sometimes, the write thing happens.

Damned if You Do, Damned if You Don't
Damned if You Do, Damned if You Don'tSocial media pundits call for radical transparency from companies and honest engagement with the community. This radical transparency rocks the very foundation of corporate culture and thus truly embracing the concept will not happen overnight. We're turning a 300-foot barge in the opposite direction, but expecting the response time of a speedboat.

Social Media ‘Stress Test’ Needed for Generation Y
Know how to embed a YouTube video? Reply to a Tweet? Get Facebook users excited about an event? Many PR professionals at the PRSA-LA events I have attended love to prostrate about social media and how it’s this new, crazy thing that everyone’s using to talk about their products, etc. etc. But herein lies the problem.

The Biggest Mistake Companies Make in Economic Downturns
Companies everywhere are scrambling to maintain a semblance of economic viability in these tough times. They are cutting salaries, reducing inventory, cutting advertising budgets and ….building their panic rooms which is where they are now….hiding….waiting till the “all clear” sounds and they can come out. And that is the absolutely worst thing they could be doing.


You know, just the other day I was sitting around the house, flipping around the over 100 channels I get on my cable system, staring at the wall of DVD’s I have while my iPod filled with video content both professional and otherwise lay charging, and I thought to myself, “Gee, I sure wish there was another source for video content.” I know you’ve done that too. Because until your eyes are wired open like that scene from “A Clockwork Orange,” everyone just has to make the reasonable assumption that you’re not being offered enough video.

Cub Food Brand Queen Olives Recalled
Due to a potential contamination issue, Cub Foods has issued a voluntary recall on all Cub Foods brand Queen Olives Stuffed with Minced Pimientos. The problem arose from the jars which may possibly be contaminated. The affected product was sold at Cub Foods stores in Minnesota and Iowa.

Domino Sugar Unveils New Pure Sugar Cane
Here is a new drink you can find worthy to check out from Domino Sugar. It is CarbonFree-certified and available in select markets for eco-conscious consumers looking to reduce their climate impact. Domino Sugar's pure cane products were certified CarbonFree by Carbonfund.org.

Joe’s Sports and Outdoor Closing Shops
Joe’s Sports and Outdoors has announced that it will be closing down all 31 shops, ending 57 years of business in what is obviously a cause from the continued economic downturn hitting the world today. A massive, Going-Out-of-Business sales event starts storewide Friday, April 10th. "This historical event will mark the end of an era," said Thomas Lonabocker, a principal at Gordon Brothers Group. "Consumers will find great values on all merchandise at every store location. Those who arrive first will be able to choose from the broadest selection."

Man Up Ad Promotes Free HIV Testing
The AIDS Healthcare Foundation will be launching a new campaign to promote its HIV prevention campaign. This time it shall be Blair Underwood who will be starring in the campaign which can be seen on billboards throughout Los Angeles. The campaign continues AHF’s “Stay Negative” HIV prevention and testing campaign which began earlier this year with advertising materials that featured an eye-catching image of a semi-nude male with the words “Stay Negative” tattooed on his back. Like the previous “tattooed man” ad, the Underwood “Man Up” campaign includes billboards, an online presence which, in addition to its own website, includes banner advertisements on KIIS, HOT, MYFM radio station websites.

The Day the Net Stood Still
Not to ruin your weekend, but at this point in your life, have you ever really sat down and taken stock of just how much you rely on the net? Sure it started out as amusement, as entertainment, as an interesting little phenomenon. But now you’ve probably moved on to just downright needing it…for purchases, for banking, for info about everything from health condition to government services. You’re on it every day, for any one of numerous reasons. Now what if it all went away? How long would it take you to put your “life” back together should you ever learn that the net long-term just can’t be trusted to be there? It’s the stuff Jerry Bruckheimer thrillers are made from.

CARS Fleece Clog Children's Shoes Recalled
A potential choking hazard has forced the hand of Pagoda International Footwear Ltd. Of Hong Kong to issue a voluntary recall on its ‘CARS’ Fleece Clog Children's Shoes. About 73,000 distributed in the United States and 18,000 distributed in Canada.

Ross Folding Chairs Recalled
A potential Fall Hazard has forced Ross Stores Inc., to recall about 730 folding chairs which were sold at Ross Stores nationwide since February 2009 for about $50.00. The side supports on these chairs can splinter when weight is placed on them, posing a fall hazard to consumers.

MillerCoors and RecycleBank Relaunch The Cycle Video
Here is something worth watching from MillerCoors and RecycleBank. Just in time for Earth Day, MillerCoors and RecycleBank have partnered to relaunch "The Cycle," an animated video that helps answer the important question of what happens to recyclables after they are collected. "The Cycle" won the "Best Educational Resource" award at this year's South by Southwest Interactive Festival in Austin, Texas. RecycleBank is a recycling rewards program currently servicing households across 18 states. To date, RecycleBank has helped to divert more than 141,000 tons of recyclables from landfills and households have cumulatively saved more than 1.4 million trees and more than 95 million gallons of oil through their recycling efforts.

Wal-Mart Recalls Women’s Shoes
Due to a potential fall hazard, Wal-Mart has issued a voluntary recall on Women’s Shoes. There were about 2,000 pairs reportedly sold. Heels on the shoes can easily detach, posing a fall hazard to consumers. This recall involves women's sling-back, pointed-toe shoes sold under the George brand. The shoes were sold in three colors, black, grey and purple, and in sizes 5 1/2 to 11. These were sold exclusively at Wal-Mart stores nationwide from June 2008 through December 2008 for about $13. Consumers should immediately stop wearing the shoes and return them to the nearest Wal-Mart for a full refund. (Source) Press

Love at First Facebook
Remember that sick, icky feeling when your parents went into their midlife crisis and started trying to use the same phrases you used? Or worse, when they started listening to, and pretending to like, the music groups you liked? That must be the way the early users and adopters of Facebook must feel. Because the social network site that was only for college students in 2004 is seeing most of its growth and power from people…**shudder**…over 30! It shouldn’t come as any great surprise. Facebook is being used first and foremost by the older set to reconnect with friends from high school, college, old towns, old jobs, etc. College kids weren’t reconnecting, they were just connecting.

Hollywood Moms Walk for A Cause this March
A group of new moms based in Hollywood have come together for a cause. March of Dimes volunteers in California have teamed up in a new public service announcement (PSA) to show their support for March for Babies, the nation's favorite walking event that helps moms have full-term pregnancies and babies have healthy lives.

PUMA Launches New Motorsport Website
PUMA has launched a new website acting as a central hub for news, opinions and experiences enabling fans to live the glamorous motorsport lifestyle first-hand.

Kraft Foods and Save the Children Focus on Fighting Malnutrition
The fight for malnutrition is on and through the partnership of Kraft Foods and Save the Children, Indonesia and the Philippines are their main target in commemoration of World Health Day. The three-year, US$3 million commitment from the Kraft Foods Foundation will support community-based meal distribution and improve nutrition education. The program will reach more than 180,000 children and families in geographies where the prevalence of malnutrition has been made even more acute by the global hunger crisis.

The Writing's on the Walls
When is a blank notebook more than a blank notebook? When it's a Walls Notebook.

Who Approved This? - Quizno's
Who Approved This? - Quizno's

HGTV’s $250,000 Challenge
A pot of $250,000 will be at stake as five families will compete for HGTV's $250,000 Challenge, a winner-takes-all design competition in which one lucky family will win the life-changing cash prize that could help them pay off their mortgage. In each episode of the four-part series, premiering on Sunday, May 31, at 10 p.m. ET/PT, host Drew Lachey will reveal a home improvement challenge where teams will compete to create the best design in their own home.

Travel Tender Play Yards Recalled
Simplicity Inc. was forced to recall about 25,000 Travel Tender Play Yards due to a fall and entrapment hazard. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with the retailers named below, today announced a voluntary recall of the following consumer product. Consumers should stop using recalled products immediately unless otherwise instructed. One or more rails can collapse unexpectedly, posing a fall or entrapment hazard to young children.

Healthtex Recalls Pacifiers
A choking hazard has forced the hand of Healthtex to recall their Zoo pacifiers. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with the firm named below, today announced a voluntary recall of the following consumer product. Consumers should stop using recalled products immediately unless otherwise instructed. The pacifiers failed to meet federal safety standards. The nipples can separate from the base easily, posing a choking hazard to young children. This recall involves Zoo pacifiers with animal cartoon figures as handles. The pacifier has a round-shaped mouth guard with three ventilation holes. "Made in Spain" is printed on the handle side of the mouth guard and "Mi Tosoro" is printed on the cardboard packaging.

Purple Beverage Bucks the Crisis
Purple Beverage Company Inc. has re-evaluated the corporate marketing strategy, announcing that it will be more cost effective to outsource many of its operating needs and reduce its full time work force. "We knew we had to move to a leaner and meaner profile," said Ted Farnsworth, CEO of Purple Beverage Company. "It was very tough to get through, but now, Purple is in the process of repositioning and realigning. We anticipate moving forward with our antioxidant beverage and are also looking forward to adding line extensions that we feel will be well received by consumers, despite these recessionary times."

T.G.I.Friday’s Bartenders Square Off
As far as T.G.I. Friday’s is concerned, the search is on for the greatest bartender of them all. Nine T.G.I. Friday's restaurants Larger than Life mixologists (bartenders) from around the globe will compete on Friday, 17 for the title of "Greatest T.G.I. Friday's Bartender in the World." The Friday's World Bartender Championship features competitors who excel in showmanship while serving up responsible fun, innovative drinks and provide legendary service to their guests in 60 countries.

Domino’s Pizza Announces Paid Training While You Learn Program
Being ready for your future is perhaps the single most important thing that people are overlooking today. And while the factors are obvious, it would be best to be ready. Domino’s has a great program that can prepare us in worst case scenarios of the future. While many corporations are conducting layoffs due to economic hardships, Domino's Pizza, the recognized world leader in pizza delivery, has a program that pays you while you learn all aspects of how to run a successful store.

Electronic Ebony & Ivory
What’s the use of having a $2000 flat screen HDTV mounted on your wall with dolby surround sound and theatre lighting if you can’t watch amateur home videos on it? What a worthless hunk of junk, right? Well the desire to move all those videos you’ve been watching online, be they professional or rank and file YouTube types, to your main big screen is definitely there. If you don’t make that transition, one day you’ll be throwing an Oscar party and your 45 guests will all be huddled around your laptop…squinting. So like Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder, how can your Internet video and the video coming to your TV from your cable or dish service live in perfect harmony like the keys on a piano? The tech companies are hard at work…speculating.

Write Like the Devil
The challenge of copywriting is saying a lot with very few words. You need to make sure that your writing has a point of view and a voice that readers get right away.

All for you, baby
I have some fantastic news for you! You are going to be so excited about this because it’s about you getting something extra! It’s an upgrade and it’s for your own good! TiVo is now saying you need to upgrade your system software to version 11.0c so you can get the full benefits of the new features they have slaved over day and night, with nothing but customer service and your needs in mind. Aren’t you lucky to have someone other than just your mom who always keeps your wants and needs in mind? So what is it your getting from TiVo?

Tangled Type
If you're an art director or copywriter who's ever wondered if text can be designed like art, then you should check out the show Tangled Alphabets, the work of León Ferrari and Mira Schendel, at MoMA.

Paradigm EarthStudy 360 wins Bronze in 2009 Edison Best New Product Awards
For its efforts and continued advanced service towards revolutionary seismic imaging and interpretation technology for subsurface hydrocarbon exploration and development, Paradigm EarthStudy 360 has reportedly won the Bronze in the Energy & Sustainability category for 2009 Edison Best New Product Awards.

Maria Bamford CD Set for Release on April 21
Get ready for an in-depth look and some funny moments as well as Comedy Central Records announces the set release of Maria Bamford’s “Unwanted Thoughts Syndrome” on April 21. Taped at the Upright Citzens Brigade Theater in Hollywood, CA last August, Bamford has put together another album that showcases her life and overactive imagination.

Marie Butler is 2009 Hooters Dream Girl
Hooters Girls have their share of the limelight and in the end, one Hooters Girl walked away with $10,000 and landed on the covers of Hooters Magazine. Marie Butler, a Hooters Girl from St. Petersburg, Florida, was announced as the 2009 Hooters Dream Girl on FSN Best Damn Sports Show Period.

NLPC Hits Ford Financial Stature Due to Sponsorship
It would be great to sponsor events or good causes when you can. But if you happen to be a member of companies seeking bailouts and then find yourself spending heavily on promotional support, expect all hell to break loose after a couple of hours. Ford is a familiar figure in the much celebrated “Big Three” auto industry bailout issue and now it finds itself being criticized for perhaps spending financial support in a questionable manner. In a Complaint filed today with TARP Inspector General Neil M. Barofsky, National Legal and Policy Center (NLPC) President Peter Flaherty wrote,

Chili’s Pushes with Curves
In a world where people are fighting obesity and trying to stay fit, Chili’s continues to provide healthier options for their guests by adding new menu items to their Guiltless Grill and partnering with Curves. Along with the addition of four new Guiltless Grill menu items in February, Chili's has partnered with Curves, the world's leading fitness centers designed specifically for women, to reach out to those practicing a healthier and more active lifestyle.

What is The “True Cost to Own a Honda”?
Honda is a familiar brand and a popular vehicle but the thing is, do you know its value and see if it matches your needs? Honda has proven to be a reliable brand through the years and the deal can only get sweeter as Honda embarks on a program aimed to ensure that customers only get the best option for their vehicular needs. To provide consumers the necessary information to make the smartest decision when purchasing a vehicle, Honda is teaming up with Edmunds.com, the No. 1 auto-shopping site on the Web, to deliver “True Cost to Own a Honda” data to consumers.

Training Opportunity
A vacation for a senior flack is not just a chance to recharge batteries, it's also an opportunity to see what you have one step below. Leave the up and comer in charge and see if he or she can handle making decisions as well as they do executing the plan. Give your contact info to just that one person, tell them it's only for emergencies, and see how things look when you get back. It's fabulous training.

Struggling Success Stories
When you think about online “successes,” YouTube and Hulu are two names that come quickly to mind. These aren’t little “insider” discoveries. These are the names that have broken out and achieved mass market top-of-mind brand awareness. Even grandpa has probably heard of YouTube at one time or another. Maybe he’s watching videos on there about how to keep pesky kids off his lawn. But just how successful are these success stories? Certainly in terms of awareness, they’re a success. Certainly in terms of driving traffic to their sites, they’re a success.

Pistachio Growers and Processors Launch Website for Guidance
By now most of you may be familiar with the fact that the growing problem with the Pistachio issue is getting out of hand. While it does not cover all brands, there are ways to figure out which brands are safe for consumption. Apparently thanks to the efforts of the Pistachio growers and processors, you can be advised on what brands are safe for eating.

Samsung’s $65 Million Ad Campaign
Samsung Electronics kicks off the first leg of its 2009 national advertising campaign for its LED back-lit LCD TV brand. The primary mission of the effort is to promote LED LCD TV as a new TV category, driving home the message that the LED backlighting delivers “mega contrast” ratio picture performance, ultra-slim panel designs and environmentally friendly attributes.

Farrah Fawcett in Hospital
Former Charlie’s Angels star Farrah Fawcett, the actress who gained noticed as Jill Monroe, has been reportedly admitted to a hospital. There were no updated reports as to why she was admitted but apparently it all sums up to her long battle with cancer. The 62-year-old Charlie's Angel, who was first diagnosed with the disease in 2006, has been hospitalized in Los Angeles since Thursday. After undergoing chemotherapy and radiation, doctors said Fawcett was cancer free in February 2007, only to see the disease return three months later.

College Hiring
In my corporate flack days in California I used to sit in on agency reviews. During the Q&A one of my colleagues asked from which schools the agency selected its new talent. The reply was surprising. "We used to hire kids from USC and UCLA, but we've since discovered that the kids from (Cal States) Fullerton and Long Beach are more prepared to go to work." The lesson: look past pedigree and investigate practical skills. You might get a faster return on your investment.

Signatures in Space for Space Kids
Space Day has a lot in store for the kids as NASA and Lockheed Martin's Student Signatures in Space (S3) program will be one of the highlighted projects during for this year's Space Day. Space day is celebrated annually on the first Friday in May. The mission of Space Day is to use space-related activities to inspire and prepare young people for careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Celestial Seasonings and Tea Drinkers Plant 1 Million Trees
Consumer buying is not simply about purchasing but also checking out what good cause you can do for the environment. Apparently, by purchasing Celestial Seasonings tea during the first three months of 2009, tea drinkers helped the brand reach its goal of planting one million trees in developing countries.

Nintendo Launches DSi with Midnight Party
By now, most people are anticipating the much awaited release of the Nintendo DSi. And to make the anticipation livelier, Nintendo hosts a midnight launch party on April 4 for the new Nintendo DSi video game system at GameStop’s Universal CityWalk location in Los Angeles. Gaming enthusiasts and consumers of all kinds will lineup to be the first to buy the highly-anticipated Nintendo DSi and experience an array of entertainment. Among the things to expect include: Personalized giveaways from video

New Fruit20 Makes a Big Splash
Flavored water gets a new look from one of the very first brands to hit the market as Fruit2O announces the re-launch of www.fruit2o.com. The site, which was completely overhauled, not only has a splashy new look, it also delivers more robust user content and additional features and information. “The relaunch of www.fruit2o.com marks a big milestone for Fruit2O as we redefine the Fruit2O legacy and refocus the brand on our heritage in fruit,” said Dave Zellen, brand manager for Fruit2O.

A Corporate Guide To Twitter
By now, if you have owned a TV, phone, or have kids, you have heard of Twitter in the last 24 hours. The microblogging web service is just that pervasive. You kids are using it, your Congressional Representative is using it, the President has been using it for some time and most importantly, your competition is using it to eat your lunch. This guide is not meant as an end all to Twitter and using Twitter in your advertising or marketing strategy. Every business has to approach Twitter differently. This guide just covers the basics of Twitter and how to use it effectively.

All Eyes on the Diamond Display at Yankee Stadium
If you happen to get the chance to enter the Yankee Stadium, one glaring display you are bound to notice is the Mitsubishi Electric Diamon Vision Display. Definitely not a “jumbotron” or mere scoreboard, the Yankees’ new Diamond Vision display blasts 1080 resolution from more than eight million LEDs (light-emitting diodes) for brilliant replays, updates from around the league and messaging.

The Daily Monster
I'm a big fan of creative folks, and love people who do things like draw, just because they love to draw. I'm also a big fan of monsters. That's why I love the Daily Monster. Visit the site and you will see Stefan Bucher create, right before your eyes — via the miracle of time-lapse photography — a brand new monster every day.

50 Blue LLC Bags Political Advertising Award
16 Pollie Awards were given to 50 Blue LLC for their creative and strategic excellence in political advertising.

Vitaminwater for AirTran Airways Passengers
Freebies are a welcome thing and for people taking the AirTran Airways route, AirTran Airways and the Coca-Cola Company announced today that fans heading to the big games in Detroit this weekend will be well hydrated thanks to vitaminwater and Atlanta's low-fare leader. Passengers flying from Atlanta to Detroit on AirTran Airways today will be served complimentary vitaminwater beverages at the airline's gates in anticipation of this weekend's championship games.

Shaq Helps Feed the Children of Hunger
NBA star and Phoenix Suns Center Shaquille O’ Neal is going out of his way for a worthy cause. Shaq will be teaming with international hunger relief organization Feed The Children and Healing Place Church for the “PB & Shaq” event to be held Tuesday, April 7 starting at 6 p.m. at Healing Place Church (19202 Highland Road in Baton Rouge). Each attendee must bring at least 10 jars of new peanut butter or a $20 donation to the event for admission. Peanut butter is included in all Feed The Children food boxes, so there is always a need for the product. All items collected in Tuesday’s event will be distributed by Feed The Children to families in need throughout the United States.

Play Ball
Baseball season starts next week, and that means lots of opportunity for flacks near major and minor league cities. Baseball promotions departments are always looking for sponsors and ideas, and clients usually enjoy the association. Baseball offers the greatest number of games, which for the clever flack means the greatest number of oppportunities to show your stuff.

Newspaper ER
You’re a highly paid consultant. You know the newspaper industry has done what it can to move its content online and extend their brands online. But there is no little boy in a hat selling laptops on the corner, you can’t get laptops out of a box on the street for 50-cents, and nobody is throwing computers onto your driveway every day. And as long as those things aren’t happening, people are getting the newspapers’ online content free online now, and not buying or subscribing to the paper. It’s put the industry in a tailspin, because apparently…this just in…if you have high overhead costs, then give away what you make for free, you won’t survive as an industry.

Hollywood Beauties Grace 2009 EIF Revlon Run/Walk for Women in New York
Made up of official Revlon spokeswomen and popular names in Hollywood, it looks like the 2009 EIF Revlon Run/Walk for Women in New York taking place on Saturday, May 2, 2009 promises to be an interesting affair. Among the big names include Jessica Alba, Christina Applegate, Jennifer Connelly, and Miley Cyrus were mentioned among the women who will join the said event.

Hard Rock Café Opens at Yankee Stadium
One new café will be on hand once the Yankee Stadium opens. As part of the exciting opening of Yankee Stadium, Hard Rock International is thrilled to announce "opening day" at its newest cafe location - Hard Rock Cafe Yankee Stadium. The 7,000-square-foot Hard Rock Cafe open year-round and serving both ticketholders and non-ticketholders on game days, will officially open its doors in true rock star style - with the first-ever Yankee Stadium Guitar Smash.

D-Box Technologies Showcase New Motion Systems for Fast and Furious Debut
This will surely get you into the actual movie once it opens on theaters come April 3. Heading to the movies just became a more "moving" experience, thanks to new motion-activated theater seats available for theatergoers, D-BOX Technologies announced today. Beginning April 3, audiences will experience the seats with the release of Universal Pictures' new action-thriller, Fast & Furious.

Dunkin’ Donuts Announces Iced Coffee Day
Dunkin’ Donuts takes the Spring time a great opportunity to push its iced coffee variant along with a worthy cause. Apparently, the price for a small (16 oz) cup of Iced Coffee will be reduced to 50 cents at participating Dunkin' Donuts shops throughout the country during Dunkin's all-day "Iced Coffee Day" event on April 21. For every small Iced Coffee purchased on this day, Dunkin' Donuts will donate five cents to benefit Homes for Our Troops, a national, non-profit organization that builds specially adapted homes for severely injured veterans.

Bacardi Launches Dragon Berry Flavor Rum
Bacardi has a launched a new variant for its flavored rum category with the new Dragon Berry flavor. Dragon Berry offers the light, fruity flavor of strawberry, infused with the crisp, fresh flavor of dragon fruit. As the leader in the flavored rum category, BACARDI is the first brand to introduce dragon fruit to the spirits category

AdMarvel Unveils Mobile Advertising Toolkit
This piece of news is aimed more for mobile application developers than consumers. With the growing number of developers today looking for ways to integrate mobile advertising with their apps, AdMarvel has made life easier for them with the release of the iPhone Advertising Toolkit. Advertising metrics and analytics are provided via a web console giving a near real-time view of the application’s advertising performance. To answer the diverse needs of iPhone developers with an expanding international user base; AdMarvel can also act as a fully functional ad-server, supporting the provisioning and management of direct-sourced or in-house advertising.

Boundaries
Sometimes a series of contacts over months or years will lead to something more than a professional relationship with a media contact. There's nothing inherently wrong about that, as long as both parties understand the limits. No favors that compromise anyone's integrity; maintain two-way trust; always return messages; always give each other a chance to respond, but also always remember that your ultimate professional loyalty is to your employer and client.

Big in Japan
I'm pretty active in social networking, and I see people posting messages all the time like this: Hi, I'm a web designer looking for a job in NY, or Hi, I'm a copywriter interested in making new connections. Yea, so? What I'd recommend to them is this: instead of asking for something, offer something.

OpenVision Ad Exchange Supports Linear Broadcast TV Ad Insertion
Ad campaigns of companies is bound to get easier with news that the OpenVision Ad Exchange now supports Linear Broadcast TV Ad Insertion. Working with Adtec Digital and ad splicing technologies, IMAKE has created a centralized, easy to use way to manage, target, and execute ad campaigns across multiple linear and on-demand networks.

Moosylvania’s Nine Steps to Social Networking
Social networking is another online marketing tool that can really help the cause of people who invest heavily from consumer traffic and socialization. Apparently, joining in conversations is going to be a big help but it is no longer an option but a compulsory practice.

Moosylvania’s Nine Steps to Social Networking
Social networking is another online marketing tool that can really help the cause of people who invest heavily from consumer traffic and socialization. Apparently, joining in conversations is going to be a big help but it is no longer an option but a compulsory practice.

Rentrak and Seachange Combine for On-Demand TV Advertising
Rentrak and Seachange have agreed to enter into a partnership to enable seamless video-on-demand (VOD) ad insertion and advanced measurement and reporting at the ad and campaign level. The partners will integrate solutions to dramatically improve the ability of MSOs, networks and advertisers to monetize VOD advertising on a regional and national basis.

Tight Pitches
One of the most important tactics when making a pitch is to use the absolute minimum number of words to make the sale. Most media folks are short on time and aren't nearly as interested as you are in your client's story. Keep this in mind and your batting average will soar.

The Simpsons Stamps Class
Starting today, don’t be surprised to find The Simpsons on stamps from the U.S. postal service when sending something by mail. The U.S. Postal Service and Twentieth Century Fox Licensing and Merchandising today announce that the FOX hit series THE SIMPSONS will be commemorated on 44-cent First-Class Mail stamps in 2009. Featuring the iconic Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie Simpson the stamps have been personally designed by SIMPSONS creator and executive producer, Matt Groening.

LG Electronics to Market Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen
This summer, all eyes on the Transformers sequel, “Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen”. And many are anticipating another exciting movie, LG Mobile Phones will launch a multi-faceted marketing campaign to promote the LG Mobile Phones brand and the overall theme of technology in the film. "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" director and executive producer, Michael Bay, will make a special appearance in the LG booth at CTIA, the largest wireless industry trade show.

Rolex Shows Off Ticking Rolex Ad on Life.com
When you embark on an advertising practice, make it count. And to do that, doing it in style like what Rolex has done is certain to be a benchmark for all companies looking up to an effective advertising strategy. The ad was created as part of Rolex's exclusive sponsorship of the just relaunched Life.com, which is a collaboration between Time Inc. and Getty Images. The new site let Web users view millions of images from the magazine's past alongside current ones from Getty.

Analyze This
A high-paying outpost for mid-level corporate flacks who prefer the role of individual contributor is the field of Analyst Relations. In that role, you disclose private information about your company so Analyst Firms might announce that you're on the right track. Some might say that analysts are people to whom to give watches so they can tell you what time it is...but, they're not going away. If your idea of fun is road trips to the Boston-New York corridor than an analyst relations gig might be an interesting career choice.

A Magazine of Your Own
Hewlett-Packard is now offering a very cool service called MagCloud that allows anyone to create a magazine, one copy at a time, for just 20 cents a page.

Pretty Little Inch Aims for the Best Surface Patterns
When it comes to enhancing and ensuring that surface patterns for home, accessory and fashion designs, nothing beats going with the leaders like Far From Timid. Far From Timid is an international surface design company whose 2009-2010 Collection, Pretty Little Inch, goes where no surface design company has gone before.

Little Debbie Sponsors Atlanta’s Soccer Challenge
Little Debbie Snacks has been chosen as the presenting sponsor for the Soccer Challenge of Fiesta Atlanta '09, an outdoor Cinco de Mayo festival celebrating Latino culture, music and food. Fiesta Atlanta '09 takes place on Sunday, May 3, 2009 from 10 AM to 7 PM at Centennial Olympic Park in downtown Atlanta.

Conficker
I don't know if you've all heard of the virus that is reported to go live on April 1st. It's called the Conficker virus, and if you're susceptible, you've probably already been infected. I have a couple of tips to help. First, if you haven't updated your anti-virus and malware protection, do it, right now, then come back. Seriously. Also make sure your firewall is set to auto update as well. If you haven't run any updates on your pc. do that as well. There are a couple of ways to do this, and if you don't know how, let me know, but depending on the OS you're running, it's in your security center.

April is Emotional Overeating Month
When we are stressed or thinking of a lot of things, outlets are normally needed. And for some people, don’t be surprised if they tend to overeat. April is Emotional Overeating Awareness month and this year emotional eating is at an all time high as the stress that accompanies our economic downturn is affecting us all.

Facebook and Flash
Adobe has announced the new Actionscript 3.0 Client Library for Facebook as a tool that will make it easier to bring rich, interactive applications using the Flash platform to the Facebook environment. Flash has been a player in the Facebook realm for a while, but this announcements strengthens the relationship and will allow for the development of more robust Flash elements like the CNN/Facebook Inaugaration day tool. As brands continue to explore ways to use Facebook to communicate with individuals, this increased interactivity will open a new arena of games and tools. The question is will this create valuable tools or allow brands to clutter the user experience.

YouTube Extreme Makeover
So let’s say you’re a major entertainment company like Warner Brothers or Disney or the company that puts on those shows where you can eat chicken with your hands while you watch Medieval Knights go at it while their horses kick dust in your plate. You’ve got a lot of professional, high quality content you wouldn’t mind making available on YouTube, but you don’t want your videos mixed in with the usual Chihuahua howling while a 12-year-old plays Guitar Hero.

The Origin of Branding
Do you ever stop to think of where the term "branding" came from?

Gatorade National Boys Basketball Player Named
Being honored as the best of the best in any sport is a distinction that anyone would surely cherish. And in this case, the Gatorade Company, in partnership with ESPN RISE, today announced junior point guard Brandon Knight of Pine Crest School as its 2008-09 Gatorade National Boys Basketball Player of the Year. Knight is the first student-athlete from the state of Florida to win Gatorade National Boys Basketball Player of the Year honors. The award, which recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the court, distinguishes Knight as the nation's best high school boys basketball player.

MasterCard Worldwide is Top Companies for Diversity
The logo is familiar and normally it is a mode of lending financial help to both private and corporate consumers. MasterCard Worldwide is ranked among the top companies for diversity according to the recently announced 2009 list of Top 50 Companies for Diversity from DiversityInc. Of the 401 companies who vied for the honor, MasterCard was ranked No. 41. This first appearance by MasterCard since its initial public offering in 2006 demonstrates the company's increased focus on investing in human capital to drive its agility, innovation and performance in the marketplace.

Planters Improves Product with SeaSalt
Planters Nuts has been a familiar product brand in the market. And to keep that tradition of higher quality products, Planters has a new quality innovation on deck with a fresh twist on its famous beloved salted snacks--the addition of pure sea salt to its snack nut products, including Cocktail Peanuts and Dry Roasted Peanuts, Cashews Halves & Pieces, Deluxe Whole Cashews, Mixed Nuts and Deluxe Mixed Nuts. With a strong commitment to delivering great taste and quality to consumers for more than 100 years, Planters has always sought innovative ways to lead the snack nut category. The move to sea salt was a natural evolution for the brand because of the popularity and desire for sea salt among consumers. It's the Planters taste snackers love, combined with pure sea salt--a winning combination!

Bamboozle by Wonka
Festivals and Roadshows are among the common recreation and forms of entertainment people love and Wonka knows this all too well. WONKA is once again bringing mysterious and marvelous acts of imagination to the people in the form of Bamboozle, a bonanza of musical creativity featuring never-before-seen WONKA surprises and more than 100 bands. The Bamboozle presented by WONKA introduces a new invitation from WONKA: "Feed Your Imagination." WONKA recently launched new electrifying and whimsical packaging, products and Web themes to go along with the new tagline.

Giant Cheetos Snack Launched
If you are among the people addicted to this cheese curls snack, then this will surely be good news for you. Frito-Lay's Cheetos brand today announced that April 1, 2009 will mark the launch of one of the BIGGEST innovations to ever come out of the snack food industry - Giant Cheetos snacks. Created by Chester Cheetah and the absurdly creative Cheetos development team, Giant Cheetos provide the great cheesy taste consumers love, but are roughly the size of golf balls and stand as the perfect expression of the brand's playful personality.

Expert or Albatross?
Hiring an expert in a field to serve as a spokesperson can add weight to a media campaign, but also can bring problems. Make sure your expert understands media relations, is at least moderately telegenic, respects talking points and, above all, does not patronize the very media people you're trying to impress. Interview carefully. This tactic is loaded with potholes. Knows His Stuff, But Can He Talk?

What the Heck is Sisomo?
Readers with long memories may recall that I'm a big fan of Kevin Robert's book Lovemarks. Kevin, who is the CEO Worldwide of Saatchi & Saatchi, also put out a really smart book a few years back that didn't get quite the attention of Lovemarks, but is equally good. The book is called Sisomo, Creating Emotional Connections In The Market With Sight Sound And Motion, and it's all about new media's power to deliver marketing through SIght, SOund and MOtion (hence the name).

Nickelodeon's 2009 Kids' Choice Awards Draws in Viewers
With stars gracing the event, it is not surprising to note why Nickelodeon's 2009 Kids' Choice Awards is considered to be one of the biggest events ever. Nickelodeon's 2009 Kids' Choice Awards (KCAs) set a big, slime-induced record on Saturday, March 28, (8-9:30 p.m. ET/PT), becoming the biggest KCAs to date with a record 7.7 million total viewers (P2+) and its highest ratings ever among kids and tweens. Hosted by Dwayne Johnson, this year's KCAs marked the fourth straight year of growth for the awards show.

Tropicana Introduces Trop50
There is a new orange drink in town and it traces its routes from PepsiCo. Tropicana Products this week launches Trop50(R), a breakthrough category innovation delivering the goodness of orange juice with 50 percent less sugar and calories, and no artificial sweeteners. It is naturally sweetened from the stevia plant and along with juice squeezed from fresh oranges it delivers a taste consumers expect from Tropicana.

Krispy Kreme Opens New Factory in Winston, Salem
Krispy Kreme Doughnuts has announced the opening of its newest Doughnut Factory & Kremery in Winston-Salem, hometown of the legendary brand. The 2,500-square-foot store, located at 5912 University Parkway, will serve up all of Krispy Kreme's unique offerings including its one-of-a-kind doughnut varieties; signature coffees and espresso drinks; and its brand new line of Kool Kreme soft serve treats, Krispy Kreme Chillers and iced beverages.

How To Twitter Your Reputation Away
Twitter is a social networking site. If you are reading this blog, you are probably savvy enough that you know what Twitter is. On this service, one can choose to "follow" the updates of people who interest you enough to want to know what they have on their minds. Often, when you "follow" someone, they will reciprocate. This is called "being social" in Social Networking.

Chili Cooks to Compete in DC101 Chill Cook-Off
If you are a chili lover, chances are you should be in Washington this May. Celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2009, the DC101 Chili Cook-Off benefiting the National Kidney Foundation is DC's biggest one-day rock festival featuring top bands and dozens of the area's best chili cooks competing for top honors. The event is set for Saturday, May 16, 2009, from noon to 9:00 p.m. at RFK Stadium Festival Grounds.

Digital Goodies
One of the reasons I love the world wide web is the vast amounts of valuable information. It may not outnumber the mass amounts of useless information but it's the meat and potatoes of the online world. I came across a variety of great stuff today that I've read, used and want to share. Enjoy the link love. Tom Asacker: Does Repitition create memory? RWW: Skype the biggest web 2.0 winner? Mitch Joel: Six Pixels of Separation/MediaHacks podcast

Helping you monitor your social web presence
I happened upon a very interesting compilation of tools and applications today. Most of them are designed for monitoring your social web presence, and helping you to find followers that will work well with you. Touted as a social media webkit, the article is exactly that. It provides answers to many of the questions of what different sites are, and how to navigate them. It explains what Twitter hashtags are, and the best way to use them. Social media has created an explosion of information online. People are writing on blogs, tweeting, bookmarking, sharing, commenting, etc.

The future of HR was here 2 years ago
I have a long-term client that is in the headhunting business. This downturn (harsh plunge) of the economy has done them no favors or anyone for that matter. They are always looking for ways to leverage technology to make their business more reliable, more responsive and more profitable. They are the first headhunter shop to install an IBM 34 to run their custom resume enterprise app. Flash forward to today, they are just now learning how to empower their business with LinkedIn.

Blu-flix
I’ve never had any desire to drive a really expensive car. Because if I ever break down on the side of the road and need a tow, or if I have to put it in the shop, I just know the garage is going to make the assumption that I’m loaded…so obviously I can afford to be overcharged. The person who is a relatively early adopter of all things electronic usually finds themselves in the same boat. Take Blu-ray movies for instance.

Pepsi Unveils Climate Friendly Vending Machines
Softdrink vending machines are growing in popularity in numbers and unknown to many, the type of vending machine carries certain quality control measures. For Pepsi, an aggressive softdrink brand in the market today, announces a groundbreaking pilot project that introduces the most climate-friendly vending machines ever placed in the United States. Under the new program, The Pepsi Bottling Group (PBG) is placing 30 Pepsi-Cola vending machines in high-consumer traffic areas in the Washington, D.C. area.

Mets and Pepsi Mix for New Marketing Deal
PepsiCo and the New York Mets signed a multi-year contract today, in which PepsiCo becomes the newest Signature Partner at Citi Field, the Mets' new world-class home, opening April 13. In addition to designation rights for Pepsi as the Official Soft Drink of the Mets and for Gatorade as the team's Official Sports Drink, PepsiCo will promote a number of the brands within its broad beverage portfolio, including Aquafina, Mountain Dew and Sierra Mist.

Sony and Thinker Roll Out FeliCa-Based Digital Signage Applications
FeliCa-Based Digital Signage Applications can jack up their deployment channel partner to three with news that Mars Snackfood U.S. has joined the two companies (Sony and Thinker Inc.) in the development and implementation of a FeliCa-based digital signage and delivery portal solution for trade shows. "Thinker's iACCESS(R) interactive touchscreen digital media portals with intelligent navigation technology combined with Sony FeliCa's contactless transactional capabilities can encapsulate disperse technologies and offer an integral real time user experience, while seamlessly delivering a record of that experience to the relevant distributor," said Tim Lindner, director of strategic business development for Sony FeliCa America.

Metro USA Parts Ways with Associated Press
Effective April 1, don’t be surprised if you don’t see much of Associated Press on Metro USA Newspapers. Metro USA, which publishes daily titles in New York, Boston and Philadelphia, has terminated its contract with the Associated Press. “We believe that the future of our titles lies in producing as much of our own material as possible. Encouraging existing staff to write more and employing new writers gives us a higher degree of flexibility and results in a product which is more relevant to the young, professional audience we, and our advertisers, seek,” says Tony Metcalf, Editor in Chief of Metro USA.

Yackety Yack
Talk shows are an underrated placement opportunity for your clients. There are a million of them now on cableTV and radio. When you secure a 15-30 minute segment you are giving your client an opportunity to put some depth behind the pitch. Target some shows that cater to your clients' fields and get to know those producers. It will pay off. Talk Show Magic

Mapping the Brainstorm
Mindmapping tools are excellent ways to capture information from brainstorm sessions and create quality visual maps. We use mindmapping software where I work to organize the mass amounts of information that pours out of our digital project planning sessions. Brainstorm sessions are valuable only if the information can be organized and made actionable. It's even more valuable if you can create visual maps for the team to review, digest and plan against. The gang at Lifehacker survey the populace and has provided an overview of five free and pay mindmap programs. Several are free online apps. Check them out and put one to use after your next monster brainstorm session.

ABC Shows Coming to Hulu?
So do you Hulu? It’s a name that’s sticking, because there are so many full prime time network TV shows you can watch on there. But if you’re a huge fan of Ugly Betty, Desperate Housewives and Lost (and you have to watch each episode of lost about 3 times to figure out what the hell is going on), you haven’t been able to watch those, or any other ABC shows at Hulu.com. That might be about to change. Rumors are swirling that Disney’s about to make a deal to make ABC shows, as well as some content from ESPN and Disney Channel a part of the Hulu party, even though Hulu is co-owned by NBC Universal and News Corp.

It Sucks To Be a Commodity
So, the truth of the matter is, I dunno what I am talking about. Today, at least. I promised Talent Zoo I would blog every weekday this month, and the finish line is in sight. I've had some good ideas (like my first post in what will be a series on personal branding for job-seeking creative types) and some ideas that were just 'meh.'

Education Online
These difficult times give us the opportunity to consider our future and explore ways to reinvent ourselves. The online arena allows for a multitude of ways to expand your skills or change your career. Following a post earlier about Academic Earth, there have been several other examples of digital tools emerging for users to improve themselves. Lifehacker has a list of the top 10 tools for a free online education. Check it out and learn away.

Prep for Success
You've worked with your client for several weeks, he or she is bright and clever, and you land a media interview. Of course most clients know their subject cold, but don't forget to brief them on how to interact with different media. A radio interview can be expansive, sound bites for print, and appropriate dress for TV. And, if the client has a temper, rehearse until you're confident they can hold it. Do the Heavy Lifting Before the Big Game

The Paper with the Turning Point
Yesterday I wrote about pens, so today it's only logical I write about paper. OK, I heard that collective groan out there...but I do have a point to make, so bear with me on this one.

Noble Roman’s Pizza is Consumers Choice Again
A good thing to note for Noble Roman’s Pizza is that they are doing something right. Can you imagine being chosen as the consumer’s choice for the second year in a row? Noble Roman's Pizza was named the 2009 recipient of the "Consumers' Choice Award for Business Excellence" in the pizza category for the greater Indianapolis metropolitan area. Noble Roman's also received the award in 2008. The "Consumers' Choice Award" is an initiative of the Consumers' Choice Institute to identify and promote business excellence, and is based on independent consumer research.

American Greeting Cards Adds Fun Buttons
A light moment can go a long way, especially for people who often have to frown at the current state the economy is in. These light moments don’t have to be costly. In fact, a simple card can be the difference. And to make it all worthwhile, American Greetings has added something extra for consumers buying their greeting cards.

Exposing the Dangers of Toxic Salons
The chemicals used and the practices done in salons take center stage as America’s Beauty Show is scheduled to raises serious and decades overdue concerns on the dangers of conventional nationwide salons.

This is OnStar, what are you doing?
GearLive posted an exclusive today, about OnStar integrating with Twitter. The new service is intended to let you tweet, using your voice, and OnStar's system. You can also listen to your friend's tweets, over the system, with voice to text and text to voice capabilities. “While in your vehicle, you can use OnStar to submit and retrieve tweets (messages) via your Twitter account.

Ghost Twitterer
There's an interesting article in the New York times about celebrities and the use of ghost writers for their twitter accounts versus those that are the real deal. It poses an interesting question on the value of social media tools for celebrities as a tool for interacting with fans. I personally prefer The Real Shaq to a ghost written tweet from 50 cent. Is it okay to use a ghost twitter? Is it okay if you're honest about the fact that it's not you? Or, if you can't put your own skin in the game, don't go there?

Adrenalina Hulking Up For Expansion
Despite the hard times, this advertising agency is not about to make job cuts to manage operations wisely. In fact, they are planning to do just the opposite. Adrenalina, a leading advertising and marketing agency that is part of the MDC Partners network, is embarking on an ambitious plan to stimulate the marketplace by pumping up its branding and creative services and bulking up its staff. Seeking to inject the ad industry with a much-needed shot of adrenaline, the shop today is setting into motion a client-centric growth plan aimed at building an agency designed to meet the changing needs of existing and prospective clients as they redefine their own businesses in this ever-changing environment.

Jack Link’s Launches New Snack Brand for Teens
After the widely popular beef jerky, Jack Link’s introduces its new snack brand in the Matador meat snacks. ATADOR meat snack sticks offer the perfect blend of snappy texture, spicy flavor and the attitude teens crave, with the quality consumers expect from the Jack Link's brand. MATADOR by Jack Link's will be supported by an integrated action sports platform and dedicated advertising campaign. The company will sponsor athletes in BMX, skateboarding and snowboarding, and partner with leading action sport events including the 2009 Dew Tour and the premier action sports training camp in the country, Camp Woodward.

Fruit2O Backs Youngest Female Runner
Companies are known to be approached for help as far as sponsorships are concerned and apparently, a young female, Katie Visco was fortunate enough to get the nod of Fruit2O as its main backer when she attempts to be the youngest female runner to cross America and inspire others to follow their life's passion. As Katie makes her way across the 3,200+ mile route from Boston to San Diego, she will work with Fruit2O to help others find their passion, embrace and run towards it. Additionally, Fruit2O and Katie will work together to raise awareness and funds for Girls on the Run, a national charity focused on helping young women gain self-esteem and confidence through after-school running programs.

The Pen with the Tipping Point
As a lefty my handwriting is pretty unreadable, so a few years ago I started using felt tip pens, which seemed to make my writing a bit more legible. The pen you see pictured above, the blue Paper Mate Flair Pen, has become my writing instrument of choice. I'm so dedicated to it that I hate to write with anything else. The reason I initially chose this particular pen is that the ink doesn't smudge when I drag my hand over what I've just written. But I also discovered that I like the wider line the pen makes, the rich color of the ink, and the tactile feeling the felt tip has on paper.

Simon Is Not His Product
It's kind of strange how a strong brand could have nothing to do with a company's product.

Pepsi Aquafina Launches Eco-Fina Bottle
The new packaging of the Pepsi Aquafina is not only eco-friendly but has also garnered the distinction of being the lightest half-liter bottle in the market to date. At a weight of 10.9 grams, the Eco-Fina Bottle is made with 50 percent less plastic, eliminating an estimated 75 million pounds of plastic annually.

The Total Brand Experience with PlayNetwork
Score another potential strategy using mobile technology as PlayNetwork today introduced mobile media solutions that enable brands to connect with their consumers anytime and anywhere with a branded on-device offering. Specifically, the company will develop campaign-based marketing solutions that empower customers to engage with their favorite brands through mobile content.

Padma Lakshmi Does Steamy Ad for Hardee’s and Carl’s Junior Burger
Scintillating and apparently a person who knows here dish, Ravishing supermodel, Padma Lakshmi, is best known today as the no-nonsense host of Bravo’s hit TV show, “Top Chef,” where her culinary expertise and opinions can make or break the aspirations of competing young chefs.

Localized Advertising Technology Starts Using SCTE-130
Improving the current practice and modes of TV advertising may take a giant step as Open TV Corp. announced that they will present a joint demonstration of their next generation linear television ad platform at the upcoming NCTA Cable Show, April 1-3 in Washington, D.C. The collaboration is designed to make TV advertising more relevant, accountable and dynamic and revolutionizes traditional ad insertion technologies.

Social Media and Philanthropy 2.0
Geoff Livingston and a team of contributors have released the results of a survey of non-profits and online donors. The study sheds an interesting light on the opportunities available to non-profits and how they can leverage social media and digital communications to engage donors. Working at a non-profit, I'm excited about the opportunity that this study presents. Check out the overview here.

Currents take on Twitter
I found a really funny video on Current today, and had to rush online and find it. It described the trouble with twitter in a somewhat tongue in cheek manner. It made me giggle, so I thought I'd share the love.

Skype on your iPhone
So here’s you…“I’m a rebel cause I have an iPhone. But I’m an even bigger rebel because I use Voice Over Internet Protocol on AT&T’s data network instead of AT&T’s regular cell phone network.” If it’s Skype you wanted to use to do that, you had to go through a third party. But not for long. Skype, of course, is the service that lets Oprah see you at your house when she has you on her show for “messiest kitchen makeovers” or whatever. Now Oprah will be able to call, if not see you everywhere you go, because Skype is about to release the mobile version of itself for iPhone.

Federal Law to Help Minnesotans Quit Smoking
Quitting to Smoke is something hard these days but you can be assured that proper authorities and groups will exhaust all means to help people kick the habit. The recent passage of a law by Congress to expand the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) means Minnesotans and smokers nationwide will see the price of cigarettes increase soon. Beginning March 31, the price of a pack of cigarettes will go up about 62 cents, raising the average cost in Minnesota to nearly $5. The tax increase will be used to provide children from low-income families with health care. President Barack Obama signed the bill into law on February 4, 2009.

A Pizza Meal for only $9.99
With hard times ahead, who would ever think that a pizza meal could be bought at $9.99? Well apparently you can and it is all made possible by Uno Chicago Grill. Uno Chicago Grill is testing a Complete Pizza Meal special for just $9.99 in Boston, MA, southern New Hampshire and Rhode Island, as well as Rochester and Buffalo, NY and Columbus, OH. Guests in these test markets can choose any handcrafted individual deep-dish or all-natural-crust flatbread pizza with a choice of a side Caesar or house salad and any one of Uno(R)'s mini desserts. The pizza meal special provides a savings of up to $6 (compared to buying items separately) and is available Monday-Thursday, 4:00 PM till closing, for a limited time. Uno Chicago Grill was recently named

A Pizza Meal for only $9.99
With hard times ahead, who would ever think that a pizza meal could be bought at $9.99? Well apparently you can and it is all made possible by Uno Chicago Grill. Uno Chicago Grill is testing a Complete Pizza Meal special for just $9.99 in Boston, MA, southern New Hampshire and Rhode Island, as well as Rochester and Buffalo, NY and Columbus, OH. Guests in these test markets can choose any handcrafted individual deep-dish or all-natural-crust flatbread pizza with a choice of a side Caesar or house salad and any one of Uno(R)'s mini desserts. The pizza meal special provides a savings of up to $6 (compared to buying items separately) and is available Monday-Thursday, 4:00 PM till closing, for a limited time.

Coca Cola Makes Push for Earth Hour
In a move to help push for the worldwide call to fight global warning, Coca Cola has done its part in leading the call to support the Earth Hour scheduled on March 28. The Company also is participating in local awareness-raising events in more than 50 countries to support what is expected to be the largest ever, global climate event. Iconic Coca-Cola signs are scheduled to go dark in Times Square and on top of The Mirage hotel on the Las Vegas strip in the United States, Piccadilly Circus in London, and Kings Cross in Sydney. Other well-known illuminated signs and billboards will go off from Mexico to Cairo to Shanghai. The Company also is helping promote Earth Hour in various markets with radio, movie theater, television and print advertising.

Hydrogen Advertising Bags Seattle Show Award
Hydrogen Advertising was awarded the 2009 Merit Award for its Family Services “Army of Kids” campaign. The Seattle Show (www.seattleshow.org) recognizes the best work created in the region, with more than 750 entries judged by creative experts. Hydrogen’s work for Family Services (www.family-services.org), a Seattle-area non-profit helping King County families achieve self-sufficiency, was designed to raise money and awareness for the organization. The non-traditional campaign featured life-sized cutouts of children, strategically placed in high-traffic Seattle venues, drawing awareness to the plight of homeless families. More that $455,000 was raised through the campaign.

You Can Look It Up
When I'm doing initial brainstorming on a project I like to use a picture or word search resource to get my ideas going.

Product Placement On Steroids
In the beginning of the television era, the actual actors on television shows would pause to give a brief commercial about a sponsor.

White House is open for questions
When President Obama took office, he promised he was going to start including Americans in the decision process. He even enlisted a secretary of technology, and has been using social networking sites to help improve his relationship with America. The White House website has opened up its question submittal page, much like DIGG. It has areas to both submit questions and review submitted questions. The White House is open for questions.

Social Media Job Descriptions
Social Media is spawning a variety of new positions around the needs of the communities and tools that power the interactions. As the Director of Social Media for a health care organization, I get asked a lot what my job is and what I do. Amber Naslund is the Director of Community for Radian6 and offers an excellent description of what her role is for the organization and how she supports the Radian6 community. For you social media types out there, can you articulate your role as effectively as Amber?

Get Paid for Once
Video producers all over America and the world might be really proud of their work, but the pride is always kept in check by the realization they’re still broke. They console themselves by saying, “This could be huge!” The guys who produced William Hung’s CD thought the same thing, and they’ll do far better financially then most video producers. So with no smokin’ hot business model in hand, one of the better things you can do with your skillz is to enter a contest. Video producers like it because it’s at least a chance to make some fairly decent money from their work.

Re-Branding You for a Better You
These days, it is not surprising to find most people in a demoralized state. In fact, you should not be surprised if some people have lost their self-confidence, putting them in a situation where they may not feel useful as they had originally branded themselves. But all that should be changed with this small gathering.

Personal Branding for Job-Seeking Creative Types - The Resume
So, recently I was having a chat with one of the muckety-mucks at Talent Zoo (the fine people who bring you this and other riveting blogs). I said to her "You know, I don't really even know who the blog's main readers are. Who is reading the drivel that I routinely spew out onto the Internet?"

Academic Earth - Educators Unite
Academic Earth is a new site that follows in the footsteps of Hulu and iTunes by providing video from multiple sources. The awesome thing about it is that the video is lectures from educational institutions such as Harvard, MIT and Yale. The information that is available online is incredible and one can easily improve themselves by accessing educational content via sites such as Academic Earth. Compliments of Adam at Mashable.

Facebook responds (sorta)
In light of the recent hostility and anger towards the new Facebook redesign, Facebook has responded in a blog post today. In it, they discuss some of the new changes they are implementing, such as real-time updating, better photo tagging and control over which applications appear in the news feed.So many people have been upset over the amount of information shown on the feed at any given time, and that the majority of the users didn't really care what quiz they had taken or what games they had played.

When I Grow Up, I want To Be a Vampire Princess
The fangirl world is abuzz with the release of the summer hit(?) "Twilight," the first movie adaptation of a book series that some have likened to being the next Harry Potter. Like many movie franchises, this one is meant to be a series, even before the first film hit the theaters. Thus the money machine is fully in motion, using merchandising, additional book sales, and anything else they can use to produce a stream of income. Yes, the whole "Twilight" series by Stephenie Meyer is now a brand of sorts.

Percussion of Word Ad
Mixing together the current problems plaguing the world is the theme of this new add unveiled by the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE). ACCCE launched a new commercial today which underscores the role of affordable energy in promoting economic growth and prosperity.

Show & Tell
There's a video on You Tube that I'd like to show you. It's called If I Made a Commercial for Trader Joe's and I think it's awesome. The video was shot entirely on a Palm Treo and features a folksy song about all the quirky pleasures of shopping at Trader Joe's.

Fisher Price Recalls 3-in-1 High Chairs
About 24,000 high chairs from Fisher Price have been placed for recall due to possible fall hazards. The seat can fall backwards from high chair frame if the booster seat release is unlatched while the child is in the product. Also, the seat back can detach if not fully snapped in place, posing a fall hazard and risk of serious injury to young children.

IZOD/ INDY Apparel Launched
A new vintage clothing line has been announced in commemoration of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway's "Centennial Era." The new race-inspired collection will launch initially at Macy's stores nationwide next month. In July 2008, PVH announced an agreement with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) and the Indy Racing League (IRL) that designated the IZOD brand as the official apparel of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights. The Centennial Era is the Speedway's three-year celebration marking the 100th anniversary of the Speedway in 2009 and the Indianapolis 500 in 2011.

Pacifiers Recalled Due to Choking Hazard
Baby Necessities Pacifiers have been recalled due to a reported choking hazard as advised by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. The pacifiers are banned under federal law. They failed federal safety tests when the nipples separated from the base. This poses a choking hazard to young children. This recall involves Baby Necessities pacifiers with a blue heart-shaped mouth guard. The pacifiers were sold four to a pack. The words "Baby Necessities" is printed on the cardboard packaging. Dollar and discount stores nationwide from August 2007 through January 2009 for about $1. These pacifiers were manufactured in China.

Pacifico Beer Launches 7 Ounce Bottles
Pacifico Beer from Mexico will be adding a new package of sorts when it unveils the Pacifico 7 oz. bottle in 6-pack and 4/6-pack case. The new packages are launching in early April in primarily West coast markets, where the beer was first discovered by surfers bringing it back from surf trips in Baja California, Mexico. Launch markets include California, Nevada, Oregon, Idaho, Washington, Texas and Louisiana. This line extension is in response to Pacifico's performance over the past several years and the popularity of the 7 oz. package for Crown Imports, Pacifico's exclusive U.S. importer. In 2008, Pacifico delivered positive results in a challenging environment, with Pacifico up 0.3% and +11% CAGR over the last 10 years.

For the People
The current economic climate is yielding lemonade as well as lemons. The Federal Government stimulus plan is well known, but keep your eye open for local stimulus programs. The Town of Danville in Northern California has initiated a $400,000 program that allows retailers within the town limits to apply for grants. One of the line items is pr/marketing, and local firms have been invited to submit RFPs to be considered for the list that will be distributed to retailers in early spring. Keep your eyes open where you are. Government in Action

Play the Angles
You've been asked to produce yet another press release for a client's new product introduction. Rather than produce the same old content leading with functionality and price, why not work those into a feature on the consumer research or beta testing that took place. Often, a media release that's a bit different will stand out from the crowd. Explore Those Angles

Marketers Spending More on Social Media
eMarketer published an article today showing that 63% of companies surveyed will be spending more on their social media marketing budgets this year. As the social media ranks have grown, marketers have stayed away and kept their funds for more traditional challenges. One of the factors that has lead to the change of heart is the emergence of companies such as Visible Technologies and Radian 6 that can provide some ROI on social media. Check out the article. It's worth a skim if you're in the marketing department and have been trying to make a shift to social media.

Taking Twitter too far
There's a news article out today, claiming that Jennifer Aniston broke up with John Mayer because of his obsession with Twitter. Jennifer was upset because he claimed to be too busy to get in touch with her, while spending hours tweeting and replying. The source said: "John suddenly stopped calling her or returning her emails and when she would finally catch up with him, he'd say: 'I've been so busy with work. I'm sorry I haven't had time to call you back."

The Ordinary Extraordinary
There's an incredibly inspirational show up right now at the Museum of Art & Design in New York called Second Lives: Remixing the Ordinary, that I recommend for everyone, particularly art directors, because the featured artists do something that you are often challenged to do: turn an ordinary object into something extraordinary.

The Facebook Democracy
Facebook is a user darling and an industry standard bearer for social media and true peer to peer interaction. The interesting thing about Facebook is the user influence on the major decision around such items such as Beacon, changes to the user terms and now the revolt surrounding the redesign. Users are very quick to organize and try to force the gang at Facebook to conform. The question is, can Facebook effectively innovate and run its company if it's at the mercy of the mob? Change disrupts a system but the users have to be open to innovation or the system will not be able to scale and adjust for future success. Ben at Mashable has a nice write-up outlining Facebook's options around the user revolt over the redesign.

Starbucks Going Instant?
gabrielleevans-009-thumb-400x300-4427To cut it short, Starbucks is experiencing the effect of a drowning economy since people today have chosen to save elegant coffee concoctions for the meantime. And with that in mind, it is only automatic to note that the Starbucks brand is slipping, an occurrence that most brands, popular and not alike, are experiencing in the moment.

Desperately Seeking Coupons
ebookminigraphic100x129These days, the buck starts by looking for coupons and gathering as much savings as you can in the world of shopping. Though this trend is common, it only remains that these days, the efforts of shoppers to save on spending has practically doubled to help them whether one of the worst economic breakdowns that the world has experienced.

Chevron Sells Nigeria Holdings
Talks about this deal hit the press as far as last year and apparently everything has been consummated. Chevron Corp. said that its Chevron Africa Holdings Ltd. unit has completed the sale of Chevron Nigeria Holdings Ltd. to Corlay Global S.A, a Panamanian company owned by an Africa-based consortium composed of MRS Holdings Limited and Petroci Holding.
Chevron Nigeria Holdings is a Bermudan company that held 60 percent of the issued shares of Chevron Oil Nigeria Plc., an operator and owner of downstream marketing assets in Nigeria. The company said that its upstream operations in Nigeria were not affected by the sale. No additional details of the transaction were disclosed

Jif Announces Creative Peanut Butter Sandwich Winner
At a time where the salmonella issue has been wreaking havoc on the peanut butter industry, Jif, a peanut butter making company, has announced the winner of their Seventh Annual "Jif Most Creative Peanut Butter Sandwich" Contest.

PepsiCo Leads Water Stewardship Rites
PepsiCo has been known to lead several calls towards sponsorships but this time, it is the environmental issues they are headlining, an event associated with the celebration of World Water Day. PepsiCo has reaffirmed its commitment to responsible water stewardship though an ambitious agenda of global initiatives. These programs are part of the company's Performance with Purpose vision: delivering shareholder value while leaving a positive imprint on society.

DIY Release Distribution
I've been flacking on and off for 25 years, and the one service I've never quite understood is release distribution. Especially today with up-to-date info on the Internet, I can't fathom paying for this. Besides, maintaining media lists is a good exercise in knowing who is doing what where in your community of interest.

Think Thee, Not Me
Flacks risk their effectiveness when they communicate to the client or to themselves instead of to their target audience. Remember, to goal of a media release is to get the reporter's attention, and the goal of the reporter contact is to deliver a story on behalf of the client to which a reader/viewer/listener will react with the desired behavior. Delivering a media package that is too lengthy, too convuluted, or too inwardly focused will doom your project.binocularimagedetails

Entrepreneurs and Digital Tools
For all those considering starting their own business, Online College Degree provides a list of 100 Best Blogs for Entrepreneurs. It's interesting to see the evolution of tools and resources for creative talent that is looking to start their own business. These resources can help young entrepreneurs learn from their predecessors and avoid some of the pitfalls that novices may otherwise experience. Social media continues to evolve how we share and interact.

Video in Twitter
Twitmatic is a new site that is designed to be a video player/streamer for Twitter. It allows one to browse videos, in real time, as they are being shared on twitter. Twitmatic lets you watch a real-time stream of videos being shared on Twitter. It's a beta, so you're likely to come across some broken videos. Just click the big Next button and enjoy a new clip, or if you want to be super helpful you can click the Fail button so we can track the videos that are causing trouble.

2,000 Affordable Crafts under $5
At this point in time, the call is for budget-friendly packages and affordability. And for Oriental Trading Company, Inc., the nation’s largest direct marketer of arts and crafts, party supplies, toys, and novelties, promotes value-priced family fun during the month of March - National Craft Month. For over 75 years families, educators, churches and organizations have turned to Oriental Trading Company for an outstanding selection of crafts at affordable prices. While the already low prices are appealing, ease and convenience also contribute to their popularity.

Monster Energy Drink Sponsors Fiesta Atlanta
800mw-141Sponsorships are rare these days but if you really want companies to come out and extend some support for causes and events, target the new entrants in the market. Take the case of the Lanza Group. Today, the proudly announced that Monster Energy Drink will be the official energy drink sponsor for Fiesta Atlanta from 2009 through 2011.

Sony Hosts Free Electronics Recycling Event
button_recycleOne thing that most people need to be educated to right now is how to properly get rid of those old electronic stuff over at your end. It is not as easy as throwing paper in the garbage can. In fact, there are proper means of throwing them away since if not, chances are you are adding to the environmental woes we are facing today.

Nutella Comes Into Its Own
For a brand that was a virtual unknown, companies can learn from the online advertising prowess that this hazelnut/chocolate spread product has come into. Starting out with the big boys on Facebook, Nutella has now spread over the web just like a virus would.

Fit Solutions with Stacy London and The Riders by Lee
To uphold the value of fashion and of course help one another out as far as expanding the marketing possibilities, this partnership by Stacy London and the Riders by Lee is bound to offer some results. The Riders by Lee brand, long trusted for stylish apparel with superior fit, announced a partnership with personal style expert Stacy London. America’s most popular stylist is uniting with America’s number one brand for fit solutions as the foundation to its marketing initiatives in 2009.

Candace Parker Doing a Michael Jordan
For her efforts, WNBA basketball star Candace Parker is being wooed as the counterpart of NBA great and legend Michael Jordan. What Jordan has given to the NBA is what Parker brings to the WNBA and apparently the comparison was forthcoming.

Harris Bank Promotes Service
Harris bank's new marketing push promotes the slogan "We're here to help." Television commercials show Harris ads giving useful information to people that is specific to them. A man leaves his briefcase in a taxi and a Harris ad reminds him. A young guy meets someone he once knew, and a Harris ad reminds him what her name was.

Speeches and Presentations
An excellent way for flacks to set themselves apart is to develop expertise in the art of speech writing and executive communications. The important knack is the ability to hear your client's voice in your head as you're writing the speech or preparing the presentation. He had speech writers

Innovation and Problem Solving
Digital technology is allowing us to solve problems more efficiently and amazingly than every before. The following TED talk features Ed Ulbrich of Digital Domain whose team brought us the aged face of Brad Pitt in Benjamin Button. His team was presented with a goal but had to work through a process that resulted in a new technology. The video outlines their approach to solving the problem. The steps provided can be applied to all of our digital marketing projects. Compliments of Valeria Maltoni

How about a little social networking with your T.V.?
Hulu is breaking the rules all over the place. Now, in response to the every other social networking site, they've integrated some social networking into their television viewing. These new additions will allow users to integrate their viewing habits with their MySpace and Facebook pages. Now, when you sign into Hulu, you’ll find a bunch of new options that let you create a detailed social profile, and a new interface not all that different from Facebook’s with tabs to view a feed

MasterCard Is still Top Global Credit Card
We all know that people hate credit cards, particularly when the time comes you have to pay up. But regardless, it seems many people are using them and getting them as long as they can pass the usual credit investigation prior to be approved a card. And among the credit cards in use today, MasterCard came out as the top card globally, adding another feather to its cap. MasterCard Worldwide has been named the "Best Corporate Cards and Expense Services Provider" by Global Finance magazine for the third consecutive year.

2009 Ford F-150 Safety Ads Debut
Among the social responsibilities that a business would have is to provide guidance and safety assurances that can be in the form of leaflets or advertising mediums as well as emphasizing them on the product that they are actually selling. For Ford, doing just that is obviously achieved with the launch of their safety ads which began airing this week around the country touting the unparalleled safety features that make the 2009 Ford F-150 America's Safest Truck.

Outstanding Environmental Leadership Award
For its continuous contribution and focus on environmentally-conscious office products and services, Office Depot has been awarded the Outstanding Environmental Leadership Award by Office Products International (OPI) at the eighth annual European Office Products Awards banquet held in Frankfurt, Germany.

John McEnroe Leads EA Sports Grand Slam Tennis Legends
You cannot take away the fact that John McEnroe is a legend in his own right in the world of tennis. In fact, he earned that right during the prime of his career. Though his career path may have looked to show a split personality of sorts, his place in tennis is still imminent

Branding for Dummies
Apparently, March is Dummies month. At least that is what the Dummies book people will have us believe. It's on their website and everything.

Did you Know?
I'm often asked why I'm venturing into the field I'm studying, Networking and IT support, and my answer is usually because I want to learn everything I can about computers and networking, both in the physical sense and in the social sense. I want to know what makes computers work, and what makes people click, especially online. I was forwarded this wonderful clip from YouTube, that gives a run down of the numbers and the evolution of technology and information. We've come a long way, baby, and we're just getting started.

Google Reader Integrates Comments into Friends Feeds
In an announcement today, Google revealed the addition of comments to friends shared items in Google Reader. Google has been very slow to add social features to its reader which has kept conversation outside of the reader itself. This enhancement will allow for private conversations around shared items with your friends which will most likely be the first in more items to drive interactions within a very popular feed reader. This is a nice addition to google reader but I have to wonder if it's too little too late? Has the conversation already anchored in tools like Twitter or Friendfeed?

Beware of Job Scams
Ask anyone today what topic or area of concern could possibly be a hot commodity and you will surely get job vacancies as one of them. While we all know of the governing recession and layoffs happening in the world today, it remains that it is also an opportunity to trick people out of their leftover money. Pathetic as it may seem, it just remains that people are desperate to have some form of livelihood for their end, caring less of other’s welfare. "There's always people out there willing to take advantage of people's misery," said Chris Thetford, director of communications for the Better Business Bureau of Eastern Missouri and Southern Illinois.

Stein Mart Launches New Ad Campaigns
Are there people out there who still stay fashionable with the limited funds available for them to spend on? Apparently this is what Stein Mart will try to cover when their new ad gets underway. The ads feature six women found during casting calls in Orlando and Tampa who note that “value is the new fashion chic” and that shopping at Stein Mart can get you “more for less.”

Hollywood Video - Sinner or Saint?
Late fees are bad. Blockbuster did away with them completely, and companies like Netflix and other "mail-order rental" companies just charge you a monthly fee and you keep it as long as you want. In an effort to combat the stigma of late fees (and bring back customers who have fled their late fees like Saddam Hussein fled Iraq), Hollywood Video is running a special where past customers can come and have their late fees wiped out, forgiven, absolved.

Quaker Oats Warns Us to Flee the Planet
So, of late, I have been seeing the strangest billboards. They feature half of the Quaker Oats guy on a blank background, with only three little words accompanying it.

Refund Rewards Announced by SuperValu
Supervalu has unveiled a new program to help the aching consumer market as far as spending wisely with its new Refund Rewards program. The new program enables shoppers to get up to 10 percent additional value on the purchase of a grocery gift card during tax season.

Resident Evil 5 Kicks Off with Outbreak ’09 Events Nationwide
Resident Evil, that all time action-strategy game that has drawn raves from gamers worldwide, is set to unveil its latest installment via an even hosted by GameStop. GameStop has announced that it will host Outbreak ’09 events at 3,000 of its stores to mark of the midnight release of Capcom’s Resident Evil 5 on Thursday, March 12, 2009.

Twitter Mime
We talk about Twitter as a communications tool on a regular basis here at Digital Pivot. We explore the pros and cons along with the new tools to help you interact, track and search the twitter universe. At the end of the day, Twitter is what you make it. That being said, I couldn't help but laugh out loud at The Twitter Mime. You have to check this out.

Friendly, Not a Friend
Reporters are usually very friendly people, but it's important to remember that they are not your friends. The media's first loyalty is to its story. If your client strays off message and gives out something juicy a good reporter will usually run with it. And guess who the client will hold responsible.

Here's the Pitch!
Make sure all your media pitches are tailored to the reporter's point-of-view. Tell him or her why this story meets the needs of their publication and their readers. No good reporter cares why the story meets your needs or your client's needs. Throw the media a strike

Citi-MySpace
Even facing the scrutiny that Citigroup has accepted federal help to pull them up by their bootstraps, they have decided to offer a MySpace Credit Card. It is designed to be a first credit card for the new 18 year old crowd. Citi has their own MySpace profile, which has a lot of information and incentives to help improve the environment and to choose a new way forward. Citi has asked everyone that reads their profile to do a few simple steps, such as switching lightbulbs out to more efficient ones, and going paperless with bills, and offers a contest to help promote the new changes.

RedBrick Pizza Announces Franchise Stimulus Package
To perk up and reel in some potential investors for RedBrick Pizza franchises, RedBrick Pizza Worldwide Inc., has announced an interest free financing to qualified Master Developers for up to 50 percent of their Master Franchise fee.
"This represents the majority of a Master Developer's investment in order to own a geographic territory," says Jim Minidis, President of RedBrick Pizza Worldwide, Inc.

The Flydealism Campaign of Virgin America Airlines
It is a moniker but it is something relevant to their whole intent. Virgin America is flapping its wings and titling it the Flydealism campaign to help reinvent the domestic airline experience and ban mediocrity from the skies. The campaign was created by Virgin America's advertising agency-of-record, the San Francisco-based Eleven Inc.
The Flydealism campaign has a rolling launch, starting with print ads and Web banners, followed in mid-March by bus shelters, out of home (OOH) and wild postings. In late April, the campaign will include image-driven print and OOH.

Brand Rituals for Customer Motivation
Reading and analyzing your target market is important. Apparently, that areas is being overlooked right now as most of us are focusing a bit too much on the governing economic crisis. While that is something you cannot avoid, it is also a key factor as far as creating a great marketing plan that can help build on your brand and business.

Whopper Bar Now Open
Burger King has done it again. Headed by its marquee burger, the Whopper, Burger King Corp. today officially opens the world’s first WHOPPER™ Bar restaurant at Universal CityWalk at Universal Orlando Resort in Orlando, Fla. Elevating the HAVE IT YOUR WAY® brand promise to new heights, the WHOPPER™ Bar restaurant embodies the power of personal choice by offering guests a customizable, premium and indulgent WHOPPER®-based menu.

Hollywood Video - Sinner or Saint?
Late fees are bad. Blockbuster did away with them completely, and companies like Netflix and other "mail-order rental" companies just charge you a monthly fee and you keep it as long as you want. In an effort to combat the stigma of late fees (and bring back customers who have fled their late fees like Saddam Hussein fled Iraq), Hollywood Video is running a special where past customers can come and have their late fees wiped out, forgiven, absolved.

Twitterfall
I happened across a really fascinating Twitter client. It's called Twitterfall, and it's a lot like google for Twitter. It's a real time twitter feed, and the really neat part is that you can specify what terms you want it to follow. Right now, the most popular searches are for Watchmen, Heroes, DST, and iPhone. It is almost completely customizable, and it allows you to set your refresh rate to one that is manageable for you. I think this would be a great way to monitor any viral phenomena, and possible monitor brand voice and popularity. This would be especially fascinating during times of mass tweeting, like the inauguration had. It allows real time updating of events, as long as you know what you'd like to monitor.

Your Brand Voice on Twitter
Kai Turner of Agency.com, compliments of Mashable, provides a great overview for finding your brands voice on Twitter. He outlines eight elements for brands to consider prior to engaging in Twitter as a communications tool. From personal experience, point number 5: DO define your communications channel is critical for success, especially large brands. As more and more brands attempt to participate in the conversation these guidelines should reduce some of the headaches that are encountered.

Texas Instruments Offers New Power Battery Gauge for Mobile Phones
A new single-cell battery fuel gauge has been unveiled by Texas Instruments today which will help in monitoring devices in systems. Impedance Track technology accurately predicts battery capacity instantly under all operating conditions, including battery age, temperature and discharge behavior. Today, TI ships millions of battery fuel gauge ICs with Impedance Track technology to customers worldwide in applications ranging from notebooks to smart phones.

Quay Vodka Sails Into America
Vodka is a drink that most people love to consume and while we have our own line of brands that are pretty much popular locally, the taste of French Vodka is something rare for most. American vodka connoisseurs will soon be able to enjoy a French-made vodka that evokes the simple elegance of the Mediterranean region of Europe: southern France, Italy, Spain, Portugal and Greece. Bravado Imports is introducing Quay Vodka (http://www.quayvodka.com), an ultra-premium, artisan-crafted Mediterranean spirit, to select U.S. markets

Brownies Madness!
Sweet tooth people and foodies who are simply crazy about brownies are sure to like this piece of information. Great American Cookies, long known for delicious fresh-baked cookies and Cookie Cakes, announces the launch of the first-ever "Brownie Madness!" celebration. The celebration is the first time the company has made their large selection of brownie flavors the focus of a company-wide promotion. Great American Cookies is supported by NexCen Franchise Management, Inc., a subsidiary of NexCen Brands, Inc.

Proof That You Can Brand Just About Anything
We've seen brands for millions of products. In this blog, I have written countless times about the personal branding of one celebrity or another. But I never would have guessed that you could brand a homeless guy.

'Wake Up' America and Help Donate 1 Million Meals
Actress Marcia Cross and Mott have come together to address the growing problem of hunger in the world with their 'Wake Up' America and Help Donate 1 Million Meals to Those in Need.

Discover the West In You
If you have seen the various commercial airings of Longhorn Steaks recently then take note that this is part of the company's new "Discover the West in You(SM)" advertising campaign.

Recognize the Moment with Absolut
Absolut Vodka is one of the world’s premier and favorite drink but in an effort to teach drinkers to drink responsibly, they have launched Recognize the Moment, a responsible drinking campaign that goes one step further than telling us it's important to drink responsibly. Through interactive mobile, video and social networking channels, Recognize the Moment gives consumers the easy-to-use tips and tools they need to make responsible decisions - if, and when, they choose to consume alcohol.

Managing Social Profiles
As the number of social networks grows, it's easy to be overwhelmed by the effort to maintain each one independently. Each network may serve a purpose to your personal or professional life but it is easy to lose track of the networks you've joined, are managing or are interested in. For individuals, there is a great How To from Ben Parr at Mashable that provides a good approach to identifying and managing your networks. There is also a desktop solution that I will be experimenting with called Sobees.

Mixbook Launches Upgraded Online Photo Editor
For people who love to go online, a lot of things are the reason behind it. And among the, the ability to edit photos online is a growing fad and thanks to the efforts of Mixbook, they just upgraded that option for people who are simply crazy about producing the best photos online today. Mixbook today announced the release of a powerful new online scrapbook editor. Mixbook's new editor allows users to fully personalize their photo book with a wide array of stickers, backgrounds, and professionally-designed themes.

Plentyoffish.com is Everyone’s Favorite Internet Dating Site
Most singles who browse the web are not only after information. Some even go as far as looking for love as well. And when one asks which site is best, check out Plentyoffish.com. It is the top ranked and favorite site that most online dating addicts are into these days. Plentyoffish.com is now the official #1 online dating site in both the USA and the UK according to Hitwise and is quickly gaining the reputation for being the site where people meet their true love. At least that's the case in San Diego, California.

Idol Breaks Their Own Rules
This past week, American Idol did something daring, shocking, and against the rules they have played by for the past several seasons.

KFC Launches Streetwise Meal
When it comes to meals today, people are looking for budget-friendly value meals to satisfy their hunger. And KFC has been known to come up with the best meal promotions catered to the needs of the current economic situation. A great way to boost up these meals is through ads to which KFC has unveiled a new one that is bound to hit the right spot and attention of their followers.

Champagne Perrier Opens Oldest Champagne
Champagne Perrier is a familiar brand and when you hear that they are uncorking the oldest champagne in the world, then that is certainly something worth checking out. This weekend, 12 of the world's top wine and champagne experts flew from all corners of the globe to the boutique Champagne House Perrier-Jouet for the chance to taste 20 historic vintages from the House's own cellars, including the oldest champagne in the world: Perrier-Jouet Vintage 1825.

Exploring Creative Commons
The rise of digital tools has created a challenging environment for what is appropriate use of others content, images and materials. For those who are trying to get a grasp on what creative commons is and how they can access and use the content, the following presentation provided by Jessica Coates, is a good educational piece. It's targeted at an educational audience but the information is applicable for all looking for images and content to support their material. Compliments of Mike Sansone of ConverStations

Evolution of Comparison Shopping
Mitch Joel has an interesting post on the realization of the promise for mobile ecommerce. He outlines the experience that technology on mobile devices is having on shopping. Mitch talks about an iPhone app from SnapTell that allows users to take a picture of a product and compare it to a database of images. If the item is found, a user can see comparison prices, reviews and other data. As mobile devices become more prevalent, the access to information will continue to drive evolution in interaction within the shopping experience.

Giving up texting for Lent
In a dramatic move, the Vatican has asked that many of its believers choose to give up technology for Lent. Pope Benedict XVI has recently stated that, “obsessive” use of mobile phones or computers “may isolate individuals from real social interaction while also disrupting the patterns of rest, silence and reflection that are necessary for healthy human development".

BluefirePoker.com Aims to Prove Poker as a Game of Skill
To help address the growing issue of gambling associated with Poker, BluefirePoker.com (a non-wagering Poker training site via online videos) is willing to put its money where its mouth is - to prove that Poker is a game of skill, not luck. The folks at www.BluefirePoker.com are offering $1,000,000 to President Obama or any member of the U.S. Congress willing to play a Poker game against any of their poker pros, and the winnings can go to the charity of choice. BluefirePoker.com will put up $1,000,000 against $1 for a chance to play with either President Obama or any member of the U.S. Congress.

Rotary Clubs and Dolly Parton to Push Children Reading Campaign
In an effort to boost the literacy level of kids today, Rotary clubs have partnered with country music legend Dolly Parton to promote literacy bridges the pop culture gap. Rotary International today announced a collaboration with Parton's Tennessee-based Dollywood Foundation to promote early childhood reading. Rotary clubs in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom are encouraged to support the foundation's Imagination Library program, which provides books to children from birth until age five, so that parents can begin reading to them as soon as possible.

Pepsi Announces Three New Drinks
Pepsi has unveiled three new drinks into the market, a move that is part of their “Refreshing Everything” campaign. Pepsi is reinvigorating its beverage lineup with the introduction of three new products. Pepsi Natural, Pepsi Throwback and Mountain Dew Throwback, all sweetened with natural sugar, will be hitting the beverage aisle this March and April.

Combos Announces Manliest Cities in America
To help identify the manliest cities in the world today, it took a favorite snack brand to help inform the world on what they are. COMBOS, the hearty, pretzel and cracker snack made with real cheese - examines what makes a city manly and then ranks 50 major metropolitan areas using criteria such as number of professional major league sports teams, popularity of tools and hardware and frequency of monster truck rallies.

The New Face of Late Night TV
Move over, Rover. Let Jimmy take over." When Jimmy Hendrix sang those words at Woodstock in 1969, he probably never realized he was uttering a prophetic vision of late night television 40 years in the future.

Kathryn Erbe is 2009 National Spokesperson
The drive to help bring down animal cruelty is obvious these days and celebrity endorsements are likewise notable. The latest celebrity to join the fray is Law and Order’s Kathryn Erbe, chosen to be the National Spokesperson for North Shore Animal League America's Tour for Life.

Lifeway Foods Announces La Fruta Drinkable
If you are having problems locating the La Fruta drinkable Yogurt from Lifeway Foods, worry no more. Lifeway Foods, Inc., makers of a nutritious, probiotic dairy beverage called kefir, announced today expanded distribution of its La Fruta(TM) Drinkable Yogurt to about 150 "supercenter" stores in California. These stores, such as Super A, generate about $750,000 a week in revenue.

Facebook gets a new look
Facebook announced on March 4th that they were redesigning the facebook page, to make it reflect changes in real time, more accurately. They've come up with the new way to filter your friends pages. This helps you control who you see on your landing page and give you one more way to filter the information presented. I can imagine this will help with that dilemma of what to do with those people that are on your list but that you really don't want to read about every sandwich they've ever eaten.

Twitter's Business Plan Revealed?
Twitter may finally be revealing its business plan. Think Twitter as a search engine. Twitter has been steadily growing its user base while keeping folks wondering and how it can monetize its system. When you consider the data that Twitter has been collecting over time you can begin to see the power. What appears to by 140 characters of ramblings by millions quickly turns into an enormous amount of data about brands, experiences and information. Google has proven that you can monetize data and the search for information.

Consumers Spending More on Recreation
With hard times upon us, one would think that people would focus more on saving each buck as much as they can. But then again, despite broadly publicized cuts in overall consumer spending, Euromonitor International reports that Americans typically allocate more of their discretionary income on recreation than areas like clothing, electronics, or even household goods. Smart Circle International, the leader in worldwide referral marketing, is bringing consumers exclusive offers through its signature Smart Circle Cards on the recreational activities they love at an affordable price, including discounts at paintball and karting venues, as well as family entertainment centers such as Gameworks, Main Event, Dave & Busters, Mr. Biggs, Boomers, Zuma, Fiddlestix and Celebration Station.

New Balance Reveals Total Fit Campaign
New Balance, a familiar brand in the world of sports shoes and apparel, debuts a brand campaign this month that reinforces the brand's heritage in performance running and introduces its Total Fit philosophy, the complete dedication to achieving the perfect fit. The Total Fit campaign continues to highlight the struggles of the athlete's relationship with running that is fundamental to the brand's LOVE/hate this is the new balance brand platform.
"The New Balance Total Fit(TM) campaign captures our unique understanding of running and showcases that fit is who we are and what we do," says Joe Preston, EVP at New Balance.

Museum of Modern Art Launches New Website
To enhance its commitment to engaging the public and providing global access to the Museum and its collections, The Museum of Modern Art launches a completely redesigned website at www.MoMA.org on March 6, 2009. The new site integrates dynamic features that offer visitors a more personal online experience, enhanced navigation, and access to MoMA's collection, exhibitions, and resources through a highly visual and fluid new interface that brings the voices and perspectives of MoMA's audience to the forefront.

ShovelWatch
Social Media is being utilized in an amazing new way in Shovelwatch.org. In this, TheTakeAway.org, ProPublica.org and WNYC.org are using social media connections, like Twitter, to crowd source the stimulus and how it is affecting the average American. Crowd sourcing is basically aggregating the most relevant news and information about a subject, this time it's the stimulus. Normally, crowdsourcing takes the place of a single human counterpart, preferring the word of many, over the word of one,

PageRank wasted on Twitter?
Aaron Wall posted an entry to SEOBook.com yesterday titled "How Much of YOUR PageRank Are You Wasting on Twitter?" I can see where he's coming from and understand his point of view, but I don't necessarily agree. From everything I've experienced with Twitter, it tremendously increases your exposure to a very targeted audience. That exposure then increases exponentially when your story, article or blog post is retweeted by your followers to their followers. Sure you're not increasing your page rank with all these tweets since all the links are no follow, but how many of those people are still being evangelists of your post and linking to you on their blog?

Facebook Biz Pages Getting Friendlier
Facebook announced several enhancements to their platform this week. One of the more interesting updates is the changes to the Business pages. It's not a dramatic shift but it takes a tool with limited functionality and brings it closer to the experience that most users expect when interacting with Facebook content. As the Director of Social Media and Digital Communications for Aurora Health Care, I've been experimenting with creating business pages but struggled to communicate effectively within the limitations of that tool.

Is the Saturn Brand a Dead Brand?
To help address the worsening economic situations, General Motors is seriously pondering on killing the Saturn brand. General Motors first conceived the idea of the Saturn brand back in the late 1980’s. Since the popular car brand started rolling off of car lots it has created a very loyal fan base. G.M. says that if Saturn retailers or other investor groups present a plan that would allow a spin-off or sale of the Saturn Distribution Corporation that they would be open to that possibility

Cyrus Family Pops the Charts
Two Cyruses, Billy Ray and Miley are topping the charts for their respective songs which will appear on Walt Disney Records soundtracks. This week, Miley Cyrus debuts with "The Climb" (Walt Disney/Hollywood/Lyric Street) at No. 48 and father Billy Ray bows with "Back to Tennessee" (Walt Disney/Lyric Street) at No. 59 on Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart. The Songs are due to be unveiled on March 24 in the Walt Disney Pictures film, "Hannah Montana The Movie," which opens nationwide in theaters April 10. Back To Tennessee is also the title track of Cyrus’ upcoming CD, which will be released on April 7. This marks the first time in nearly twenty years that a father and daughter have appeared on the chart with separate solo singles.

Kohl’s Makes Britney Spears the New Face of Kohl
In a move that has many people thinking, Kohl was thought of making quite a risky move in selecting Britney Spears as their new face. Britney Spears has signed an exclusive agreement to appear in 2009 ads for Candie's clothing and accessories, which are sold only at Kohl's. Spears wears Candie's apparel in her latest music video. Candie's and Kohl's are sponsors of Spears' "Circus" world tour, which launched this week.

Infusium 23 Sold to Helen of Troy
Reports have it that Proctor and Gamble have sold Infusium 23, a global brand that includes shampoos, conditioners and hair treatments, has been sold to Helen of Troy. Actual figures on the closed deal was not disclosed but the deal is expected to be closed by the end of March.

After a Personal Brand Goes Sour
Being an Illinois resident, I have had to deal with the turmoil recently caused by former Governor Rod Blagojevich and his impeachment. The story goes that the Governor was basically selling the vacant senate seat left open by Senator Obama. People got wind of this, didn't much care for it, and trials ensued. Blagojevich was stripped of his office and forbidden from holding a public office in this state again.

Starbucks Breakfast for only $3.95?
Go into a normal Starbucks store and you would normally see their suggested menu for the day. No price indicated of course. But today you may start seeing something different to which you can bet that they are trying to entice combo deals closely related to the value meals we see most food establishments are trying to push for customer satisfaction.

Has Twitter Jumped the Shark?
Now, even Republican Congressmen are sending out tweets on Twitter (during the president's speech even). Hey, there are few people as hip as conservative Republicans, so this Twitter thing must really be cool. Right? Right? Jon Stewart finally voiced what I think a lot people have been thinking, but are too chicken to say. Is Twitter just one thing too many? Check out the Daily Show clip and respond (and you can use more than 140 characters, too).

New Media in Education
My alma mater, Michigan State University, has a new course called New Media Drivers License. The university is creating an opportunity for students to study, experiment and learn about new media tools at the collegiate level. The course will use the text from David Meerman Scott's book, "The New Rules of Marketing and PR" and will be taught by Derek Mehraban, CEO of Ingenex Digital Marketing. It's touted as the first of it's kind and I think it will be the first of many such courses to appear around marketing and advertising programs.

Facebook marketplace, powered by Oodle.com
Facebook classifieds have a new face. That new face is oodle.com. Several months ago, Facebook announced that they were going to branch out their classifieds, and that they were looking at Oodle.com as the partner to help them accomplish this. Facebook marketplace is now live, and it's powered by Oodle. There is an app available, and it allows you to post things for sale, or to offer things, for free, to the people on your contact list. This is an excellent way to downsize and de-clutter, and it allows the people that you know, and presumably trust, the first crack at what it is you are offering.

Successful E-mail Marketing Strategies: From Hunting to Farming
References on how to effectively make use of email marketing strategies can be solicited once again from this new book reference that was recently launched. e-Dialog, a proven provider of advanced e-mail marketing services and solutions, today announced the debut of Successful E-mail Marketing Strategies: From Hunting to Farming, a book co-authored by marketing veterans Arthur Middleton Hughes and Arthur Sweetser. Available from RACOM Books, Amazon.com and Borders.com, the book outlines how to create and measure e-mail messages that are relevant to subscribers.

Web Marketing for Dummies Author Goes Online
One thing about people getting into web marketing strategies today, books are not the only ones to help guide them. In fact, some theories and concepts may be up for debate and for the many endorsers of the “For Dummies” series, here is your chance to raise your doubts. Makena Technologies, creator of the popular social virtual world There.com, today announced that Wiley Publishing’s “Web Marketing for Dummies” author, Jan Zimmerman, will be hosting an in-world discussion on March 5 at 7:00 pm ET. The updated version of the book in the popular “For Dummies” technology book series features notes about marketing in a virtual world like There.com. The event is free to all There.com members.

TitanPoker.com Awarded Best Poker Customer Service Award
For the third year in a row, TitanPoker.com has been adjudged the Best Poker Customer Service Award by Gambling Online Magazine. Titan Poker, the leading poker destination on the iPoker Network, takes pride in its ability to keep players satisfied with its "personal touch" and reliable customer service. www.titanpoker.com also edged out the competition when receiving Gambling Online Magazine's Best Poker Customer Service Award in 2006 and 2007.

Branding by Accident
While companies work tirelessly and spend billions of dollars building a brand, some have been able to do what the major corporations haven't been able to. And they did it by accident.

Sandra Lee’s New Food Sites
If you are craving for deliciously great new food recipe’s check out Sandra Lee’s new line of semi-homemade cooking goodies. Sandra whips up delicious recipes perfect for every day of the week, all based on her "triple A factor" of accessible, aspirational and affordable.

The Lighter Side of Celebrity Endorsements
Everyone once knew him as Captain James T. Kirk, but these days, William Shatner is more well known for his work with Priceline.com.

Miles to Go with Miley Cyrus Launched
Miley Cyrus provides fans a glimpse of her inspiring story with the launch of her book, Miles to Go. Disney Book Group and Parragon Books will publish MILES TO GO in English language markets simultaneous to the U.S. launch; the book will be published in Italy through Disney Libri in April 2009. In addition, the book will publish in French Canada in April 2009 and in May will hit stores in France via Michel LaFon.

Dairy Queen Launches Sweet Deal Game
Dairy Queen may be a great and sweet desert or concoction for sweet tooth individuals but today, fans and supporters of Dairy Queen are in for a different kind of a treat. Dairy Queen today unveiled an online game to support the treat category leader’s recently introduced Sweet Deals, a new permanent value menu. The game is live at DQ.com.

Who is Facebook for, exactly?
Facebook is quickly surpassing nearly every other social network around. There are 175 million users, and more are joining daily. With that growth, though, comes the questioning. People that are not on facebook wonder what, exactly, is it good for? They want to know what they will gain by signing up. Time wrote a bit of a tongue in cheek article about facebook being for old fogies. In it they state that the over 30 crowd is the fastest growing segment of the facebook population, and they give a funny run down of why, exactly, that is. Just one of the reasons they state,

Tracking Your Content
For those content producers who want to guarantee credit for their work, there is a tool called Tynt that will allow you to track when your content is copied from your site to an email, blog or web site. The product is called Tracer and it uses a bit of code to generate a link back to your site when the content is pasted. The tool offers a way to track where your content is going, gives you credit for what you've produced and can also help to drive traffic back to your site. For those who feel their material is not being referenced appropriately or who want to track the spread of their content, Tracer is an interesting offering.

Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience
It looks like that this new offering from Walt Disney Studio Motion Pictures and IMAX Corporation, the Jonas Brothers is going to be the next big hit if initial numbers are to be considered. The 3D Concert Experience grossed $765,000 in select IMAX(R) 3D theatres, posting a per screen average of approximately $15,000 during its opening weekend from Friday, February 27 through Sunday, March 1. The limited IMAX 3D engagement will continue to run through this Thursday, March 5.

Go Orange for Animals
Join in the commemoration on the prevention of cruelty to animals with their new moniker, Go Orange for Animals. This April, the ASPCA(R) (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals(R)) will once again commemorate Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month - an extremely important month for animals. From its beginnings three years ago as a small grassroots adoption event in New York City, the ASPCA's April celebrations have mushroomed into a nationwide celebration of the human-animal bond and the organization's victories on behalf of animals.

Watchmen is the Film to Watch
Though it was not feted that much during the Academy Awards, Watchment is slowly proving to one and all that it is the movie worth watching. Watchmen doesn't open until Friday, but Fandango is already seeing strong advance ticket sales for the film, comprising 61% of all sales on Fandango, the nation's leading moviegoer destination. Advance tickets for director Zack Snyder's Watchmen are far outpacing advance tickets sold for Snyder's previous movie, 300, at the same point in that film's sales cycle. Dozens of midnight Thursday night showtimes for the film are sold out on Fandango, from Albany, Georgia to Dublin, California.

Toyota Matrix Sponsoring 27th San Francisco
Just like last year, Toyota is continuing its support for the upcoming 27th San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival. The event is runs from March 12-22, 2009. With over 100 films and videos showcasing at this year's festival, Toyota Matrix is continuing its contribution to the promotion of Asian American arts for the second year in a row.

The Vintage Rock Wine Dinner
People who love to dine out in style can get the best deals check out this wine dinner that Flemings’ Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar has to offer. Glasses will be filled with wines made by rock 'n' roll legends. Trivia games will be played, CDs will reward the winners, and great music will go through the night.

Roy Schneider Memoralized
One of the popular actors who have been part of Hollywood for quite some time is the late Rob Schneider. He is best remembered for movies such as “Blue Thunder” and “Jaws” and for his efforts, the popular actor nominee will be memoralized for his contributions to the movie industry.

Social Features for Beginners
John Jantsch of Duct Tape Marketing shares a few good tools to incorporate social interactions into your site. John provides information on tools that can added commenting, rating features and other interactive tools to your site. Each of these items is simple and easy to execute for those who have access to the code side of the pages that support their blog or site. In today's world of growing social interactions, these features are requirements for entry for sites.

Digital Pivot Draft
What if I told you a lot of the assumptions you’re making about how people enjoy video entertainment these days is wrong? Well a lot of people are buying into a hysteria that kind of feeds on itself, that video entertainment has moved to the web and mobile devices and that it’s young people who are voraciously consuming that content. Major corporations are currently hyperventilating to find the most youth-targeted, cutting edge content with which to brand themselves using the very latest whiz bank technology, then push that content out to mobile devices. They’re paying “consultants” gazillions to make this happen, and happen fast, feeling like they’re already behind and playing catch-up.

The Proper Starbucks Protocol
Starbucks follows a certain protocol for customers as far as serving their drinks. Ideally the protocol is as follows:
    • Order Your Drink
    • Pay for your Drink
    • Get the Receipt
    • Wait for your Drink to be done

The Brand Seductress Is Back
The Goldstein Group makes a comeback, providing a big sigh of relief to brand managers who are really having a hard time building up their brands. Supermarket seductress Terri Goldstein is back since splitting off from IQ, the renowned New York branding firm Goldstein co-founded in 1995. The visual brand strategist has been hard at work developing a different kind of brand: her own.
A mid-sized team of packaging experts helmed by Goldstein and chief creative Darcy Bolker, The Goldstein Group is now open for business

D-Angelo Sports Drinks to Rebound
To many, this sports drink brand may seem unfamiliar. Maybe its because this brand crashed spectacularly a few years ago in beer and juice ventures. However, they are back for another shot at big-time business. The venture is spearheaded by Frank D’Angelo.
D'Angelo announced yesterday one of his old companies is relaunching "Cheetah Power Surge," a non-caffeinated energy drink, for distribution in unidentified convenience stores and national grocery chains.

Ford Pondering on Volvo Sale
Will Ford put Volvo up for sale? Apparently that is what it looks like as Ford is reportedly studying its options on dislodging the said luxury car line. The move is not surprising. Today, most companies that have grown are trying to find alternatives to stay in business.

Tropicana Overlooks Potential Design
It is only customary for companies to change design and packaging to stir up consumer attention and exposure. But then again, there is a case as changing designs too soon. In fact, there is one company that may have overlooked a great design and if the trend continues, they may find themselves forever being at that redesign point and being unable to move forward.

Eva Herzigova is Still The Demanded Supermodel
We see models and celebrities chosen for continued endorsements. However, what makes Eva Herzigova different is that even at 35, she still maintains the same body that keeps the endorsers coming. The model is as sexy as ever and still in demand for big-name campaigns

Nurture Next Google, Not Old GM
Rather than bail out old-economy companies, the U.S.A.’s $787 billion economic stimulus should emphasize high tech to help entrepreneurs kick-start the future. The importance of high tech stimulus in this time of world economic meltdown was perfectly enunciated by The New York Times’ Thomas L. Friedman: As we invest taxpayer money, let’s do it with an eye to starting a new generation of biotech, info-tech, nanotech and clean-tech companies, with real innovators, real 21st-century jobs and potentially real profits for taxpayers.

Around World, Across Internet, New Wealth Creation Movement Beckons
Mainstream media and other traditionalists raised eyebrows – in some instances, disdainfully – when during his first press conference Barack Obama became the first U.S. president to call on Sam Stein, a reporter for The Huffington Post, the Internet publication that sprang to life during the Obama candidacy. How quaint. Sites such as Arianna Huffington’s regularly offer essential, often critical news coverage the mainstream routinely ignores or glosses over. Also, the Huffington Post especially mixes the best of printed news with the best of video and audio – that converged trilogy that will define news outlets of the future.

Britney Spears’ Circus is Most Played Song
Ever wonder which song is always playing on the radio waves these days? Well just in case you know the tune that plays over and over again, it might probably be the hit single of Britney Spears, Circus. Britney Spears continues her dominance on the charts, her latest single "Circus" is the No. 1 song on the Top 40 radio charts and her fifth No. 1 song overall. Currently she holds three songs in the Top 40 chart, her breakout first hit song "Womanizer," "Circus" and her rapidly rising third single "If You See Amy." Additionally this marks the first time in her storied career where Spears scores back-to-back No. 1 singles on the radio chart, according to industry trade Radio & Records.

Can an Online Game Study Human Behavior?
Online games are normally known to be a form of entertainment. But apparently, some games are proceeding to another level. And for Everquest 2, an online game that has been around and played by millions, studies show they can help study actual human behavior. A research study by a University of Minnesota computer scientist and colleagues from across the country shows that online, interactive gaming communities are now so massive that they mirror traditional communities.

Jennifer Hudson Speaks Up --- Indirectly
After the tragedies that she had experienced some months back, diva Jennifer Hudson has finally opened up. Hudson has been mum about the October killing of her mother, brother and 7 year old nephew but apparently she seems to have learned to go on.
"To me, the biggest notes and the longest notes are the easiest notes," she said. "It's just like I'm glad that I made it to the end of the song. That's how I am. OK, I got this now, I'm home. I'm going home now."

The Art of Cardigan Arrives in NYC Fifth Avenue
Cardigans are familiar to us when it comes to clothing options and apparently, GAP has endorsed various cardigan creations by the Rhode Island School of Design (RSID) students and faculty that is now shown in NYC Fifth Avenue.

Salesforce.com Awarded Product of the Year
A cloud computing company has been awarded the 2008 Product of the Year Award from SearchCRM.com. Salesforce CRM was named "Best CRM Suite" in the enterprise category and "got high marks for innovation and ease of use," according to SearchCRM.com. The award winners were selected by a panel of independent industry experts and analysts, CRM professionals, and SearchCRM.com editors, who evaluated 40 products in six CRM categories.

The Limited Edition Barbie Box
Again, Barbie will be celebrating her 50th year in existence and it seems that Hotel Chocolat is offering a limited edition box set to join in acknowledging the world famous doll. The luxury chocolatier is unveiling a limited edition box set: 'The Barbie Box' (TM) to mark the 50 years of 'unapologetic glam' of a style-superstar-extraordinaire.

Bar Refaeli Leads Judging of Walk the Walk Contest
Sports Illustrated Swimsuit model Bar Refaeli was among the cast of judges that witnessed the Walk the Walk contest, a fashion design competition aimed at inspiring the future generation designers. Other judges included Benji and Joel Madden of Good Charlotte, Taboo of the Black Eyed Peas, Robert Buckley of Lipstick Jungle and Frankie Delgado of MTV's Bromance and The Hills at House of Blues Anaheim. Refaeli and the star-studded panel of judges that also included Hurley founder Bob Hurley and Rosemary Brantley of OTIS College of Art and Design watched a parade of Hurley collections that had been redesigned by area high school students. The theatrical shows, which at times looked more like dance-offs, were modeled, produced and promoted entirely by student teams.

Spidey Becomes McDonalds Happy Meal Theme
If you drop by McDonalds, don’t be surprised if you see a new happy meal package that has Spiderman at the front. Apparently this is the latest deal entered into by Sony Pictures, Marvel Entertainment and McDonalds in bringing the usual excitement for kids who idolize cartoons and hit movie flicks.
"The Spectacular Spider-Man" US Happy Meal will feature a collection of eight action figures, including Spider-Man Suction Cup, Doctor Octopus, Spider-Man Swinging, Venom, Spider-Man Launcher, Green Goblin, Spider-Man Crawling, and Sandman.

Playboy Search is On for Hottest ACC
The search for the hottest college girls today is set to take place as Playboy is scouting the Atlantic Coast Conference for the sexiest Hokies, Eagles, Seminoles and Blue Devils who will appear in the magazine's annual college girls pictorial.
For the past 32 years, college pictorials have been one of the most talked-about and popular features in Playboy. Thousands of coeds have auditioned over the years and many selected to appear in the magazine have gone on to become Playboy Playmates, models and actresses. Playboy's 2007 Playmate of the Year Sara Jean Underwood was first featured in the magazine's October 2005 "Girls of the PAC 10" pictorial.

Alaska Airlines Inaugurates Satellite-Based Internet Service
We are all aware that when we ride planes, we would be warned to turn off electrical devices like mobile phones and digital cameras for fear of affecting the craft devices. Apparently that was yesterday’s news as today, being able to use devices to browse in flights are becoming a fad. Alaska Airlines today will launch a customer trial of its new satellite-based wireless Internet service. Named Alaska Airlines Inflight Wi-Fi, the service can be used inflight on any Wi-Fi enabled device such as a laptop, smartphone or portable media player

Haagen Daz Extend Helping Hand to Honey Bees
In an effort to help identify the real cause of the alarming deaths of honey bees, Haagen Daz is taking the lead in identifying the cause for the dreaded dilemma called Colony Collapse Disorder.

New Book for Marketers and Product Launching
One of the common references that people turn to when it comes to studies and business are the books. While there are many of them around, there are only a select few that cover a certain topic. And one of them comes in this new book that promises to promote Marketing and Product Launches as authored by Michael W. Lodato, Ph.D.

Devhub.com Making Wide Strides on the Web
Online solutions and website development is evident these days and apparently Devhub.com has jumped from a virtual stealth service into a full-blown one today.

New PokerPro Software Approved by GMI
Poker has obviously been one of the popular sports today and such is an opportunity for some companies to take advantage and come up with some technological solutions to enhance the game. And apparently, PokerPro has done just that and has even gotten the nod by the Gaming Laboratories International, clearing the way for several new exciting features that will enhance the automated poker experience for players and operators alike.

Reasons for Non-Profits to Blog
Britt Bravo of Have Fun Do Good has a post highlighting eight benefits for non-profits and blogging. Many non-profits are realizing the power of social media as a means to share their mission, raise awareness, engage supporters and ultimately raise funds. Whether it's a blog, social network or Facebook profile, digital tools can make a non-profit a very effective communicator without having to support a major communications budget. Having served many years as a communications person with a non-profit, I wish these tools had been available ten years ago. Whether you're working for or with a non-profit, the advice from Britt is worth the read.

Enfamil Under Fire for Baby IQ Claims
Due to some questionable claims, Mead Johnson has to answer for some unsupported claims regarding the improvement of brain and eye development in infants. The National Advertising Division has thrice asked Mead Johnson to stop making unsupported claims for Enfamil. Those claims include the notion that Enfamil improves eye development and IQ in babies. The referral is bad news for Mead Johnson as President Obama is poised to appoint FTC Commissioner Jon Liebowitz to chairman of the FTC. Leibowitz is regarded as more aggressive on enforcement than his predecessor.

Celebrities to Endorse Reuse on Celeb Throwaway
In a move to help provide alternative practices towards the area of recycling to bring down waste issues, MySkip is promoting the use of unwanted goods via first-ever 24-hour ‘Celebrity Throwaway’. Everyday items donated by such celebrities as Sheryl Crow, Ricky Gervais and Shilpa Shetty will be available for free at www.myskip.com from 0900 GMT on Tuesday 3 March 2009.
MySkip also today unveiled an enhanced interactive website designed to help consumers and organisations to easily dispose of or find useful items that might otherwise end-up in British landfills.

Sega Partners with Pyro Studios
Sega and Pyro Studios have come together to create a new game based on the upcoming film, Planet 51. The Planet 51 game will be available in Winter 2009 for the Xbox 360®video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, the Wii™ system, PLAYSTATION®3 computer entertainment system and the Nintendo DS™ portable handheld system. Planet 51 is a galactic sized alien adventure comedy from the writer of "Shrek" and "Shrek 2", which revolves around American astronaut Captain Charles "Chuck" Baker who lands on Planet 51, thinking he's the first person to step foot on it.

Best Job in the World!
Of course it was a marketing ploy, but is it really a ploy if it works? Or is it just a great strategic plan? Over the past few months, I can’t tell you how many articles (cnn.com) to TV shows (late night anyone?) mention the ads for the best job in the world.

Celebrity WOM or just FREE stuff?
With the economy in the pits right now, it seems like maybe the Oscars were a bit more toned-down. But then again, maybe not. The bling was definitely out there – Amy Adams, Penelope Cruz, Angelina Jolie… What’s more interesting to me is that the gifting suites were still going strong too. This article from cnn.com names just a few items that were given away. Companies pay lots of money to sponsor an event and have their products given to big names in the hopes that these celebs will be spotted using them. The kind of publicity that can bring, as well as the prestige some celebs carry is what these companies are paying for. Whitney Smith wants to know how she gets a job that pays that well and then offers lounges with free $3,500 watches and $10,000 vacations. For now, she’ll just spend her time ogling the gems on www.people.com.

Commonwealth Brands Vouching for Smokers
Well this should not really be surprising. For one thing, it is their brand and product line in jeopardy. And for Commonwealth brands, stressing the rights of smokers is one thing but perhaps it comes out a bit raw considering that they may have left out the matter of healthy living before supporting the cause. In the Bill proposed by Senator Bray, smoking will be prohibited in public buildings and vehicles, bars, restaurants, and within 15 feet of any entrance to a public place or meeting. There are no exemptions envisaged for any business.

3D Digital Systems Provided by Sony and ReaID
Sony Electronics and ReaID have come together to aid exhibitors in providing better visualizations via 3D digital systems that combine a single Sony 4K projector and its new 3D dual lens adapter with RealD technology, including a specially designed optical filter tuned for the projector, resulting in the ability to deliver crisp 3D images to screens up to 55 feet in width.

Incentone Turns to MWW Group for Brand Awareness Assistance
Incentone has kept its ties with the MWW group, one of the nation's top ten public relations firms. IncentOne, whose clients range from small businesses to the Fortune 500, provides systems, guidance and services that help companies use incentives to positively impact bottom-line business objectives.

Spamalot (the other one)
Spamalot is a hilarious stage production of Monty Python and The Holy Grail. What's been going on in my Yahoo mail box lately is not nearly as funny -- or is it? Spam is a nuisance that all of us deal with daily. Most of the time, the Yahoo! spam filter does an admirable job of sorting out the trash and keeping it tucked away for me to review and delete in one fell swoop.

Yahoo Launches New Ad Products
To help provide and aid businesses and potential advertisers properly in hitting their target audience, Yahoo has launched three new targeting products for brand and performance marketers.
“As the economy continues to put pressure on advertising budgets, marketers are looking for increased accountability for every dollar they spend. Yahoo!’s new targeting products significantly improve the ability for search and display advertisers to reach their target audience, providing increased efficiency and accountability,” said Michael Walrath, senior vice president, Advertising Marketplaces Group, Yahoo!.

Hyundai and Audi Reap the Rewards of Advertising
After spending heavily on ads at the Academy Awards, Hyundai and Audi are sure to be happy about the result from their investment. Being among the notable list of advertisers in the spectacle viewed all over the world, Edmunds.com, the premier online resource for automotive information, has noted a significant boost in site traffic for Hyundai and Audi since the automakers’ advertising ran during the broadcast of the Academy Awards. Since the broadcast, Hyundai pages have received 27 percent more visitors compared with the comparable period during the previous week, while Audi pages have received 26 percent more visitors.

Serena Williams Selects Partner in Everyday Athletes Campaign
Tennis sensation Serena Williams in cooperation with Gatorade G2 selected the individual who will appear alongside Williams in the Everyday Athletes Campaign. And the lucky winner was no other than Serene Cuevas of San Diego. Emceed by Access Hollywood host and upcoming Dancing with the Stars competitor, Nancy O'Dell, The G2 Everyday Athlete Search featured five semi-finalists -- all named Serena -- who traveled to the event from around the country to discuss their personal stories of how sports and exercise have helped them overcome a challenge or allowed them to reach and accomplish a significant, personal goal.

Best Job in the World!
Of course it was a marketing ploy, but is it really a ploy if it works? Or is it just a great strategic plan? Over the past few months, I can’t tell you how many articles (cnn.com) to TV shows (late night anyone?) mention the ads for the best job in the world.

Two Martinis Aim to Help Build Better Brands
Two Martinis is a company that has been put up mainly to help out companies deliver meaningful and memorable brand impressions. Founded by Larry Weber, a globally known expert in marketing and the social web, Two Martinis is the newest addition to the W2 Group family of digitally driven marketing services companies that help CMOs in their new role as builders of communities and content aggregators.

Core Branded Sites Launched
To understand the intent and the purpose of most websites would require the average person to browse through the sites. But thanks to this new service offered by ELA, Core Branded Sites is a Web site translation and localization service designed to encapsulate the messages of an entire Web site in a condensed, localized format.

Mobile Phone Users Still Look at Brands
Branding has always been a focal point towards making a purchase and apparently even mobile phones have their share of going through this. According to the results of a poll conducted by GetJar, the world’s leading independent app store, ease of use, brand and embedded content are the top three features that U.S. consumers consider when choosing a new mobile phone.

Twitter Applications
twtapps builds fun and useful twitter applications that are free and easy to use on Twitter, Facebook and other social networking sites. Currently, there are three different applications available: twtcard Send a message on Twitter, Facebook or via email. twtpoll Post a poll on Twitter, Facebook or send a link through email. Once you have created the poll, you can embed the code into your blog or website.

Screen Actors’ New Media Focus
New media and the Internet have been at the center of the Screen Actors Guild’s highly contentious contract negotiations with Hollywood producers. The main sticking points were the amount of pay for programming shown over the Internet and DVD sales. Production has continued under the terms of the previous agreement. SAG opposed offers that it said failed to guarantee guild coverage in productions made for the Internet and failed to make residual payments on made-for-Internet content that is rerun online, among other issues.

Perfect Escapes wins Adrian Award for Online Marketing
How do you measure the efficiency of your online marketing practices? Whatever it is, you would best check out what Perfect Escapes is doing. Perfect Escapes, a leading luxury travel website, has been awarded a Gold-level Adrian Award from the Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI) for success in web marketing.
Perfect Escapes was honored for the performance-based online marketing program it managed on behalf of Loews Las Vegas. HSMAI recognized Perfect Escapes along with other top winners during the 19th-annual awards gala, which took place on Jan. 26, 2009 in New York City

Las Alamandas Resort Offers Stimulus Package for Moms
Moms can get stressed at times, regardless if they are working or the usual home mothers. And while they are not vocal about it, they too need stimulus packages if there is one. Thanks to Las Alamandas Resort, a stimulus package geared for moms has been announced. Las Alamandas Resort today announced relief for Mothers in desperate need of rest and rejuvenation this Mother's Day- Sunday, May 10, 2009. Guests booking a stay of three nights or more over Mother's Day weekend will receive an extra night free!

Video Signages Go High Definition
There is a new kind of advertising service today and it includes the use of HD video signages. express by .advancedMethod prides itself on being a new kind of digital signage system: one that is easy to use, easy to update and easy to access. express includes everything one needs in a system: all the hardware, all the software, industry-related templates, even "live" news feeds. express is designed to dramatically simplify the deployment of digital signage, whether that means to a single sign or a gigantic network.

Smooth Shaving Solutions from Venus
Don’t think that females don’t use shavers. They have their share of needing to get rid of excess body hair. And to answer that call, Venus has launched a new versions of its top-selling razors, including the most advanced five-bladed female shaving system, Venus Embrace(R).
Venus now has something for everyone. In addition to Venus Embrace, Venus is also offering Venus Spa Breeze(R) and Venus Spa Breeze Disposables, the first disposable razor with built-in shave gel bars that create a skin-loving light lather for a smooth shave, without the need for separate shave cream.

Vocelli Launches New Pasta
Vocelli has launched a new line of upscale pasta dishes as part of their eight week promotions. Many of the Vocelli stores will be giving away any one free pasta entree and garlic bread with the purchase of a grande, two-topping pizza at menu price.
These new pasta entrees feature Marinara Traditionale, Pasta Diablo, Chicken Alfredo, Chicken Parmesan, Basil Pesto Pasta and Ravioli Formaggio. Each pasta entree is served with a helping of garlic bread made with Vocelli's artisan ciabatta bread.

Space Bag Organizers Unveiled
Organization in the home is always a problem and one thing that many consumers would need are storage solutions. Apparently there is a great storage solution and it comes in the form of vacuum sealed bags.

NSK Launches Bearings Reconditioning Program
The thing about helping customers is improving the quality of a product. And for NSK Corporation, a leader in the manufacture of bearings, launching their latest program called the Bearings Reconditioning Program is surely something that will relieve their current line of customers.

LongHorn Steakhouse Broadens Menu in Richmond
LongHorn Steakhouse, which was awarded the America’s Favorite Steakhouse in 2008, is bringing its act to Richmond with a tempting array of menu choices that is bound to solicit some eager foodies. They are known for their passion for grilling fresh, tender, juicy steaks including the signature hand-seasoned Flo's Filet and the bone-in Outlaw Ribeye.

60 years of PHIRecess Week
PHI marks a milestone as it is set to celebrate 60 years at the Heli-Expo. PHI is a longtime Sikorsky customer flying S-92(R) and S-76(R) helicopters. PHI has 43 S-76 helicopters and 10 S-92 aircraft in its fleet -- the largest number of Sikorsky helicopters in the company's history. As PHI has grown, it marked numerous milestones with Sikorsky in recent years, including reaching 30,000 fleet hours with its S-92 helicopter fleet on Oct. 9, 2008.

Cartoon Network Plans for 2009 National Recess Week
The celebration of National Recess Week for 2009 takes a feverish pitch with the gathering of sports and fitness celebrities, nearly 7,000 public and private elementary schools, $100,000 in school health and wellness grants and more than 100,000 iconic red rubber balls. The event will be held from March 2 to 6.

The Facebook Furor
So, as I was writing this, I ran it past somebody, and they got all in an uproar over something ridiculous. So, to head off any controversy, let me establish a definition.

Hating Your FTP?
Drop.io manager is a hosted white label solution for companies that need to share files online. They claim their solution is much more flexible and simpler to use than a traditional FTP, and you can customize your settings to add your company's branding to the interface. Features include private sharing of files, with the ability to restrict access by assigning privileges. The users can also upload and access the files in a variety of ways.

Reviving the Jingle
Years ago, commercials would help us remember their products with a catchy jingle that stuck in our heads. Even now, decades later, many of us can still recall the jingles for commercials we saw when we were younger.

Cacique Debuts New Lightweight Push Up Demi Bra
Cacique announced that they will be launching a new lightweight push up Demi Bra that is bound to be checked out by the women today. The molded cleavage-enhancing cup is constructed from smooth satin with a low center front. This sexy shape is ideal for plunging v-neck tops and provides a smooth silhouette under fitted t-shirts, sweaters and dresses.

It's a Crazy World
I'm getting turned on to a lot of articles lately. This one isn't about a single brand, per se, but about the "brand" of several politicians, nations, people, systems, etc.

Nonprofits & Advertising
The Friendship Circle recently sent out an email with advertisements placed in the appeal. This is something I have yet to see a nonprofit do before, and I wonder if it is effective at bringing in additional revenue or effective at destroying credibility. To advertise with The Friendship Circle, you must meet certain criteria, but this new initiative could create doubt in some donor's minds. What do you think? Are advertisements on a nonprofit's emails and/or websites effective or does it destroy consumer confidence?

Specialty Drinks Whipped up by Ciroc Ultra Premium Vodka and Godiva
Ciroc Ultra Premium Vodka and Godiva Liqueur will be creating special cocktails for the Academy Awards Viewing Party at the Pacific Design Center, Sunday, February 22. This caps a year-long, multi-event partnership between Diageo and Elton John AIDS Foundation. The evening features a gala black-tie dinner, cocktails and Academy Awards screening for a host of Hollywood luminaries, and is known as one of the hottest events in Hollywood on Oscar Night.
Ciroc Ultra Premium Vodka has created specialty drinks "Ciroc Chic," and "Simply Scrumptious" to be served at the custom designed Ciroc Ice Bar. The "Ciroc Chic" blends Ciroc Ultra Premium Vodka, Pomegranate and Pineapple juices and is served in a chilled Martini Glass garnished with a lemon twist.

CNN Rejects Obama Ad
In what they saw more of as an advocacy message rather than a positive ad focusing on the historic inauguration of new U.S. President Barack Obama, CNN rejected the ad submitted for the State of the Union Address on Feb. 24. CNN claims the ad "suggests a position in favor of the advocacy message, without having permission of the persons involved."

Evian Sponsors South Beach Wine and Food Festival
Evian(R) Natural Spring Water brings the French Alps to South Beach by hosting an educational and luxurious space at this year's South Beach Wine & Food Festival. Using both traditional and non traditional tactics, Evian will educate consumers and industry influencers about the brand, showing why it is the premier choice for fine dining and, ultimately, differentiating Evian from any other water.
To demonstrate how our palate-cleansing water choices can actually make or break a fine dining experience, Master Sommelier Nathan Cloutier from Miami's La Goulue and Gino Santangelo from The Forge Miami will host Water Tasting Seminars at the Evian Tent in the Grand Tasting Village throughout the weekend.

Northern Star Issues Product Recall on Simply Potatoes
After discovering that a package of Simply Potatoes Southwest Style Hash Browns contained Listeria monocytogenes bacteria, Northern Star Co. issued a voluntary recall on certain products just to be on the safe side.

Arrowhead Mills Organic Stone Ground Whole Wheat Flour Recalled
Giant Food LLC was forced to remove from sale 2 pound units of Arrowhead Mills Organic Stone Ground Whole Wheat Flour, LOT CODE: 06OCT09, UPC 7433347242. Arrowhead has issued a recall of this product because it may contain a trace amount of an undeclared dairy product, an allergen not listed on the ingredient label.

Top 21 Twitter Apps
Compete has published a list of the top 21 Twitter apps based on usage. For those active users of twitter, these tools provide a variety of ways to interact with the system. It's also a sign of how popular twitter is with the fact that tools for using it are growing around it. It also shows the evolution of usage from simply 140 characters to sharing images and cross network interaction. Check out the list over at Techcrunch. Are you using any tools that didn't make the list?

Nelly to Host Nelly’s Night in Vegas
It looks like musician Nelly will be hosting his own primetime party on television as 24/7 productions reportedly forged a deal with the music sensation. Executive produced by 25/7's Dave Broome ("The Biggest Loser"), Emmy Award winner Madeleine Smithberg ("The Daily Show with Jon Stewart") and Nelly, each week NELLY'S NIGHT IN VEGAS will bring Hollywood's biggest stars to the mecca of pop culture for a show unlike any other on television.
NELLY'S NIGHT IN VEGAS will be an ongoing wild, high stakes party where you can bet on anything and probably everything happening.

EA and Spicy Horse to Bring Back American McGee’s Alice Game
Electronic Arts Inc. and Spicy Horse have reportedly signed a publishing deal for an all-new title based on EA’s 2000 classic, American McGee’s Alice. This will reunite EA with American McGee, the creative visionary behind the original game. The new title is in development for the PC, PLAYSTATION®3 computer entertainment system and Xbox 360® video game console.
“EA Partners is thrilled to team up with American McGee and Spicy Horse on the next installment of the Alice franchise,” said David DeMartini, senior vice president and general manager of EA Partners.

Celebrity Loop and Vimation to Launch Interactive Media Channel
Celebrity Loop and Vimation will be launching an interactive video and rich media player for premium online content. The Celebrity Interactive Media Channel solves challenges facing celebrities and premium content online today. It allows the celebrity to maintain control of their content online, creates an engaging interactive video experience for the fans and allows brands to sponsor the content.
Alyssa Milano, Mel B, of the Spice Girls, and Justin Berfield’s, actor/producer best known for the show “Malcom in the Middle”, new book, “Generation Fear,” published by Harper Collins, are the initial celebrities using the Celebrity Interactive Media Channel player, with a number of others preparing to start participating.

PepsiCo Foundation Gives $5 Million Grant
In an effort to address the growing issue of malnutrition, the PepsiCo foundation has announced a $5 million dollar grant for the Save the Children to help ensure the survival and well-being of children living in rural India and Bangladesh, which together are home to 40 percent of the world's malnourished children.

Barney Butter Almond Butter Now Available on Store Shelves
Barney Butter is an all natural, no-stir, no-refrigeration almond butter that has recently employed a viral marketing campaign, to expand its distribution line. Demand prompted a move to a much larger facility that is peanut free. Barney Butter features all natural almond butters in Smooth and Crunchy 16 oz. jars, gallon buckets for food service and convenient, on-the-go 90-Calorie Packets.

PepsiCo to Distribute Rockstar Energy Drinks
PepsiCo has added another line of beverage to its fold when it signed a multi-year agreement with Rockstar Energy Drinks for perhaps gain a share of the energy drink category. The deal is expected to dramatically increase the Pepsi system's share of the fast-growing, highly profitable energy drink market.

Facebook takes it back
In light of the recent controversy, facebook has decided to go back to the previous terms of use. A couple of weeks ago, we revised our terms of use hoping to clarify some parts for our users. Over the past couple of days, we received a lot of questions and comments about the changes and what they mean for people and their information. Based on this feedback, we have decided to return to our previous terms of use while we resolve the issues that people have raised.

Sprout is No Longer Free
Sprout, the WYSIWYG flash application and widget building tool, will no longer be offering free accounts. The service will become pay-only starting early February 2009. Sprout is offering current customers a monthly subscription of $13.95 through 2009. In 2010, all accounts will start at $59.95 per month. The company will continue to offer free accounts to non-profits and academic institutions. Does anyone know of another free widget service?

DJ Ravi Drums at the 2009 Academy Awards
DJ Ravi Drums, the music director of “Howie Do It” will reportedly be taking his act at the 2009 Academy Awards slated on Sunday at the Kodak Theater in Hollywood.
Drums, who holds the distinction of being the first and only Indian American music director of a network TV show, will perform in the musical segment of the show, which will feature Best Original Song Nominees "Down to Earth" (Wall-E), "Jai Ho" (Slumdog Millionaire), and "O Saya" (Slumdog Millionaire). An elated Drums stated, "This is an incredible pop culture moment to be an Indian American. To be performing on the Oscars when a top contender has an Indian storyline makes me very proud."

Randy Jackson is No. 1 Among American Idol Fans
For sure a lot of you have watched American Idol at one instance. And one thing you would notice would be the three judges, Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson. Each carries a different personality and employs a different approach. And finding that Rancy Jackson as the favorite among fans, is not really surprising. A new study conducted among 1,522 American Idol viewers revealed that Randy Jackson ranked number one among the judges based on the judges' critiques on last night's show.

Globetrotters to Play for the Last Time at Philadelphia’s Wachovia Spectrum
To the Harlem Globetrotters, this will mark their first appearance at the Wachovia Spectrum in Philadelphia. However, it looks like it may also be their last since the said stadium as the 42-year-old building is scheduled to be razed later this year.
The game will mark the team’s final appearance at the famous Spectrum — either inside it or on top of it — as the 42-year-old building is scheduled to be razed later this year. The team will return to the Philadelphia area later that week for games on Saturday, March 7 (at Temple University’s Liacouras Center at 1:00 p.m. and Sovereign Bank Arena in Trenton, N.J. at 7:30 p.m.) and Sunday, March 8 at Philadelphia’s Wachovia Center (12:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.).

The Secret Lives of Muppets
Saw an interesting article recently about where certain muppets came from. Many of them had minor (or even major roles) on other shows.

$500 Gas Cards from Captain D
For motorists, paying lesser for the fuel needs of your vehicle will be a big help. And today, while there are a lot of alternatives to gas guzzling cars like electric cars, the economy is just not cooperating. People are just focusing their money on something more important like basic life necessities.

Get the Best Steaks at Best Prices from Outback
Enjoying a well deserved meal can still be experienced at Outback and with their new menu and prices, you would be wise to check it out. Beginning February 18, 15 meals will be priced under $15 starting at just $9.95.

Made With Organic Ingredients
Organic buying today has been abused and unless you know how to distinguish the authentic organic products from the marketing catch-phrase, chances are you are being gypped out of your money. Today however, there is a new way to really land products made with organic ingredients.

Twitter going black
Twitter is one of the fastest growing social networks around. Most users have colorful personal avatars and use the service as a means to connect with others. This week, though, Twitter users are using the service as a way to get their voices heard. The law in question is Section 92a, an amendment to the country's copyright law that is due to come into force at the end of February.

Tips For Rented Email Lists
Rented third-party email lists can be tricky and a waste of time to use. Be cautious when selecting a vendor and know the basic rules of engagement before entering into a contract. Thanks to Jeanne Jennings for these rented email list tips: » Buyer beware and skeptical » Test a small portion of the list before you commit to renting the entire list

Much ado about nothing?
Yesterday, it was revealed that Facebook had redefined it's Terms Of Service. In it, they said that they would hold the copyright to anything ever posted on facebook, and that even with an account deletion, your information and content would not necessarily be deleted. You hereby grant Facebook an irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, fully paid, worldwide license

Want a Free Starbucks Coffee?
Interested in a free Starbucks Tall brewed coffee while also doing something good for your community? Visit Starbucks Pledge 5 and commit five hours of volunteer service - that's all you have to do! There are also several great strategies built into this microsite to help continue the conversation and interaction between the brand and the consumer: Pledged Hours Counter

Bayer Campaign Means?
Bayer was ordered to run corrective advertising for one of its brands. The FDA and 27 state attorneys general ordered Bayer to produce a six-month, $20 million corrective-advertising campaign for Yaz, the German pharma company's birth-control pill. It began in late January and is scheduled to end July 26.
The FDA ruled that Bayer's marketing and advertising for Yaz was deceptive and made false claims regarding its efficacy for acne and premenstrual syndrome. In a statement, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, who crafted the terms of the agreement with two other attorneys general and the FDA, said, "This settlement reflects the continual monitoring my office performs to ensure the pharmaceutical industry is not using deceptive marketing and advertising practices."

Can Intec Drive Market Growth?
During these times of recession, you can expect the so-called experts to be on the hot seat. For one, their actual efficiency on business analytics will be put to the test and Intec is certainly one global company that is caught in this mix, being looked up by the mobile industry to improve the market saturation today.
"Given current economic uncertainties around the globe, operators are looking for high-performing solutions that will deliver rapid ROI and enhanced customer satisfaction," commented Andrew Taylor, CEO of Intec.

Mobile Internet Will Get Bigger
Recession may be upon us but that doesn’t seem like it will affect the mobile internet industry as survey in the European and U.S. market. In fact, a dramatic growth is seen to occur, as the consumers intend to dramatically increase use of mobile data services over the next two years -- with a significant ramp-up in the next 12 months. The Tellabs-commissioned survey shows that up to 71% of consumers anticipate daily use of services such as mobile Internet. Yet mobile users continue to raise concerns about cost, speed and quality of service.

The World’s Worst Commute Contest
Brand positioning is what this new contest launched by Quaker State is all about. Titled “The Worst Commute”, motorists log onto www.QuakerState.com and submit at 30- to 60-second video highlighting why they think they have the "world's worst commute", whether it be a route riddled with car-sized potholes or a trip that takes them through continuous construction. Videos will be subjected first to peer voting; then, the most popular videos will be viewed by a panel of judges from Quaker State management and the Hendrick Motorsports staff, including Johnson himself.

Chris Brown Speaks Up
Though it seems that it may have come a bit too late, Chris Brown spoke on the recent issue on him and Rihanna. By now, the much celebrated domestic violence has become an exploded issue and just like most people caught in between, Brown is entitled to his own side of explaining his actions

GSMA Launches Advertising Drive
Market research and study are critical aspects in making a great marketing plan and apparently today, the heads of the mobile industry have joined heads to come up with a better way to saturate and connect to their target market.

Rihanna-Brown Incident Could Have Been Avoided
The severity of the domestic issue between Rihanna and Chris Brown could have been prevented if there was some timely intervention made. While that may seem like crying over spilt milk, the damage has been made and all critics can do right now is learn from it and create some preventive measures to avoid having a similar incident occurring in the future.

Disney and Lego Tie Up
The Lego Group and Disney Consumer Products have come to terms on a multi-year licensing agreement that allows the former to access to an extensive portfolio of renowned Disney and Disney Pixar properties. LEGO(R) and LEGO DUPLO(R) products are currently in development for three franchises -- Disney Pixar's Toy Story and Cars, and Prince of Persia -- all scheduled to launch in 2010.

Harumika Fashion Designers Wanted
Japan is on the prowl for fashion designers to achieve “Runway Ready” status with Harumika, the new dress-form fashion doll from Bandai America Inc. Already a huge phenomenon in Japan, Harumika lets girls “style their imagination” and easily design attire with colorful fabrics and fashion accessories – all with no sewing required. To create “Ready to Wear” looks, all girls have to do is chose a swatch of the exclusive Harumika fabric, style it by wrapping the fabric around the dress form, then secure the look using the stylus design tool with the patent-pending Style Lock System on the back of the dress form. The exclusive signature Harumika fabrics can be used to design a “look of the day” everyday!

New Fashion Toy Shailie for Girls
Much of the news and attention these days are coming from the New York Toy Fair and Style Paige, LLC will be launching Shailie, a fashion design toy primarily for girls ages 5-12, at the Toy Industry Association’s Toy Fair 2009, February 15-18, 2009 in New York City. “Typical dress-ups give a girl no choice other than which dress to wear. Shailie™ goes beyond traditional dress-ups and is surprising to others in the toy industry because there’s really nothing like it,” said Kari Kawa, founder of Style Paige.

Power Rangers Speed into New York Toy Fair
Power Rangers is a familiar name in the world of toys and animation and Bandai America, Inc. is making use of this to introduce a new vehicle theme. Inspired by the television series’ vehicle adventures in ”Power Rangers RPM,” the brand’s Fall 2009 lineup features products with increased play value – from the Auxiliary Trax System to limited edition chase figures and retro Megazords – all certain to drive excitement among fans and collectors of all ages.
Power Rangers RPM is set to premiere on March 7, 2009 on ABC Kids.

SuperValu Recalls Fruit and Nut Trail Mix
Another company made a voluntary recall in the midst of this salmonella crisis and that is SuperValu Inc. SuperValu has voluntarily recalled trail mix and fruit and nut trail mix products sold under the ACME, Albertsons, Jewel, and Shaw’s brands because they may contain peanut products that have the potential to be contaminated with salmonella. The precautionary move follows a nationwide recall issued by Peanut Corporation of America (PCA) of all products produced in its Plainview, Texas processing facility.

Diet Pepsi Max - A Tough Guy's Drink
We have probably all seen (and been annoyed by) the Diet Pepsi Max commercials featuring the "What is love?" song with people nodding their heads a la the Saturday Night Live sketch for the "Night at the Roxbury" guys.

The Power of Color
Companies spend billions of dollars each year on branding. It is this massive spending that has made such brands instantly recognizable, such as the Nike Swoosh, the Golden Arches, the Target symbol that looks like, well, a target.

Independent Bank Temporarily Stops Foreclosures
Independent Bank has given Michigan home owners a break by temporarily stopping home foreclosures while they await the federal government’s proposed plans for assisting homeowners. The Obama administration is currently working on efforts to allocate $50 billion towards foreclosure prevention and establish national standards for modifying home loans.

GoodYear Plays Host to High School Interns
Developing the youth and pointing them towards the right direction seems to be the apparent intent of GoodYear tires when it unveiled a program to provide high school students with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience the many career paths offered through the sport of NASCAR.

MEGA Brands Extends Partnership with Nickelodeon and Viacom
MEGA Brands has announced that they have expanded its ties for preschool product lines and play patterns which will be unveiled at the New York Toy Fair.

Orange and HP Joins Hands for Better Internet Coverage
Orange and Hewlett Packard joined forces today, promising to deliver better Internet broadband coverage via mobile devices. The deal means Orange and HP will co-distribute and market a range of consumer notebooks and HP Minis with mobile and/or fixed broadband access. The three-year pan-European agreement will underpin the delivery of connected offers in the UK, Belgium, Switzerland, Austria and Portugal, to be followed by a rollout across the Orange footprint.

Shazam Peaks in Just Six Months
Shazam, to this day, is an unfamiliar brand name, but by carving 15 million users under its wing, this leading mobile music discovery provider will really make some noise soon. Can you imagine getting that many users in just six months? That alone is an achievement!
Following its introduction seven years ago, Shazam’s success has been driven through its partnerships with many of the world’s leading carriers and handset manufacturers. In demonstration of this: Shazam, already deployed by 75 carriers across 60 countries, was recently voted as the Best App Ever for 20081 on the iPhone (downloadable from the Apple App Store), and was also one of the most popular applications on the day that the Android Market launched.

Disney XD Builds Brand with Mobile Games
Disney Interactive Media introduced Disney XD, the online and mobile Web destination for the new Disney entertainment brand designed to appeal to kids and tween boys. An abundance of action-based games, full-length video and customizable community features populate the site focused heavily on themes of adventure, accomplishment, gaming, music and sports. The dynamic gaming content on DisneyXD.com is the latest addition to Disney Online’s growing portfolio of casual game offerings, which include a unique mixture of original content and licensed games, designed for kids, tweens and their parents.

National Lampoons Releases Four Comedy CD Titles
For the many fans who have followed the National Lampoon comedy flicks, here is your chance to get the National Lampoon Live series. National Lampoon Records, a division of National Lampoon, Inc. (Pink Sheets:NLMP), the most widely recognized brand in comedy, today announced the release of four new Comedy CDs to be distributed digitally and at retailers worldwide. All part of the “National Lampoon Live” series, the four new titles: Un-Leashed, Un-Censored, Un-Scripted, and Un-Filtered, are hosted by Frank Caliendo (Mad TV), Rich Vos (Last Comic Standing) and Dat Phan (Family Guy).

Smiley Central Studios for Kids
For kids slowly being exposed to the Internet, here is a great site they can check out. Toy innovator Techno Source, and Mindspark Interactive Network, Inc., a wholly owned company of Internet powerhouse IAC, have partnered to create a new creativity Web site and line of affordable Internet-connected toys under the new Smiley Central Studio™ brand that will allow kids to express themselves with smileys. The toys will unlock special content at SmileyCentralStudio.com, a free online art studio that allows kids to create, personalize and share their expressions in unprecedented ways.

Send Sock Puppet eCards for Valentines Day
Would you believe in giving a sock this Valentines Day? Well technically this is no ordinary sock. Rather it is a sock that has been made over and comes in e-cards, being an alternative way of spreading the love this heart’s day.

The Company Social
Has this happened to you? You’re in a meeting, minding your own business, when a client or someone from your agency says that they want you to start a company blog, establish a corporate presence on MySpace and oh yea, do some of that Twittering too. Then they look at you.

10 Years of Lego STAR WARS
Lego, which started licensing STAR WARSTM characters in 1999, celebrates 10 years of global toy success in 2009. The company's first licensed line of building toys combines one of the most beloved and timeless movie franchises with one of the world's most renowned play patterns to engage children and adult collectors alike.

Join the Celebration of World Rare Disease Day
We have seen a lot of world celebrations here and there and this one has to be something new if you haven’t come across it. It is called Rare Disease Day assigned on the last day of February to call attention to the public health issues associated with rare diseases, which affect nearly 30 million Americans and countless others around the world.

Dora the Explorer and True Jackson Cited by NAACP Image Award
Dora the Explorer of the Nickelodeon channel lineup and Keke Palmer, star of the network's hit tween comedy series, True Jackson were honored by the NAACP at the 40th NAACP Image Awards during the 40th Annual Awards ceremony in Los Angeles on Feb. 12. Dora the Explorer took home the award for Outstanding Children's Program and Keke Palmer won for Outstanding Performance in a Youth/Children's Program Series or Special.

Giant Food Issues Voluntary Recall
Will the salmonella scare ever come to an end? Apparently for now it looks blurry and in light of this issue, another food manufacture has issued a voluntary recall on two Nature's Promise peanut products because each product contains peanuts supplied by Peanut Corporation of America (PCA) and has the potential to be contaminated with salmonella bacteria.

Pioneer Shares Rise After TV Development Stoppage
The trend is quite weird but the sudden rise in share prices for Pioneer Corp., seems to be contradictive. Days after declaring that they would stop manufacturing flat panel TVs, Pioneer Corp shares rose to the highest in eight sessions in Tokyo trading after the Nikkei newspaper reported that the company will stop development of televisions.
Tokyo-based Pioneer, which posted net losses in each of its past four business years, said on the same day as the report was published it plans to make an announcement about restructuring its business on Feb. 12, when it’s scheduled to announce earnings.

Jordan Brand Makes $100,000 Donation
Jordan Brand, a division of Nike, made a $100,000 donation to the Make-A-Wish foundation. But that was not all. A sidelight was also granting the wish of a couple of teenagers to watch the upcoming NBA All-Star game in Phoenix. Jordan Brand teamed up with the Make-A-Wish Foundation to grant two deserving teenagers their fondest wishes; the chance to attend the All-Star game and its weekend of festivities as well as meet Michael Jordan and All-Star Team Jordan athlete Chris Paul.

Feel the American Idol Experience at Walt Disney World Resort
There is a new attraction in Disney World and it is something quite familiar to all. American Idol is show that most people follow on television and now you can get something better when you drop by the Walt Disney World Resort. “The American Idol Experience” will capture the energy and excitement of the TV series and global phenomenon, with guests at Disney’s Hollywood Studios auditioning to take the spotlight onstage, while fellow guests cheer them on from the audience and vote for their favorite singer.

Win $100 Million Dollars with a Perfect Bracket
If you happen to be a sucker for online fantasy manager games today, you may be rewarded lucratively if you use your lucky stars and manage online properly. You can win as much as $100 Million if you pick a “perfect bracket” during the annual men’s college hoops tournament in March. To enter the free contest, basketball fans can visit any website that has the official Game of the Century logo. To play, simply fill out the bracket of the 64 teams competing in the 2009 Men’s Division I college basketball championship.

BioWare Releases Six Dragon Age Origin Stories
For the hardcore gamers in the crowd, BioWare, a division of Electronic Arts has announced the highly anticipated details of all six Origin Stories featured in the upcoming dark, heroic fantasy Dragon Age™: Origins. Each Origin Story starts the player off with a unique series of locations, characters and events that establish their motivations and lay the groundwork for the adventure to come. With each Origin Story boasting several hours of unique game play, as well as challenging strategic combat and exploration, these 6 distinct preludes make Dragon Age: Origins the first BioWare game to offer not only multiple endings, but also multiple beginnings.

Toyota North America Maps Out More Cost Cuts
As if their initial round of job layoffs and cost cutting measures were not enough, Japan car manufacturer Toyota has even pushed itself more as far as its North America channel is concerned. The new actions are consistent with the company's philosophy of making every effort to protect jobs during the sales downturn.
"We've taken responsible, step-by-step actions to address this issue in recent months, and we hope the new measures will help us adjust while protecting jobs," said Jim Wiseman, vice president of external affairs for Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America (TEMA).

Mavic R-Sys Front Wheels Recalled
A bicycle may seem harmless if you know how to ride it but apparently, it all depends on the durability and safety of the parts placed when it was assembled. And apparently, there was a certain safety issue leading to the reason why the Mavic R-Sys front wheel was recalled for safety checks.

Twitter While You Work
I was talking to a fellow creative director the other day and we were laughing at the lack of communications that usually exists in advertising agencies.

Mercedes Benz Gets New Designer
Yigal Azrouel has been selected as this season’s designer for the “Mercedes Benz Presents” program, a contribution by Mercedes Benz USA for the fashion community. Each Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, a designer who demonstrates unparalleled talent, pace-setting style and the highest quality craftsmanship is chosen to be the "Mercedes-Benz Presents Designer."

Look Closer, Nissan Delivers
As an added program for their brand evolution, Nissan adds the “Look Closer, Nissan Deliver” to its “Nissan Delivers” campaign. The new integrated marketing initiative encourages consumers to "take a closer look" at Nissan's high-value, high quality cars and trucks, as well as the range of available lease, finance and incentive offers.

Subaru Shares the Love with Charities
Subaru was on hand at the Chicago Auto Show and to kick off their presence, it was not just the snazzy cars on hand. They also presented the $5 million raised during the "Share the Love" campaign to the participating charities.

10 Harsh Truths About Corporate Websites
For those of you who work on your corporate web site or service corporate clients, this piece from Paul Boag of Smashing Magazine is a must read. As someone who directs the team inside of an organization that is responsible for the website this is hitting home. I'll be using this information in future presentations to my team and to leadership. It seems like common sense but it's good information to review and share. Compliments of Neal and Eric.

Online Vitriol-Censors and Philistines
Blogs as we know them, or as some of us would like to know them – a place for open, serious, long-form debate and discussion – are dead, their promise and possibility undone by ignorance and indifference, by the numbing drone of single-minded partisan noise, by the sacrifice of truth on the altar of agitprop, by disdain for the complex in the era of the expedient. Blogs have fallen victim to, and in many ways fueled, our foul and festering and decidedly uncivil discourse. They have been infected by the very ills – illogic, hypocrisy, sound-bite snark and spin – they might have cured.

Bolt Browser, built for speed
There's a new option in mobile browsing. Bolt, a new browser built for mobile applications is new on the scene. It's currently in beta, but I received a very quick response when requesting a copy. According to the developers, BOLT is a free downloadable browser that offers an uncompromised browsing experience on even lower-end mobile phones.

New Google Blog
Google's at it again. As of yesterday, the pod napping geniuses launched their 80th blog. Why would Google need another blog? In their own words: We are launching this blog for anyone interested or involved in helping to make the web more social. Whether you own a site and want to add social features to increase community engagement, or you're developing a great social application, this blog is for you.

HobbyThing.com
Have a hobby? Want to connect with others that share the same hobby? Try hobbything.com. This new social networking site is designed for people to share their hobbies with other people. Designed to bring people together, hobbything is new on the scene, but shows lots of promise. We are the Social Hobby Network for people who would like to share their hobbies, interests and lifestyle with other hobby enthusiasts! Whether you're an amateur hobbyist, collector or craftsman this website is for you.

Know Thine Audience
The most effective public relations comes from knowing the audience you are trying to influence and tailoring your communications piece to that audience. I once had a Chineese restaurant owner client who was trying to increase her weekday takeout business. We discovered that weekday takeout was mostly a working female head of household business, and we developed flyers for local teachers' and nurses' lounges promising an easy, healthier alternative to burgers and fries. Within a month, the takeout business was up 30%.

Delivr
This is a mobile world. No doubt about that, but so often regular links and shared items aren't quite mobile accessible. Delivr is trying to change that. It takes almost any content that you would want to share, and makes it into a mobile accessible link. It comes with an online dashboard, which also keeps track of everything you've shared so far.

Google tasks go Mobile
If you use Gmail, and have Labs enabled, you've no doubt stumbled upon the tasks feature. It's a neat little to-do that runs alongside your inbox or on your igoogle page. If you're logged into gmail, clicking here will take you to the labs setting page, and you can enable it from there. Now, though, you can access your to-do's on the go. Just go to gmail.com/tasks in your mobile browser and log in. If you have a Google Apps account, you can go to mail.google.com/tasks/a/your-domain, replacing your-domain with your actual domain name.

P&G Cuts Ad Spending
The move by P&G to cut back on ad spending has raised a lot of eyebrows especially since their declaration that they would not budge on modifying their marketing strategy for 2009. But like most companies, it is apparent that these declarations are cover ups to avoid causing a panic and tarnishing their brand image. And while they may look sheepish, the bottom line is corporate survival.
According to one top-tier cable network executive, P&G has begun “canceling all second-quarter options, across the board,” a development that appears to contradict what A.G. Lafley told investors on Jan. 30, when he said the CPG giant would “absolutely not” cut into its ad spend.

Green Light for Camelina Chickens
Camelina meals for broiler chicken feeds have been approved by the FDA, allowing Great Plains to state that camelina has GRAS ("generally recognized as safe") status. Camelina already is used in feed mixtures for beef cattle and hogs.

Technology As Economic Savior?
It bears mentioning that Friday’s Wall Street stock rally – when all major New York City indices rose more than 2 percent – left the Nasdaq Composite (RIXF) higher for the year. Investor’s have been turning to the tech-heavy Nasdaq composite index’s technology stocks on the belief those companies will help lead the market higher. The Nasdaq rallied 45 points, or 2.9 percent, to 1,591. Innovation is widely seen as a key factor – arguably the key factor – for the U.S. to eventually emerge from its major fiscal crisis.

Social Media Brands Top Ten
For those of you who like to wax philosophical about Brands playing in the social media space and how effective they are, here's a great list from Mashable. The list includes the likes of BlendTec, Zappos, Sun Microsystems and IBM. It features a variety of tactics that the ten brands leveraged with effectiveness. What do you think, more of the same or the beginning of things to come?

Google Maps and the Australian Bush Fires
There are so many horrible reports coming through about what is happening in Australia with the bush fires. Google has released a map that will be updated as the news changes, and it might help those who have loved ones in the area, to know what has happened and where. They have developed an embeddable map, something you can share with others, to help spread the word. Click that link to get the code. I've embedded it here, so you can see what is happening, as google updates the gadget.

Kevin Costner is NASCAR Spokesperson
NASCAR has made it public that their choice for this year’s endorser will be actor Kevin Costner. Celebrated on May 15, NASCAR Day is an opportunity for fans, corporations, schools and organizations across the country to make donations to The NASCAR Foundation to raise funds for its Family of Charities in an effort to help thousands of children live better lives.
Costner will appear in print, radio and television advertising to promote the industry’s charitable initiative. Past celebrity supporters for NASCAR Day include Will Ferrell, Kelly Clarkson, Garth Brooks and several NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers.

Coca Cola Pledges Support for 2009 Special Olympics
Coca Cola has always been there for special causes and endorsements. And this year, it is not surprising to find them heading the pack of backers as far as the 2009 Special Olympics World Winter Games is concerned. The Coca-Cola Company is helping to refresh thousands of athletes, families and fans at the 2009 Special Olympics World Winter Games through a wide variety of programs that celebrate the accomplishments of the more than 2,000 athletes with intellectual disabilities gathering here for the Opening Ceremony tomorrow.

PrimeRevenue is Best Supply Chain Finance Company
PrimeRevenue has added another feather to its cap as it has been name “Best Supply Chain Finance Company by Financie i-Magazine. PrimeRevenue was selected as part of the publication’s 2008 Leaders in Innovation Awards within the Treasury and FX category.

Spanish Translation Leader Receives Award
Trusted Translations Inc. has been rewarded for its dedication on specialized in complex and high-volume English-Spanish translations. Spanish translation leader, has been named as one of the Top 500 Hispanic-American Owned Businesses in the U.S.

2009 Valentine’s Day Splurge vs. Save Gift Guide
Valentines day is days away and while many are planning their dinner for two or perhaps getaway for the day of the hearts, companies such as Scour.com are busy offering the valued gifts that many of lovebirds are planning to give one another.

Rampant Growth in the Social Space
Adam Ostrow at Mashable shares an interesting report from Compete showing that Facebook has surpassed MySpace by 10 million visitors per month. The debate is still out regarding the actual gap between the two social networks but it seems obvious that Facebook is quickly becoming king. The more interesting point to consider may be the growth of Facebook and Twitter, 125% and 812% respectively for the year. In the midst of all the chaos in the economy and world around us, people want to connect. What are your thoughts? Just a numbers game or a permanent shift in how we interact.

Bulgarian Phone Frauds
Charge it to the recession problems but Bulgaria seems to have been hit by crooks via phones. It is sort of like a tactic where you are suddenly being connected to a sex phone and eventually charged for it if you should try to call back the one who previously called you up.
The scheme works as follows: the victim receives a call on his or her mobile from abroad. The crook usually hangs up before the victim manages to pick up. If the person decides to call back, he or she usually finds himself hooked up to a sex phone, or they are made to listen to long phone ads.

Cheeky Ads for Cat Welfare
One thing you have to hand to people who think of these crazy ways of promotions is the fact that they intend to get your attention. And as far as this Spay/Neuter campaign is concerned, you would never think that the whole setup was for the welfare of cats.
Sex sells, and the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Los Angeles has put the word out — literally — on billboards to promote the opening of the Specialty Spay/Neuter Center, owned and operated by the animal welfare organization.

Silver Starr Art Studios Expands Music Division
After successfully signing up a couple of recording artists, Silver Starr Art Studios has announced the launching of SSAS artists’ new music and performance debuts both in the U.S. and abroad.

25 Random Things About Me
On the heels of my post about over sharing, comes the news that a new phenomenon has swept through cyberspace. This new meme, as it's called, is 25 Random Things about the user. It's designed as a sort of ice-breaker. Here are 25 things you probably didn't know about me, but that we might have in common, and if we don't, hey look at me! People have been filling it out with everything from the first time they've tried a food, to the size of their shoes, to how many times they've had sex.

Julia Ormond Stars in Wronged Man
Julia Ormond who had stints with “Legends of the Fall” and “Sabrina” appears in another movie in Lifetime Movie Network’s “The Wronged Man” in November 2009. Mahershalalhashbaz Ali (The 4400), Ormond's The Curious Case of Benjamin Button co-star, also joins the cast as an African-American husband and father convicted of raping a young girl.
The film is based on the true story of an unlikely friendship between paralegal Janet Gregory (Ormond) and Calvin Willis (Ali) as they fight to overturn his sentence and restore faith in the justice system. The Wronged Man, from executive producer Gale Anne Hurd's (The Incredible Hulk) Valhalla Motion Pictures and Sony Pictures Television, will begin production this month.

Simply Enjoy Sweet and Salty Mixed Nuts Recalled
The salmonella issue continues as another company has issued a recall on its products, Simply Enjoy Sweet and Salty Mixed Nuts by Stop & Shop Supermarket. The item was removed from store shelves because the product contains peanuts supplied by Peanut Corporation of America (PCA) and has the potential to be contaminated with salmonella bacteria.
Customers who have purchased this product should not consume it and may return any unused portions or bring their purchase receipt to any Stop & Shop for a full refund. To date, Stop & Shop has received no reports of illnesses associated with consumption of this product.

Taylor Swifts Racks them in at Staples Center
There is something about Taylor Swift that makes fans buy the tickets and it is not only her singing voice. With her gorgeous looks, it is not really surprising to note why she was able to pack in the Staples Center in Los Angeles on May 22 for an upcoming concert. It took only 2 minutes for the tickets to be sold out!
Taylor will be at the Staples Center this Sunday night, performing live on the 51st Annual Grammy Awards. This will mark the debut television performance of Taylor's song "Fifteen" from her Fearless CD. Miley Cyrus is joining Taylor for a special duet version.

Japan Telecoms to Grow by 2013
Telecommunications continues is growth by 2013 as revealed in this study by Pyramid Research. Apparently revenue growth will be coming from IPTV, VoIP, and mobile data services making up for declines in legacy service offerings.

ONE Bar Made Affordable for All
Organic Food Bar Inc. launches a new product in the Organic Food Bar™-ONE, a bar more delicious than a morning muffin and loaded with beneficial probiotics to boost the immune system and promote good digestive health with ten times the active cultures of yogurt. Organic Food Bar(TM) -- ONE is also the world's first 100% certified organic bar to cost less than one dollar.

Ann Curry to do Octuplet Story
It seems that the woman who gave birth to Octuplets, Nadya Suleman, has been pretty much in the news these days and the right to air and narrate the ordeal is certainly something that most stations are vying for at the moment. But the Octuplet mom has already made her choice and apparently it will be Ann Curry of NBC who will cover her story.

Here, let me Google that for you
Anyone that has spent any amount of time on message boards or in forums has read the acronym JFGI (just f@#&king google it). It's a not so sweet way of telling someone else to look it up. It happens a lot when people ask simple, straightforward things, stuff that can be answered with a few keystrokes and Google. In steps let me google that for you. It's a very simple interface, just enter in the search inquiry and it will give you a link to share. It's a much nicer way of pointing someone towards searching for something themselves.

The Ugly Truth
Every body's doing it, no one seems to think twice about it. In this digital age, people share almost everything online. There are 140 million active Facebook users worldwide, and they are sharing everything with the people on their friend's list. Information from what they had for lunch today, to how they've gotten into trouble in the past. Dan Trottier, a 27 year old Canadian, realized this and is in the process of writing his dissertation about the over sharing we experience online.

From Wireless to Sort of Wireless
The more enamored you are with digital communications and media, the more likely you’ve discontinued telephone landlines at home. For traditional phone companies, landline discontinuations are a fast growing source of bad revenue news. This is why Verizon Wireless this week introduced “The Hub,” a home phone with cell phone characteristics such as text messaging, navigation, and a true graphics screen. Verizon,

Search Engines Strategy Hosted in New York
If you are among the people aching to find out the best SEO practice today then this is the event for you. With a gathering of the SEO greats and unbeatable events for search engine marketing and optimization in one event, SES will be holding this event on March 23-27.
Search Engine Strategies is an important series of worldwide conference and expo events designed to inform attendees about search engine marketing (SEM), search engine optimization (SEO) and online advertising strategies and tactics.

Doodle for Google
What is a Doodle? Well it is Google’s way of saying “design me a logo” contest, opened to all K12 students inspired by the theme “What I Wish for the World”. Doodle designs will be adjudged based on artistic merit, creativity, representation of the theme, and other criteria. The grand prize winner will then be selected by Google and announced at an event hosted in New York City on May 20, 2009. The doodle will be featured on the Google homepage the following day.

New Article Marketing Strategies Revealed
Article marketing has become increasingly popular as far as online marketing and soliciting of back links are concerned. Apparently ArticleProductions will improve on this with the announcement of brand new tools and technologies on the article marketing industry. Article Productions has introduced a suite of tools to help article writers, authors, and article marketers take full advantage of the recent article industry changes and increased popularity that article marketing has recently seen.

Use Your Voice and Join the America Movement
With a new president, it is perhaps time to let your voice be heard. Americaspeakson.org has launched a campaign to encourage all Americans to connect by launching an online forum where people can contribute valuable insights on important issues surrounding America today.

Cigarillos Take Over From Cigarettes
Cigarettes are being contained with the laws on where to smoke as well as the shutdown of public advertisement. Soon we are about to see cigarettes carrying additional taxes as well, making them expensive and something to think twice about before lighting. But it looks like there is another smoking alternative on the rice and it is called “Cigarillos”.

The Sims 3 New Release Date
For the people who loved the SIMS, EA Sports has announced the new release date of the popular game which will be available in most platforms PC, Mac, iPhone, iPod Touch and mobile devices summer 2009. The Sims 3 PC will ship to store shelves worldwide starting June 2, 2009.

The Sims 3 New Release Date
For the people who loved the SIMS, EA Sports has announced the new release date of the popular game which will be available in most platforms PC, Mac, iPhone, iPod Touch and mobile devices summer 2009. The Sims 3 PC will ship to store shelves worldwide starting June 2, 2009.

Search Engines Strategy Hosted in New York
If you are among the people aching to find out the best SEO practice today then this is the event for you. With a gathering of the SEO greats and unbeatable events for search engine marketing and optimization in one event, SES will be holding this event on March 23-27.
Search Engine Strategies is an important series of worldwide conference and expo events designed to inform attendees about search engine marketing (SEM), search engine optimization (SEO) and online advertising strategies and tactics.

Tax on Soda Will Claim Jobs
Taxes are needed to saturate government spending but there is a thing as overdoing it. When you tax tobacco and alcohol, it is understandable and acceptable. But why on earth would you include softdrinks and soda? Apparently if this “Soda Tax” does take into effect, a lot of jobs stand to be lost. And once that happens, would it not be similar to creating a bigger problem that where we all started with?

Valentines Day at the Stanford Court
Spend Valentines Day in style by relaxing with your loved one at a post hotel like Stanford Court. Now before you go ballistic in checking out you budget on hearts day, hold on. The Stanford Court is offering a Valentine's Day experience perfect for a couple looking to relax and reconnect this President's Day weekend.

Premium Peanut Caramel Crunch Ice Cream Recalled
The peanut butter scare continues as another company was forced to make a recall on its products following an expanded recall involving peanut ingredients distributed by the Peanut Corporation of America. Broughton Foods in Marietta, Ohio is voluntarily recalling 56 ounce scrounds of Broughton Premium Peanut Caramel Crunch ice cream printed with a date of January 1, 2008 or later (printed as MM/DD/YY) and a Universal Product Code (UPC) of 7088002346.

The List Building System For Hard Times
Giveaway Riches, a new book released by Internet Marketer Jason James may be the key to help people weather the recession storm. At this time and age, people are looking for efficient means of sustaining reasonable lives and with the release of this book, James shares a couple of points on how to make it via Internet Marketing.
"I created this product to help struggling business owners build a large and targeted mailing list in record time to increase profits" James said. "Giveaway Riches will dramatically shorten the learning curve on Internet list building and help business owners build a large and responsive mailing list quickly"

.Tel: The New Domain Name Extension
Depending on what type of domain name you are looking for, chances are you will have a hard time landing the .com or .net extensions. Most of them have been taken already and while we have seen other domain name extensions used like .org and .biz, they too are running out. Welcome then the next domain name extension to be made available, the .tel. Easyspace, one of the largest web hosting and domain name providers in the UK, has added the highly anticipated .TEL domain extension to its portfolio.

Internet Marketing Videos Made Easy
The best way to educate yourself on Internet marketing has found a new means of trying to figure out the secrets towards success on the web just got easier with the announcement that Internet marketing video tutorials for business home professionals will be made available soon. This is the brainchild of iMarketing Masterminds, bringing together the business marketing experts joined together to create a new membership-only website.

Twitter Passes Digg for the First Time
Social media and Web 2.0 are the newest "big things." They takes many different forms, with blogs, micro-blogs, file-sharing, friend-finding, and much, much more.

Hulu Challenges YouTube Biz
YouTube has made a living on the sharing of their online videos. There have been some people who tried to equal the concept but no one even got close. That was until now though. Hulu which kicked things off via their Hulu SuperBowl Ad.

Red and White at T.G.I. Fridays
Having trouble figuring out where to go this February 14? Well if you want a great deal on where to treat that special someone, check out this sweet deal announced by T.G.I. Fridays, Give Me More Stripes. The spiced up offer, which runs February 10 through February 15, features free Spiced Up Cupcakes (includes two cupcakes with a side of ice cream) with the purchase of two entrees at participating restaurants.

Cellular South Shows Off Big Game
Cellular South, a leader in wireless solutions and innovation, gave people a treat of three new ads based on the testimonies and experience of three valued customer stories that are bound to be noticed. These stories that are an outgrowth of a recently concluded six-week long user generated video contest, encouraged customers to create and submit short videos about how they rely on the company's nationwide network for all of their important voice and data communications.

TwitterBowl 2008
We all know that sometimes the best part of the Superbowl are the commercials. Advertising firms and companies do their best to capture the attention of their viewers, and hope that they score and become one of the most talked about ads. In light of this, Socialtoo has created a survey page, designed to aggregate all the tweets relating to the ads, as they are shown. Twitter Bowl 2009

KidRex.org
Helping to keep kids safe online, one click at a time. In an effort to help keep kids from seeing questionable content online, Kidrex.org is a google powered, kid friendly, search engine. This would be a great alternative for schools that have younger children learning how to use the internet. It will teach them how to find information online, without the constant worry of teachers and parents and what the children might stumble upon.

See Super Bowl Ads on Hulu
For reasons I’m not quite sure of, I’ve never been a rider on the Super Bowl ads bandwagon. But since I seem to be part of a significant minority, be aware that if you missed any national Super Bowl spots, all were being posted Monday at Hulu.com. While media critics tended to see this year’s TV pitches as falling short of super, I’ll admit a few caught even my attention. Though not always for positive reasons: An ad featuring Tiger Woods and other sports stars apparently appearing for Gatorade sent viewers to the Web site MissionG.com, where there's no mention of Gatorade. Go figure.

Need to Find a Toilet?
MizPee.com finds the closest, cleanest toilets nearest to your location. Toilets are reviewed, rated and added by users, so do your part to add a clean toilet to the database - or let everyone know which restroom to avoid! Users can access MizPee.com from a phone as well. There are so many numerous ways I could end this post to ask you participate, but I want to hear from you. Let me hear your best "call-to-action" using some sort of toilet reference. Thanks to Katya's Nonprofit Marketing Blog and her website of the week for the tip.

Due Maternity Fashion Delivers
Expectant mothers can look forward to better fashionable wear as Due Maternity has announced the Maternity Fashion by Due. Offering expectant mothers stylish and elegant designs, Due Maternity sells active, casual and dressy clothing as well as nursing accessories, diaper bags, skin care and even baby clothes and baby gifts.
“We are thrilled to launch our own collection from Designed by Due, which is our signature in-house label,” said Shannon DiPadova, co-founder, Due Maternity.

Honda Unveils New V-Twin Engines
If you think the V-Tec from Honda is something to behold, wait until you read about their latest engine technology, the V-Twin general purpose engine. The new V-Twin, the most powerful engine series ever offered by Honda, brings a new level of value, fuel efficiency, emissions performance, versatility and quiet operation to the marketplace. Featuring six all new models, the new V-Twin engine line offers customers more power, versatility and greater fuel economy in a more compact package.

Make Mine a Million $ Business Race
One of the best alternatives today is to go into business. If you want to survive, looking for a revenue-generating alternative seems to be the way to go and Sams Club is all but willing to help out. Sam’s Club today reiterated its continued commitment to women entrepreneurs and small business by underwriting the first 625 women entrepreneurs in the Make Mine a Million $ Business RACE, in part through a donation from the Wal-Mart Foundation for $580,000.
The Make Mine a Million $ Business RACE is a year-long business growth marathon to inspire thousands of women entrepreneurs across the country to hit their revenue goals and provide them with business coaching and expert advice, innovative online business growth resources, access to new markets, and a supportive community of peers.

Healthy Eating in a Sick Economy
Every blogger or business expert in America has been talking about the recession for several months now. There has been gloom and doom, and there has been optimism about the future. One restaurant in Queens, NY has decided to acknowledge the current economy and take care of those being hit hardest.

Fast and Furious Once More
Vin Diesel and Paul Walker are back in Fast and Furious, the fourth installment of the famed Fast and the Furious movies. Diesel was in the first one while Walker was around until the 2nd one, 2Fast 2Furious. This time, they reunite along with some other notable characters from the original movie.

New Recalls on Peanut-Related Products
If you think the roster of potential products affected by the much celebrated peanut butter scare is over then you are wrong. In fact, the FDA has made another huge announcement of products for recall as they

Jay Blumenfield and Tony Marsh Sign with RelativityReal
The Jay and Tony Show has officially been added to RelativityReal TV after Jay Blumenfield and Tony Marsh were signed to a multi-year overall deal. The Blumenfield and Marsh deal marks the first overall for RelativityREAL, since opening its doors six months ago.

FastTrack2Profits System(TM) Recession System
Desperate times need desperate measures but as far as Wildhorse Performance Marketing is concerned, providing contingency measures in times of recession is a better alternative. They have actually introduced a new program, the FastTrack2Profits System(TM) to help small to medium size businesses increase profits in recessionary times.
"Even in a recession there are opportunities to use novel technologies that will catapult your business to higher sales and profits. Wildhorse Peformance Marketing has pioneered these web 2.0 technologies and has achieved results with its pilot test on a select portfolio of clients.

DrinkACT Shows Off New BODY TRIM
Health living requires health eating and that is precisely what DrinkACT is trying to preach. They have introduced their latest product BODY TRIM, a follow up to their previous all natural low calorie, naturally sweetened drink to the billion dollar plus energy drink, ACT or Advanced Cell Therapy.
BODY TRIM from ACT boosts energy and promotes weight loss as well as healthy cholesterol, blood sugar, cardiovascular system and immune systems with a proprietary blend of natural herbs and juices. It comes in convenient pouches that are easy to take to work or travel with.

Madonna Wins Custody Battle
Madonna won a court order that allowed her to relocate her two sons, Rocco and David Banda to New York. Though it was deemed by many as temporary, it is likely that the setup will become permanent later on. Estranged husband Guy Ritchie was shocked on the ruling and merely resigned from the announcement.
The former couple divorced in November after a summer of rumors. Guy is currently filming "Sherlock Holmes" with Robert Downey Jr., while Madonna recently announced an extension of her top-grossing "Sticky & Sweet" tour to begin, coincidentally, in London on July 4.

Woot! There It Is!
Do you woot? Some people don't know what woot is. I didn't until recently.

Metacafe Cements Niche in Online Video Offering
Move over YouTube, it looks like Metacafe, another reliable site that holds tons of videos is coming into its own. Unlike YouTube, you can instantly download from the site itself the videos of your choice. And thanks to this distinction, Metacafe has cemented its hold by attracting more than 44 million unique monthly viewers worldwide in December, as recently reported by comScore Media Metrix.

Dreamworks Takes Home 13 Awards
Dreamworks, the animation company responsible for bringing realistic and great animation movies like Kung Fu Panda has been awarded 13 Annies at the 36th Annual Annie Awards at the UCLA Royce Hall.

HP Hood Issues Recall
HP is not the Hewlett Packard company that we all know. Rather, HP is another one of those companies manufacturing and distributing peanut butter in the market. They have a number of products that have been recalled, all having peanuts. The move is just a precautionary measure until the Salmonella outbreak has been put under control.

Consider Digital TV Delay A Given
Following what were essentially procedural legislative delays, expect President Obama to sign a bill giving U.S. consumers more time to prepare for the transition from analog to digital television broadcasts as early as this week. White House spokesman Robert Gibbs has told the media that Obama will sign the legislation, which will delay the analog TV cutoff — currently mandated to be Feb. 17 — to June 12. Although House Republicans Wednesday defeated the proposal to delay the analog TV cutoff, the vote happened under a special fast-track procedure that requires two-thirds support to pass.

Digital Trash … Talking, That Is
Oh, the growth -- and growing pains, perhaps -- of digital new media. Trash-talking, a standard of professional football, has gone digital for Super Bowl XLIII. Pittsburgh Steelers and Arizona Cardinals quietly have been going at it all week. That is, they were trash-talking without sound. They did it all with their thumbs -- electronically. "There is a lot of text trash-talking going on right now," Steelers defensive end Brett Keisel told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "Texting is this whole new thing. We are not calling, we are just texting. It's been a lot of fun." The paper said most of the trash talking was between former teammates. In other words, good-natured. Or not.

Slumdog Millionaire Scripter Continues Award Romp
One would think that winning an Oscar for best script is enough to gain attention. However it seems that the people behind the Slumdog Millionaire are far from over as far as awards are concerned. In fact, they just got awarded another one, taking the top honors at the USC Libraries Scripter Award ceremony.
Simon Beaufoy, who accepted the award from Curtis, selection committee chair Naomi Foner, and Glenn Sonnenberg, president of the Friends of the USC Libraries, said, “There’s nothing like this in Britain to honor the writers.

John Legend Speaks at Kaplan University
Recording artist and 5-time Grammy award winner John Legend has been invited to speak in front of the Talent Campaign of Kaplan University. John Legend will celebrate the academic achievements of hundreds of online graduates from the Kaplan University Winter class of 2009, and share his insights about one of the five cornerstones essential to men and women; education. Legend passionately advocates continuing education as a way to help increase one’s individual capacity, that of the nation and society as a whole.

SuperValu Pulls Out Certain Ice Cream Novelties
In a move to avoid being included in the list of potential products contaminated with the Salmonella issue, SuperValu has voluntarily recalled various ice cream flavors with peanut products which may potentially be contaminated with salmonella. While there was no supporting proof that these brands, Cub, Jewel, Flavorite, and Richfood, were positively contaminated with Salmonella, SuperValu did not wait for that to happen to avoid the embarrassment.
The products were sold at some SUPERVALU-owned stores including bigg’s, Cub Foods, Farm Fresh, Hornbacher’s, Jewel-Osco, and Shoppers Food & Pharmacy in all of the states where they operate.

Super Bowl XLIII in DTS Neutral Sound
Here is a big bonus for all people eagerly awaiting the Super Bowl XLIII. As an added bonus to this prestigious event, DTS and the NFL have agreed to combine forces to deliver better quality sound for the HD international broadcast of Super Bowl XLIII from Tampa, Florida. This means that DTS Neural Surround™ technology will enable international TV viewers to experience the game in 5.1 surround sound using any consumer surround sound system.

NFL Tips Hat to US Airways Flight 1549
Among the scheduled events for the upcoming Super Bowl includes that of acknowledging the efforts of the crew of the US Airways Flight 1549. It will be recalled that the said flight made a safe but untoward landing on the Hudson River last month where 150 passengers were saved.

California is Drying Up
Ever since 2007, California has had its share of water problems and the continued draught isn’t helping. In fact, the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) released its latest snow survey results today showing Sierra Nevada snowpack levels at just 61 percent of normal, giving public water agencies a dismal outlook on weather conditions.

Octuplets Spurs Infertility Issues
.By now, most of you have read that story where a woman gave birth to 8 babies at once. Famously known as the “Octuplets” this rare occurrence is indeed something to marvel at but is surely something that many are not aiming to have.

Word of the Year
There's been a lot of talk, especially amongst the Twitter crowd, about what the most used (or perhaps over-used) word(s) of 2008 was. It seems that the conclusion always seems to be "social" or "conversation" or something similar. But I disagree. I think the most over-used word of 2008, particularly of the latter half, is Change. And we all know who to thank for that. And I don't

1967 Ice Bowl Tops Coors Light Poll
In the sports industry, there will always be memorable games. Considering the number of matches played, the selection of which is the best will always be up for scrutiny. But thanks to a poll conducted by Coors Light by the Pro Football Hall of Fame, there was one game that topped all the events as far as Cold-Weather Playoff games are concerned. And the verdict was the game in 1967 between the Green Bay Packers and the Dallas Cowboys to which the former won, 21-17. The game was played on December 31, 1967.

Madonna Sticky and Sweet Tour 2009
Madonna still has it as far as packing them in. After a successful “Sticky and Sweet Tour”, already the #1 Biggest Grossing Tour in history for a solo artist, another series of tours have been scheduled starting July 4 in London. Stops will include appearances in never before played markets such as Werchter Belgium, Marseille France, Hamburg Germany, Oslo Norway, Helsinki Finland, Tallinn Estonia, Ljubljana Slovenia as well as stops in Romania, Hungary, Serbia and Bulgaria it was confirmed today by Live Nation

Maryland IT Rocks! Launched on Facebook
The Tech Council of Maryland has found a new home on Facebook. Named Maryland IT Rocks!, this new web community aims to bring together IT professionals where they can meet and exchange ideas and information about Maryland and the Mid-Atlantic's booming IT community.

Heidi Klum and Diet Coke on The Heart Truth
Diet Coke will be once again at the front of educating women about the risks of heart disease. Heidi Klum will once again be the ambassador of Diet Coke, the second year in a row that she has partnered with the softdrink manufacturing giant.

Watch 2008 Super Bowl Commercials on GridCast TV
So much attention has been focused on the current lineup of commercials for the Super Bowl 2009, last year’s roster is still fresh in everyone’s mind. Thanks to GridCast TV, a service that allows viewers to watch Internet videos on their TVs, viewers can check out the previous Super Bowl videos.

Boom Blox Bash Party Announced
Boom Blox Bash Party is a sequel to the critically acclaimed BOOM BLOX game made possible by the partnership between Steven Spielberg and EA. The destructive fun reaches new heights with richer multiplayer action and more than 400 new levels that will have players of all ages gaming together and solving action-packed puzzles under water, in zero gravity, and beyond!
Developed by the EA Casual Studios, BOOM BLOX Bash Party will be available in North America and Europe in Spring 2009. BOOM BLOX Bash Party has not yet been rated by the ESRB and PEGI

Virgin Mobile Title Sponsors Britney Spears Concert
Virgin Mobile, USA will be the title sponsor for the upcoming concert of pop diva Britney Spears. The concert, titled “Virgin Mobile Presents the Circus Starring Britney Spears”, features special guests The PussyCat Dolls. The circus-themed tour is due to kick off in New Orleans on March 3, 2009 with a planned 31 dates in the United States.
"I'm thrilled to partner with Virgin Mobile on my tour," said Britney Spears. "They will have cool opportunities for my fans and me to connect, and they'll bring a lot of excitement to the tour."

ADB Gets DivX Certification
Advanced Digital Broadcast (ADB) secured DivX certification for ADB-3810TW IPTV set-top box (STB), another step towards the shift of TV experience into a premium multimedia entertainment event. ADB is a global leader in the design and manufacture of advanced STBs and has shipped over 11 million units across cable, satellite, IPTV, and terrestrial markets.
"The DivX Certified ADB-3810TW highlights our momentum within the set-top box market and illustrates our continued commitment to ensuring a seamless experience for high-quality digital video across a broad range of consumer electronic devices," said Patrice Lagrange, Senior Vice President, Products, DivX, Inc.

Alabama Scrutinizes Imported Catfish Origin
No thanks to the continued debate on the safety of Chinese food, Alabama natives are becoming more particular about where their local catfish is coming from. In fact, Alabama restaurants should be required by state law to inform consumers if they are served imported catfish.

Corazon Foods Inc. Prepares for American Heart Month
American Heart Month is in February. And to prepare for it, Corazon Foods Inc. has partnered with WomenHeart in promoting women’s heart health through advocacy, community education and patient support. Corazonas will donate $0.10 – and up to $25,000 – to WomenHeart for each bag of Corazonas Heart-Healthy Potato and Tortilla Chips purchased during the month of February.

Obamas Feast with Amazing Kona Kampachi
What is a Kona Kampachi? It is actually a Hawaiian yellowtail fish sustainably raised by Kona Blue Water Farms that was served to no other than the first family. But along with that comes the moniker that it is emerging as the new “it” fish of sustainable seafood.

Not EveryWhere We Want To Be
By now, we are probably all familiar with the tagline "Visa - It's everywhere you want to be.

PETA Ad Rejected
The PETA ad has just joined the ranks of banned commercials because it was far too suggestive and exceeded the network’s standards. So like any other company, spending millions in production alone is quite disappointing. The only way that their ad would be shown is if certain parts would be edited.
This year PETA introduced a new commercial depicting sexy models using produce in sexual manners to illustrate PETA’s message that vegetarians have better sex. They also released another commercial called “Sexy Sausage” for the same message.

NEC Starts Eye Flavor Face Recognition Digital Signage
A lot of talk was released regarding the evolution of signage advertising and apparently NEC has broken the ice as far as bringing digital signage advertising is concerned. Using NEC’s face recognition technology, eye flavor can distribute targeted advertising content according to the customer’s gender and age range. NEC conducted a trial of the eye flavor’s effectiveness at the Granduo Tachikawa, a commercial facility in Japan. Specifically, NEC’s eye flavor was set up at the front entrance on the first floor of Granduo Tachikawa for 21 days in October 2008.

HDTVs Can Bring Families Together
If you happen to be among the people thinking of a good way to bring family and relatives together, consider investing on HDTVs. At least that is what Samsung gathered. Football fans or not agree that there is no better place to watch games than at home when there is a high definition television in place.
However, the survey also found that football fans are willing to take the show on the road, even to the in-laws, if they had the right incentive.

For Whom the Axe Falls
I read John Paczkowski of “Digital Daily” to be redundant, daily. Today his post “Econalypto: A Rightsizing Roundup” shared some staggering job loss statistics from U.S. corporations” and it just filled me with disgust. Warning his post is not for the faint of heart: http://digitaldaily.allthingsd.com/20090127/econalypto-redux/

TheraWeb Improves Speech Power Online
Here is another expansion of the benefits and fruits of the Internet. Rather than attend speech classes to improve diction and wordings, you can take lessons online. We have seen the evolution of online learning and this time around, it is speech therapy that is being addressed.

KFC Shifts to Eco-friendly Packaging
Kentucky Fried Chicken may be in the hot seat if their continuous development for alternative packaging was not aggressive. Remember that traditional Styrofoam based barrels or buckets for large orders of their famous recipe for fried chicken? While they are continuously trying to improve on that (plastic containers I think) they have moved on as far as their burger packaging is concerned.

Applied Creative Inc., Builds Website for Law Firm
Applied Creative Inc., has designed a new website for commercial law firm Kercsmar & Feltus PLLC. With this new site, it makes communication easier, clearer and focused.

Avon Calling . . . Again
It has been many, many years sine we last say commercials on television with the familiar tagline, "Avon calling!"

Optimus Completes “Done” Ad
After successfully holding its “One Shot” contest, Optimus has finally completed and aired “Done,” the TV commercial based on the winning script from the Optimus “One Shot” contest. “Done” was initially aired on Comcast on January 22, and will be aired in 11 Chicago regions from January 26 through February 2. The script by Jane Ackerson and Nate DeLeon of DDB was, as promised, brought to life and nurtured to maturity under the same roof.

AdMob for Android Launched
The world’s largest mobile advertising unit, AdMob, has announced the launching of its first advertising unit for Android applications. This announcement will enable developers to monetize their applications on this new device platform. The first developers to leverage AdMob’s new Android ad unit in their applications include AccuWeather, Jirbo, and TapJoy.
AdMob’s new Android ad unit will also allow brand and performance advertisers to reach the rapidly growing base of consumers engaging with applications on their Android devices

North Carolina Technology Association Unveils Job Board
Here is some news that many laid off and jobless workers are going to like. North Carolina Technology Association has announced the launch of an interactive job board at its website. The Job Board is beneficial to individuals specifically looking for technology jobs as well as traditional positions within technology companies. Both members and non-members can use the NCTA Job Board to reach qualified candidates.

Online investment still lacks measurement, surveys find
Here is an interesting article from PRweekus.com: While investments in online marketing continue to grow, only 47% of marketers are using marketing applications to measure their campaigns, according to the Alterian's sixth “Annual Marketing Survey.” Analytical-led software company polled 1,545 marketing professionals in the US and UK in October and November 2008 for the survey. This was the first year that respondents were asked about their use of measurement applications, and less than half of them said they were using analytics to measure their campaigns. Bob Barker, VP of corporate marketing for Alterian, called the lack of analysis “quite disappointing.”

Say Anything
Today while watching television, I saw a commercial for Walgreens pharmacy. It shows smiling people talking about how they have such peace of mind now that Walgreens handles all of their medications.

Sham-What??
The power of infomercials is well documented. Many of us to this day have memories of seeing commercials for Ron Popeil's "Pocket Fisherman" or of the legendary "Freedom Rock" music collection.

Agent Provocateur Voted Best Ad
Kylie Minogue’s endorsement for a lingerie ad, Agent Provocateur, has been voted best cinema advertisement in a public vote. While the said ad was banned from being shown on television due to its provocative nature, it seems that these were minor issues that led to this ad being voted as the best ad.

Welcome to Sony’s “Foam City”
For a commercial that took 16 hours to make as well as the aid of largest foam-producing machine, Sony seems to have gone all out in pushing its new Handycam and Cybershot with its latest commercial, Foam City. Directed by Simon Ratigan, it features music by Warren Ellis, of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds.

Kerry Katona Groomed for New Iceland Ad
Contrary to reports that she may be dropped by Iceland, Kerry Katona, the former Atomic Kitten star, seemed to have convince the bosses that she deserves to stay on by changing her lifestyle. After some shambolic moments on This Morning TV that saw Kerry slurred her words, changing for the better meant she was serious about the job hence making the Iceland keep her by offering her a new Iceland contract.

CSI Star Fends Off Attackers
CSI Star Gerald McCullough who plays Bobby Dawson on CSI Las Vegas, experienced in real life what it feels to be attacked. Fortunately, he is skilled in boxing and a punch to the chest saved him from eventual harm.
"That's when he pulled a kitchen knife out of a black plastic bag," McCullouch said. "This thing must have had a blade 10 inches long. ...I yelled at the top of my lungs, 'Get the [bleep] away from me!' That's when the knife came down into my back. I don't know whether he lost his grip or what, but the blade didn't penetrate my leather jacket."

Jennifer Hewitt Calls of Wedding
To the average person, buying a wedding gown and getting ready for your wedding is a momentous occasion. However, as far as Ghost Whisperer star Jennifer Love Hewitt is concerned, it looks like its just any ordinary day. Imagine already having a wedding gown and with a snap of a finger you can call of your wedding? Jennifer Love Hewitt is being dissected for her breakup with ex-fiancé Ross McCall.

Coke Zero Debuts New Ad at Super Bowl XLIII
From Mean Joe Greene to Mean Troy is what fans can expect from this new Coke Zero ad set to appear at the Super Bowl. Starring Pittsburgh Steeler Troy Polamalu, the first 12 seconds of the new Coke Zero spot are certain to cause double-takes as they mimic the look of the original ad.
The scene opens with Polamalu limping down a tunnel to the locker room, followed closely by a young fan who offers an ice-cold Coke Zero to his battered hero. All similarities end there as the action takes a surprising turn to humorously reinforce that with Coke Zero, it’s possible to have “Real Coke Taste and Zero Calories.”

Care for Some Obama Chocolates?
It seems that Obama fever is still up in the air and if you are really a die-hard Barack Obama fan, perhaps these Limited Edition Obama Chocolates would interest you.

Kate Beckinsale Catsuit Auctioned
If you watched Underworld, then the catsuit that actress Kate Beckinsale wore in that movie may be familiar to you. And with that comes this news that the same suit that she wore is up for auction. The proceeds of the auction will be going to the Entertainment Industry Foundation.

Travolta Extortionists Nabbed
Weeks after the death of his son, actor John Travolta may finally be able to sleep. After his son’s death, threats were sent on releasing several pictures surrounding the actual events of Jett Travolta’s death if the Travolta’s did not pay them $25 million.

Stacey London Endorses Riders Jeans
It looks like Riders Jeans will be having a new endorser in Stacey London. Using the moniker that Rider Jeans help make you look slimmer on TV, London is great choice to carry the colors of the Riders Jeans brand. London is an old pro at product promotion, having worked with brands such as Wonderbra and Procter & Gamble’s Pantene.
Riders hopes London’s celebrity status, as well as the jeans’ affordable price point (less than $20), will resonate well with female buyers, the majority of whom are in the 25- to 49-year-old range and shop at mostly mid-tier and mass-market channels.

GQ Model Passes Away
Jim Horne may not be a familiar to most of us but he was a key figure if you have been constantly following the GQ brand. Jim Horne passed away December 29 after losing his battle with cancer and congestive heart failure. Horne was one of the widely-seen models of his time. Horne became a familiar face in the 1940s, appearing in ads for MACy's department store, Lucky Strike and Marlboro cigarettes, Burberry, Chrysler, Budweiser and Grand Marnier, among others throughout his modelling career.

Burger King and Nickelodeon Team Up!
We are bound to see a lot of kids troop to the nearest Burger King outlet and it will not be surprising if a large part of those kids are Nickelodeon fans. Why? Well for one thing, Burger King will be selecting 25 winners who will go to Los Angeles to watch the 22nd Annual Kids Choice Awards. The contest will be up to January 28 only.
"Burger King Corp. has partnered with Nickelodeon on its Kids' Choice Awards for the past 10 years, but

For the Second Time: Pacquiao vs. Hatton is a Go!
Manny Pacquiao better make up his mind. He may be branded as the best pound for pound boxer today but he may solicit the new tag of “fickle-minded” if he is not careful. Initially, he had already closed the book on British boxer Ricky Hatton. But a day after it was announced he was looking at another opponent, the fight pushed through.

Teenagers Vying for Spot in Tobacco Ad
No Stank You”, a campaign against the negative consequences of using tobacco has drawn much attention earlier than expected. In fact, it hasn’t even been produced yet and many teenagers are trying to vye for a spot at the Washington Department of Health.

Singapore Thrives on Online Advertising
Singapore is the best place to place your online ads. Spearheading their cause are the youth, who are said to be so hooked on to the web, thus making it an attractive market to penetrate.

U.S. Seeks Broadband Penetration and Internet Access Leadership
President Obama is expected to announce his choice for the USA's first-ever chief technology officer (CTO) within days. According to Business Week, the field has been narrowed to two Indian-born technologists: Padmasree Warrior, chief technology officer for Cisco Systems and previously Motorola, and Vivek Kundra, chief technology officer for Washington, D.C. The CTO’s task is to bring the government fully into the 21st Century by ensuring the chief technology and information officers of each federal agency "use best-of-class technologies and share best practices."

Taco Bell Asked to pay $42M to Psycho Chihuahua
Due to careless research before implementing advertising ads, Taco Bell now finds itself having to pay Pscyho Chihuahua $42 million for a previous deal in 1990s which they used now via their famous talking Chihuahua ad, “Yo quiera Taco Bell”.
Taco Bell rejected the men’s proposal, but later hired another ad agency that wound up using the talking animal in the now famous “Yo quiero Taco Bell” ads.

Dr. McDreamy Autograph Wanted
Patrick Dempsey, famous for his role as Dr. McDreamy on Grey’s Anatomy is one of the sought after fans, at least for his autography. In fact, one fan really waited for him at the tracks later on revealing that his wife told him not to go home unless he gets Dr. McDreamy’s autograph.
"OK, OK the real reason I'm in line is because my wife said, 'Don't come home unless you get Patrick Dempsey's autograph and a picture.' The reality is I'm doing this for my wife.'

Eat Pizza, Win a Toyota Prius!
Sounds easy eh? Imagine winning a Toyota Prius, one of the popular cars in the green age. All you have to do is eat pizza. But the pizza would be the ones you can buy in the supermarket, a strategy that is obviously aimed to bolster the frozen pizza sales of Schwan’s Consumer Brands of North America.
It's called "Fuel Up the Family", and it gives of us hungry drivers the chance to win the world's favorite hybrid car, Toyota Prius, just for eating pizza. But it has to be one of the frozen supermarket pizzas from Red Baron, Freschetta or Tony's.

Salmonella scare spurs a boost in online outreach
With all that is going on - do we really need one more thing to worry about? Well, the American Peanut Council wants to keep you from too much worrying. You do not need to guess anymore about which peanut products are safe. According to PRWeekus.com, the American Peanut Council has created a site to inform consumers: The ongoing investigation into a salmonella outbreak in peanut butter has many companies, as well as federal agencies and associations, focused on online communications to keep consumers informed.

Ogilvy to work on LiveStrong
The Lance Armstrong Foundation is finally making the move. According to PRWeekus.com, they are expanding the cancer awareness LiveStrong campaign globally. Here is a snipet: The Lance Armstrong Foundation (LAF) has hired Ogilvy PR to help expand its more than decade-old cancer awareness LiveStrong campaign globally.

Bridgestone to Cut 800 U.S. Workers
Bridgestone, an established brand in the world of car tires, has announced that it will part with 800 workers tied up with them at their U.S. base, a sign that they too are feeling the pinch of the economic crisis.

Intel Philippines To Close Down
Intel, the last company you would think to shut down in the Philippines owing to the large demand for computers and chips has announced that they will be totally shutting down their base in Cavite. However light looms over the horizon as far as the laid off workers are concerned.

Need a Job? Check out NetApp
If you happen to be among the millions of people who have been laid off, the best way to go is check out the best performing companies. And according to Fortune Magazine, one of the “100 Best Companies to Work For” was NetApp.

“That’s How I See It” Wins Samsung-NFL Super Ad Contest
Reginald Castilla, a die-hard Dallas Cowboys fan, won the Samsung-NFL Super Ad Contest, nudging out 48 other ads posted online. The winning story was determined through a combination of online fan votes and a panel of judges from the NFL and Samsung, including the director of the commercial.

Vringo Tuning in with Sony Ericsson
Vringo, the next-generation ringtone pioneer, has partnered with Sony Ericsson in providing free video ringtone applications. They will be pre-linked on global shipments of the Sony Ericsson’s Walkman phones and also promoted via the Sony Ericsson’s Fun & Downloads portal. This partnership with Sony Ericsson, which was established when Vringo took home a prize at last year’s Sony Ericsson Content Awards, is the latest step in Vringo’s continuing push toward global availability and monetization of video ringtones.

New Webmail Launched by AOL
Web Mail is a new online mailing service which can be accessed via the AOL website. AOL's Products and Technologies Group today announced the launch of an enhanced version of AOL Web Mail that offers users one-click access to Gmail, Yahoo! Mail and a variety of third-party sites and destinations directly from the AOL Web Mail page, http://mail.aol.com.
“Web Mail is an integral part of the AOL experience and at the heart of our product offerings," said Ted Cahall, President, AOL Products and Technologies. "With this new release, we can showcase the important role AOL products continue to play in the company. Enhancing products that already attract a large, engaged audience is a key goal for our organization."

Nexus’ This Way Up Wins Award
It may be short at just eight-minutes but it was enough to cop an award. Nexus’ “This Way Up”, a short film directed by Adam Foulkes and Alan Smith at London based animation studio Nexus. The humorous eight-minute film follows two dour undertakers as they battle a series of misadventures while trying to deliver a coffin to the graveyard.
"At Nexus we've always been committed to short film animation, so it's fantastic to be honored with the nomination in this category," says O'Reilly.

IMAX Opens Theatre in Taiwan
Taipei will enjoy IMAX digital protection technology as IMAX Corporation and VieShow Cinemas have come to terms in opening an IMAX® theatre in its Sun Cinemas multiplex in the city of Taipei. The installation is scheduled to be completed to take advantage of IMAX's robust 2009 Hollywood slate. The deal continues IMAX's international expansion momentum. There are currently 75 IMAX theatres scheduled to be operating in Asia by 2012.

Axe Gets Cheeky in Ads
Axe hair products has taken an interesting approach to their TV ads.

Chrysler Retains Terminator Series Sponsorship
Chrysler may be in trouble but this doesn’t meant that they are restrained from making any advertising and sponsorships. In fact, you have to give them credit for properly choosing which modes to retain. And based on the popularity that the Terminator Series has, it is but proper to keep their backing for this mode of advertising their fleet of vehicles.

Pacquiao-Hatton Match Called Off
Due to disagreements on the proper split of the pocket money, the anticipated dream bout between Manny Pacquiao of the Philippines and Ricky Hatton of Britain has been called off.

Budget Family Travel Redesigned by Vacation Rentals
VacationRentals.com launched a new designed site to help promote budget travel, hopefully enticing family getaways in the most popular state for family vacations. The “Florida Fun Giveaways” aims to entice people to ditch hotels and discover first-hand how vacation rentals help dramatically cut travel costs

U.S. Inauguration 'Social' Webcasts: Give Me TV, Particularly High Def
The numerous technical problems that accompanied Webcasts of Tuesday’s U.S. Presidential Inaugural were anticipated, due to the sheer volume of traffic expected online. As we reported, by 11:45 a.m. yesterday, just before the swearing-in ceremonies, CNN.com Live had served 13.9 million live video streams globally since 6 a.m., breaking its previous Election Day record of 5.3 million streams. Latecomers or people whose systems crashed while they were watching couldn't get back on to the CNN site. Instead, they received a message that they were in queue awaiting openings.

1 second is all it takes
By now, word of the MillerCoors 1 second ad has spread over the twitterverse and blogosphere. Reactions, for the most part, have been positive, but yet I'm shocked how people aren't talking about the true brilliance behind this advertising technique. Think about it. They're using a commercial to hype a commercial. And oh, every website, blog and tweet that has mentioned them in the past 24 hours has been 100% completely free advertising. Simply brilliant.

Plinky.com debuts
Today, a new type of micro-blogging service has launched. Plinky.com is a blog writers dream, designed to help you come up with content for your blog, to help get over writers block. Every day we provide a prompt (like a question, or a challenge) and you answer. Depending on the prompt, your answer may contain photos, maps, playlists and more. You can easily share your Plinky answers on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and most other major blogging services. Plinky will provide the prompts, and you provide the answer. Your choice where to answer, either your own blog, or on any of the most popular social networks or blogging sites. Simple. Easy. Take a look around Plinky, it's a good way to waste a little time, and maybe come up with some fresh new content of your own.

Digital, Tech, Don't Evade Recession
As 2008 was ending, controversial Internet-based jobs service “The Ladders” was telling its technology subscribers that digital communications was still the place to find jobs despite the severest of recessions. Today’s news from Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) and Google (GOOG) cast doubt on that encouraging assessment. Microsoft said it will cut 5,000 jobs over the next 18 months in the software giant's first mass layoffs in its 34-year history as the company reported a worse-than-expected 11 percent drop in fiscal second-quarter earnings and pulled its earnings forecast for the year.

TV Journalism to Blogs: Drop Dead!
On MSNBC's "Hardball" Thursday, host Chris Matthews sternly rebuked New York Daily News reporter Liz Benjamin when she cited blogs on a possible "affair question" with regard to Caroline Kennedy's withdrawal from consideration for New York's U.S. Senate seat. When Matthews (pictured, left) speculated that the "personal problem" given as Kennedy's reason for withdrawing was her marriage to Edwin Schlossberg, Benjamin later responded that the "affair question" was surfacing on blogs. Matthews abruptly cut her off: "Let's stick to journalism. I don't do that here. If it's just blogging let's drop it."

A Righteous Kill by Millenium Films
In case you missed it, Al Pacino was sporting a watch, a designer watch from Tutima which many viewers would hardly notice. Glued on to the plot (to which Al Pacino turned out to be the bad guy in the end), there were strings attached as far as the advertising premiums agreed upon by both parties, Millenium Films and Tutima USA. Apparently, the latter failed to deliver and both of them may see each other in court.
Millennium Films filed a lawsuit against watch manufacturers Tutima USA at Los Angeles County Superior Court claiming that they didn’t deliver on the agreed deal.

Domino’s and Subway Slug It Out for Best Sandwich
Oven Baked Sandwiches. That is the reason why Domino’s Pizza and Subway sandwiches are practically going after each other’s throats after Domino’s launched a new addition to their menu.
Actually, Subway demanded that Domino’s cease and desist from running advertising regarding their new product. However, Domino’s surprisingly made an ad featuring the said letter to which Chairman and CEO David A. Brandon playfully burning up Subway's letter in one of the 450-degree ovens used to bake its victorious sandwiches.

Beer-Flavored Doritos?
Frito-Lays has been letting the imagination of its customers produce great commercial spoofs and apparently there is one production that is slowly rising above the rest. Titled “New Flavor Pitch”, this commercial shows an executive pitching Frito-Lay on the idea for a new beer-flavored Dorito. This production is actually one of the finalists and the winner goes on to the Super Bowl ads where it will be shown.

MillerCoors Unveils 1 Second Ad
In an effort to answer the ad to be aired by rival Anheuser-Busch, MillerCoors will air its own ads on local stations. The ads will feature actor Windell Middlebrooks, the Miller High Life deliveryman in ads, and the timing is aimed at boosting sales for Super Sunday.

Michelle Obama Branding Fashion Yardstick
So much has been said on how Michelle Obama, the new First Lady of the United States would handle her new role in the U.S. and thus far, all we have heard is about what fashion statement she is going to make. She did look splendid last night and apparently, this is not going to be the last.

Measure Value of Fresh Water
With fresh water being scarce these days, the best way to help preserve it is through advising people on measures to value it. Such was the initiative launched by Kohler Co., as they launched a viral online campaign titled SaveWaterAmerica.com.

What's G?
Gatorade has recently produced several commercials around the theme "What's G?" It is a part of an entire packaging redesign that aims to be a badge of pride for anyone who sweats, no matter how active they are. [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cGKAVAAHdWc] While the traditional marketing pieces are in place (e.g. logo, branding elements, inventive commercial, famous spokespeople), the interactive strategy is currently being ignored, thus leaving a Gap in the strategy

People Pay for Marketing?
There is an interesting article in Adage about the success of Kraft Food's iPhone App, iFood Assistant. It's now in Apple's top 100 apps and number 2 in the lifestyle category. The app provides recipes, meal and ingredient info along with a bit of advertising. At the end of the day there is one key lesson: "When a marketer creates something that's actually useful, consumers don't really see it as straight marketing, or they're at least willing to accept advertising as the payoff." Do you create marketing that is useful to your consumers?

Let Use See the “Chase” of Audi
The big three may not be placing ads at the Super Bowl but Audi is sure to be there. Aiming to create the same excitement that the players would have on the field, Audi has a great commercial being awaited which stars Transporter star Jason Statham. Audi's advertising agency, San Francisco-based Venables Bell & Partners, created the ad, which was shot on-location in Los Angeles. The agency painstakingly recreated different eras in American history with costuming, lighting, film stock and period-specific automobiles to create a stunning depiction of the different eras explored in the ad.

Heinz Ketchup Unveils New Label
Heinz has always been known to provide great condiments as far as ketchup is concerned. Who can live without the add-on of ketchup in burgers or certain meals? But while we are already familiar with the brand it looks like they are not yet content with the labeling which led them to draw up an entirely new look for this popular ketchup brand.
“The tomato is what makes Heinz Ketchup so extraordinary, and so with all due respect to the pickle, which has served Heinz dutifully since the 19th century, we are shifting the spotlight to the tomato,” says Heinz chairman, president, and CEO William R. Johnson

Steel Vault Launches Online Marketing Campaign
Steel Vault launched an online marketing campaign for its subsidiary, NationalCreditReport.com with the hope of helping increase their number of members and bringing world class identity theft protection on MSN’s family of websites that include MSN.com and Hotmail.
NationalCreditReport.com specializes in providing consumers with identity security products, including accurate, complete and easy-to-understand credit reporting and monitoring.

Ketchum employee's Tweet causes client controversy
Twitter is a great "everything tool"; it can be everything. It can be a great marketing tool for businesses, it can be a great promotional tool for music stars, it can even be a great social site. It is the everything tool, but you need to use it with GREAT discernment. I say this because recently a tweet by a Ketchum staffer caused quite a stir. Here is the article from PRWeekus.com:

Inauguration Live
I had the opportunity to watch the inauguration from the comfort of my own home, with every option for streaming video available to me. I started out watching the Facebook/CNN partnership. It was slightly behind my television feed, which was also slightly behind the live viewing, since I have DISH network. Facebook/CNN worked well until just after President Obama's speech, then it looked like this until well after the ceremonies.

Citizen journalism is now
Last Thursday, news of US Airways Flight 1549 crashing into the Hudson River surged through the Twitter community. However, the cool thing about this story is - the news broke on Twitter. Not Drudge. Not CNN. Twitter. And this wasn't the first time either. Janis Krums (@jkrums) took a picture of the floating plane (which by the way has been viewed 343,598 times) in the Hudson and uploaded it to twitpic.com just moments after the crash.

Tracking Your Expenses
Tired of tracking your expenses and losing track? Or trying to balance your checkbook at the end of each month? Xpenser is offering a new real time solution by allowing you to record expenses via email, SMS, Twitter, IM or voicemail. This can work for your business (e.g. From your iPhone, email "Lunch 52.85 with Client A"). Or, it can work for your personal life as well

Current Twitters the inauguration
Just as they did with the debates and the election, Current is asking their viewers to send tweets from the inauguration, or while viewing it at home. Current and Twitter have teamed up again. We're adding your real-time Twitter messages ("tweets") over our live broadcast of Barack Obama's Inauguration. Current plans on broadcasting the inauguration, live, just as the rest of the news outlets are, but they hope to add an extra edge, with real time updates from people viewing the events.

Inaugurating Digital, Internet Age
The inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th U.S. president is attracting the attention of the nation as no swearing in before. Easily overlooked amid the excitement – and the profound problems that confront his administration – is a commitment to digital age communications. From fixation with his Blackberry to having the first official presidential portrait taken with a digital camera, Obama’s digital new media and Internet comfort zones are obvious.

Flip Video Helps Nonprofits
A Flip Video Spotlight camcorder is an easy-to-use, lightweight, compact device that produces high-quality video at the touch of a button, and Flip Video is wanting to help nonprofits. Can your nonprofit benefit from using a camcorder? Think of all the things it could help communicate... If you are a 501(c)(3) organization, you can apply for a Flip Video Spotlight kit to be used by untrained staff and constituents to help highlight your work with video. A Flip Video Spotlight kit contains

Client Conflicts: Do you have any in this recession?
I came across this interesting thought when I was reading Tim Dyson's blog today. Here is what he had to say: Apparently some clients are worrying less about client conflicts these days. I heard of two cases recently where clients are turning a blind eye to conflicts that a year ago they'd have made a huge deal about. One involves two major PC manufacturers that are both working with the same agency in China.

Up Next on ... ‘Dying TV Networks’
When I said NBC’s decision to program "The Jay Leno Show" at 10 p.m. Monday through Friday, beginning in the fall, was evidence of the pending demise of major TV networks, I never imagined concurrence from TV executives and performers. During a PBS press conference for "George Carlin: The Mark Twain Prize" (Feb. 4), "Law & Order: SVU" star Richard Belzer said of the Leno move: "It may be good for comedy in a limited way but it's a terrible, terrible trend for television. It's a network that's desperate. I'm already signed so they can't really [do anything to me]. It's the last gasp of a dying network that could turn out to be brilliant in terms of finances, but in terms of actors, producers, all these people, it's a tragedy actually."

Intuit Shows Us the Money?
In promoting their income tax filing software, TurboTax, Intuit has dug up some old celebrities. Well, kind of.

Circuit City - Down for the Count
Just before Christmas, you probably noticed Circuit City stores going out of business. Some remained open and participated in the holiday shopping shenanigans.

"Watchmen" Free of Legal Dispute
The battle for this season's blockbuster movie has been filled with intrigue, drama, and lots and lots of lawyers.

Twitter hackers found?
In light of the hacking, and the phishing, Twitter seems to be in the news all over this week. I know that any publicity is supposed to be good publicity, but having it all over the net about how you can't lock down credentials and protect your users information seems pretty counter productive. It seems the hacked Twitter incident has been traced back to DigitalGangster.com. Apparently a user there going by "GMZ" found the credentials and posted them on the site.

Sierra Nevada taps Carmichael Lynch Spong
Found this interesting article on PRWeekus.com: Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. recently hired Carmichael Lynch Spong (CLS) as its first AOR for PR.“Many people don't know much [about us] beyond our flagship pale ale,” said Joe Whitney, director of sales and marketing for Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. “We get a lot of e-mails, [saying consumers] just discovered Harvest Beer or fresh hop ale…We haven't really told our story.”

Ad Council taps Peppercom
Found another great article from PRWeekus.com: The Ad Council hired Peppercom for its first 100% pro bono PR effort, supporting a campaign from the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. Starting this month, the firm will work for one year, donating a minimum of $100,000 in services, said Paula Veale, EVP of corporate communications for the Ad Council.

Channel 4's aspirations of killing every fan... my story
Here's a funny situation from Drew B's taken on Tech PR: Yesterday I received an email saying that Channel 4 has requested my video be removed from YouTube. I was trying to spread buzz online about something I liked, but they ordered me not to and deleted my content. It got me thinking about online publicity, content ownership, and word of mouth. I started wondering why on earth Channel 4 would do such a thing, and I ended up feeling, unnecessarily, like I hate Channel 4. Here's what happened.

Nancy Pelosi, What Were You Thinking?
As I said in a previous entry, Congress' approval rating is at a measly 25% with the public. I don’t know who Nancy Pelosi and the House of Representatives have doing their public relations, but did you catch their new video which was created to kick off the House’s new YouTube Hub? Really? Do you want to go there? A Rick Roll? Wasn't that made officially tacky when Macy's tried to do it in their Thanksgiving Day Parade? Am I alone on this thought - or is this the right way to start?

What is Apple Life without Jobs?
.The investors are angry and the consumers are hesitant. That is the scene today as far as Apple is concerned after news leaked out that CEO Steve Jobs will be out until June. COO Tim Cook has taken over in what has to be the shakiest news concerning Jobs and Apple.

Diet Coke Duets with Duffy
Diet Coke will be unveiling a new ad and the person you may see helping out is Duffy. Duffy is best known for her number one hit Mercy and her album Rockferry, which sold 4.5 million copies.

TweetSuite
One of the most common dilemmas among bloggers and Twitter users is how to integrate the content of both sites into something usable. Some people choose to just use a widget or badge in their sidebar, but that's a rather passive way of Twittering content to your blog. In steps TweetSuite, TweetSuite, a Twitter-WordPress integration plugin that includes the following features:

Honda Launches Corporate Branding Campaign
The best way to get noticed is to have a short-film documentary of your company and it seems Honda has done just that. Binding all the corporate philosophies via an immersive website, the new “Power of Dreams” campaign showcases real stories from people on how Honda aims to provide solutions to their valued clients.
Three short documentary films: ‘Kick Out The Ladder,’ ‘Failure’ and ‘Mobility 2088’ (each about 6- 8 minutes long) debuted at the campaign launch; additional films will be added subsequently every few months.

Beckham Strips Down for Armani
The Beckhams are certainly hot names in the advertising market these days. But while David Beckham has been cutting some endorsement deals, wife Victoria is going all out and showing it for Giorgio Armani’s 2009 spring/summer lingerie. Last year, David Beckham made his own line of commercials but today, with photo edits pretty obvious, it is the time of Victoria Beckham to take the spotlight.

Ricardo Montalban Passes Away at 88
Ricardo Montalban is best remembered for his lead role in the 80’s TV series Fantasy Island. While he has appeared in other movies like Cannonball Run II, the actor passed away Wednesday at the age of 88. Montalban was also known as the official spokesman

Social Network Demographics
The Pew Internet and American Life Project has given us another interesting report about Social Network usage. The report tells us, among other things, that the percentage of adult social network users has quadrupled, from 8% to 35%, since 2005. Adult users also account for the bulk of users of any given network, even with all the news about the younger generation being the target demographic. Still, younger online adults are much more likely than their older counterparts to use social networks, with 75% of adults 18-24 using these networks, compared to just 7% of adults 65 and older.

Minneapolis Star Tribune Goes Bankrupt
The Minneapolis Star Tribune filed for bankruptcy after failed efforts from ads forced them to cease operations. They join the growing ranks of newspapers and publications rumored to be declaring bankrupt soon. Tribune Co., another newspaper company had also filed for Chapter 11 prior with practically the same case, declining ad revenues.
The Star Tribune, which competes with the St. Paul Pioneer Press in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis-St. Paul,

Coca Cola Preaches Open HappinessCoca Cola Preaches Open Happiness
In a time where most people are feeling down and low due to the economic pinch, Coca Cola has taken the initiative to try and brighten the mood of people today. Through its new global ad, “Open Happiness”. The said ad will be first seen at the Super Bowl, haven of most new ads to be launched for 2009.

OfficeMax Shows the Bright Side of Office Life
While many are jobless, the ones left to tender their workspace and cubicles are about to get some reprieve as light moments to get the mood of most workers up has been instigated by OfficeMax.

Celebrity Tweet!
If you're interested in only following the celebrities on Twitter, Celebrity Tweet! is just the site for you. Celebrity Tweet! has done the wok of weeding through the non-celebrities on Twitter, and has aggregated all their updates on one page. CelebrityTweet! The original app that follows celebrity Twitterers in real-time as they post on Twitter. This is an excellent way to follow celebrities without having to add them to your own stream.

Let's Stimulate New Intels, Googles
If we spend $1 trillion on a stimulus and just get better highways and bridges — and not a new Google, Apple, Intel or Microsoft — your kids will thank you for making it so much easier for them to commute to the unemployment office or mediocre jobs. – Thomas L. Friedman, The New York Times, January 10, 2009 In his recent column, Tom Friedman nails the biggest concern I have with regard to U.S. President-elect Barrack Obama’s economic stimulus plan. While the U.S. infrastructure from roads and bridges to water lines and electric grids is badly in need of repair and updating, once all such work is completed, it stops stimulating.

Will the FTC Actually Be Able to Protect Mobile Privacy?
According to MediaPost, two advocacy groups are asking the Federal Trade Commission to investigate whether mobile marketers are violating users' privacy. In the 52-page complaint to be filed today, the Center for Digital Democracy and U.S. Public Interest Research Group allege that emerging mobile marketing shops deploy the same "unfair and deceptive" behavioral targeting strategies as older Web marketers.

Unilever Debuts New Logo
A new logo is expected to be unveiled by Unilever soon, a move that is hopes to boost the value of its corporate reputation. Unilever also owns other companies such as Flora, Persil, and Marmite. It is understood that the FMCG company's logo will appear in its product advertising across all media later this year in the UK and Ireland. A spokesman for Unilever confirmed the decision.
'Our research tells us that people who already buy one Unilever brand will buy others, if they know they come from the same maker,'

Meet the Mall Cop
Kevin James of “Two and a Half Men” has been chosen to headline a new cast in his upcoming film “Paul Blart, Mall Cop”. It was actually a reunion of sorts as James had originally appeared on the CBS Network from 1998 to 2007 with a lead role in the sitcom, “Kings of Queens”.
TV networks and advertisers have tested the use of actors from shows consumers are watching in the commercials that interrupt those programs. The idea is that people armed with DVRs will be less interested in skipping ads willy-nilly when the people they tuned in to see in the first place are the ones cavorting about in the advertising.

A Virtual PR Posse
Hope Springs Eternal for PR in 2009How an Affiliate PR Agency Model is the Essential Entourage PR and Marketing budgets are still smarting from the financial apocalypse of 2008, and corporations are becoming leery of hiring large PR agencies with bloated retainers. A trend that harkens back to the PR survival technique in ’01 is the lean and mean virtual agency model. Think of it as “Have your people call my people, and become my people in the process.” In the interest of full

Blogs making a bigger impact at the point of purchase, study finds
I found this really interesting article from PRweekus.com: Consumers are more frequently basing their buying decisions on information gleaned from shopping Web sites, blogs, and social networking sites, according to a study by Ketchum and the University of Southern California's Annenberg Strategic PR Center. At the same time, local and national television news broadcasts are losing their clout with consumers, the study found.

Ann Taylor selects Shadow PR
With the economy going the way it is, many stores have started to take some major hits. Ann Taylor, for example, has had to close many stores in response. Due to these trying times, they have opted to go with Shadow PR. Here is the update from PRWeekus.com: Ann Taylor Stores Corporation has named Shadow PR its AOR for the Ann Taylor brand. The company will work with Shadow on building buzz for the unveiling next fall of the first collection by head designer Lisa Axelson. “Shadow is a young agency that can bring a fresh perspective,” said Kate Foster, VP of PR and media at

M&M Branding with Maxell at the CES
If you happen to note on the web or the news, the Consumer Electronics Show is whipping up a storm. And while many people are focused on the usual electronic gadgets in the line of HDTV, mobile phones and computers, accessories are gaining their share of attention as well.

Good Start by IKEA for 2009
There is no better way to usher in 2009 by starting your theme to coincide with the incoming president, Barack Obama.

12 Brands In Danger of Extinction in 2009
We are all aware that all businesses are in peril due to the economic crisis and leading the pack of potential brands who may close this year come from the newspaper and publication industry.

TV.com challenging HULU
Last year, CBS bought Cnet, and in doing so, acquired www.tv.com. Tv.com has been redesigned as a video portal for CBS network television, both current and classic. A digital water cooler, TV.com is home to millions of television fans contributing and connecting via their favorite shows. From program ratings and episode reviews to forum posts and blogs, the fans provide almost all of the site's content—we simply give them a fun, easy way to interact with every show and the folks who love them.

Change.org
If your nonprofit is on Change.org, there are a few opportunities that might be available for you to expand your presence in the social media network. On Change.org, an organization has the ability to set up fundraising goals for specific projects. You also can have testimonies posted by

It is all in the Business for Microsoft
Focusing largely on software solutions that most business find handy in making them efficient, Microsoft has focused their new wave of ads towards guiding people on the important of software in the world of business. A couple of these ads can be found on their website, although some have already been aired on various mediums of advertising such as TV, audio and print. Taking off from their “I am a business (PC), and proud of it” slogan, you can expect Microsoft to aggressively hit the business sectors.

Jennifer Lopez Ringless But With Mate
Jennifer Lopez was not wearing any ring when she attended the Golden Globe awards with estranged half Marc Anthony who likewise was not wearing his ring. It has been weeks when rumors flew about a growing rift between them and it looks like if reports are true, this marriage is reaching the breaking point. Despite constant cover-ups by their publicists, it is obvious that there is something going on in the world of these two.

Peanut Butter Brands Infected with Salmonella
Any adult or child eats peanut butter. Paired with jelly, it makes a great sandwich. However, be wary of the brand you buy as two brands have been recalled due to an open container that has reportedly been contaminated with Salmonella.

Burger King Crosses the Line?
Burger King has recently released an application that lets you "sacrifice" friends (i.e. take them off your friends list) in exchange for a free sandwich.

Remember Your Audience
Being from the United States, we're often accused of not being aware of the rest of world - their culture, their news and even their preferred communication methods. But one organization is aware of their audience and has altered their media usage methods to communicate and continue the interaction. Words of Hope broadcasts its programs in Arabic throughout the Middle East, and they are seeing a growing response via text messaging.

France Mobile Phone Ads Monitored
In a move to help address the health hazards that mobile phones bring, France is cracking the whip on mobile phone advertising, particularly to the kids. It is no secret that mobile phones emit radiation which can be a cause for cancer in kids. While this has been known for years now, France has taken the lead to address the issue to safeguard their youth from potential health risks. Who knows if we may see the same trend followed by most companies from there?

Kate Winslet Takes Revolutionary Road to Golden Globe Award
Kate Winslet who has long been quiet since her fantastic role in Titanic ages ago is back in the spotlight. This time, she grabs the Golden Globe Best Dramatic Actress Award for “Revolutionary Road” and Supporting Actress for “The Reader”.
"Revolutionary Road" was directed by Winslet's husband, Sam Mendes, and reunited her with her "Titanic" co-star Leonardo DiCaprio.

Glaxo Cuts on Drug Ad Spending
GlaxoSmithKline PLC has bared that they too will cut on advertising spending after heavy criticism on their heavy drug advertising. Instead, they shall re-focus their resources towards more efficient production techniques aimed to improve sales in a highly demanding market today.

Brad Pitt Bares His All for Rolex
Brad Pitt has always adored Rolex watches and has been sporting them in most of his movies. So is it surprising to see him endorsing the highly expensive watch? Apparently Pitt has signed with a Japan company, Evance to endorse the famed watch and this covers print and video spots which has been spread evenly in the Japanese market.

Air Force Blog Response Template
The Air Force is taking social media seriously and has shared their blog response framework. They've also taken feedback from the original round of comments and updated the document accordingly. It's exciting to see an organization, especially a government one, saying their participating in social media and following through. Hit the link for a PDF version compliments of Global Nerdy. If you're looking for a sample to build your own response program around, this would be a good start.

A Fixed Life Merger Blog?
Wells Fargo has created a blog to keep audiences up to date on the overall process and merger activities around their purchase of Wachovia. It's interesting because it is a blog that has a fixed life and will focus on activities around the ups and downs of the merging of organizations. Even though a recent Forrester study highlighted that corporate blogs are not trusted, there is an opportunity here for Wells Fargo to provide valuable information to its customers. One of the things to watch will be the level of transparency that the authors will provide during the process.

A Call to Boycott Pepsi and Campbell
For continuously supporting the gay organizations, a call by the American Family Association to boycott goods and products by Pepsi and Campbell has been announced. It is quite obvious that the homosexuality issue has been far from settled despite being set legal in some states. Worst, this move by Pepsi on not supporting any pro-family organization that is opposed to homosexuality further got the ire of AFA and for sure, the world. Has Pepsi gone nuts?

Slim Shots Carries New Chocolate Flavor
Slim Shots, an appetite controller that is bound to be among the additives that people are looking for today, will be launching a new flavoring this March. With a new light European Chocolate flavoring, will be available in retail stores this coming March. This should be good news for all the health buffs who want to shed off those extra pound with some help. With more flavor varieties, expect the consumer demand to have a heyday choosing between the standard vanilla flavor or the new chocolate one.

Placing Contraceptives to the Right Class
Sex education and birth control are perhaps the most sensitive issue right now. We see a lot of ads being aired but the thing is, are they really hitting the right class of people that should know more about contraception?

Kelloggs Jacks up Prices
Now this is going to hurt for the people who eat cereal in the morning. Kelloggs, that well-known brand from long ago has announced that it will push through low-to-mid single digit percentage price increases on Pop-Tarts and the majority of its cereal brands.

Art of War - Differentiation is Key
Carefully compare the opposing army with your own, so that you may know where strength is superabundant, and where it is deficient." Sun Tzu, The Art of War

Redesign Tasked to Rebuild Buick LaCrosse
What can you do to repair a tarnished brand? Redesign. That is perhaps the best alternative that you can turn to these days and such a recourse is what General Motors is undertaking as far as rebuilding the Buick LaCrosse is concerned.

Google Broadens the Gap
The rumors said that Microsoft feared Google. If those rumors were false, then Microsoft should take heed now.

Cloud Computing...What is It?
I've heard plenty of mention of cloud computing for a while now. It's not in everyday conversation, but rather with IT geeks (I use the term respectfully) that I hear about the topic. I am not an IT specialist by any means, but can understand pretty much the basic stuff. I am aware virtual servers are involved with the goal of cutting down on infrastructure

Century 21 Shifts to Online Advertising
In a familiar move that most businesses are doing now, advertising premiums have shifted towards the growing popularity of online advertising. Century 21, known for making effective advertising programs to carve its niche has made such a move with the hopes of retaining its market position in the real estate sales industry and hopefully tapping a new market that they never had before.
“With 84 percent of consumers shopping for a home online, according to the National Association of REALTORS®, we are confident that increased online advertising will benefit our brokers, agents and most importantly, the consumer.”

Adult Entertainment Seeks Bailout
Before calling it quits, may would be surprised at why adult entertainment would suddenly come out of nowhere and see financial assistance as well. While many key sectors of the industry like automotive and banking have made their concerns heard, will the adult entertainment world get attention as well? It doesn’t seem likely.
Among those with their hands out to Congress for financial help are "Hustler" magazine publisher Larry Flynt and "Girls Gone Wild," chief executive officer Joe Francis, who are asking for $5 billion in bailouts.

Sony bolsters Web presence with social networking site
In this day and age....if you don't have a hand in social networking; you have a very small audience. WIth this in mind Sony has decided to launch a social networking community as a part of a larger strategy to build a stronger interactive presence. Here is an excerpt about their plans: The company launched a beta version of the social networking site at sony.com/electronicsblog on January 6, in conjunction with the kick-off of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES). Marcy Cohen, senior manager for

Twitter handles hack internally
If you are one of the millions of people who are fellow Tweeple...you probably have heard about the hacking incident that occured on Monday January 5th. Apparently, hackers posted fake messages on several accounts (about 33 Twitter users), including those of Fox News, the campaign of President-elect Barack Obama, CNN anchor Rick Sanchez, and Britney Spears. While some were a little funny (shh don't rat me out) - they were definitely not cool. Oddly enough, Twitter decided to handle this "snafu" internally - no help from PR. Do you think this was a smart move? Could that have really hurt Twitter?

Queen Latifah is People’s Choice
Move over Oprah Winfrey, there is a new host in town. Queen Latifah, a pretty well-known actress in Hollywood is slowly making waves as she continued to build on her popularity. No one really paid any attention to her over the years but now it seems that Latifah is going places.

TwtApps
TwtApps is trying to give users a new way to interact with Twitter. This one man development team has come up with 3 simple to use apps that interact with Twitter. He quit his job to pursue his passion, and has given us 3 very cool apps that work very well with Twitter. The first app is Twtcard. Basically, you enter in your tweet, and it send it to your recipient as a twtcard. It gives you a tinyurl link to add to twitter or facebook.

YowTRIP
From the guy that gave us TwtApps, we have YowTRIP. YowTRIP is a social site, it's purpose is to help travellers connect with other travellers and help to find a travel companion. YowTRIP's goal is to promote cultural exchange by connecting world travelers and enabling them to share their travel experiences on this online community.

This Titan Does Controversial Nasal Spray Ads
No thanks to their ad, a nasal spray that entices sexual intercourse, Titan has been ordered to take down the ads as they are in violation of U.K. advertising laws as far as promoting prescription drugs are concerned. There were a lot of complaints with regards to the ads and leading the pack of complainants was the Advanced Medical Institute.
Titan is complying with the demand, with marketing director Steve Cox saying they are acting to take down the AMI posters still up “as soon as we can.” He estimated that there were around 30 of billboards remaining

The Every Pain Reliever Called Advil
Ads in transition is what the new slogan that Advil has embarked on in connecting its previous ad campaign, “Yes Advil” is concerned. In an age where companies are holding back on advertising costs, some companies are doing the opposite and in fact simply continuing where they left off. This strategy helps them go towards a better direction, especially since familiarization has already been set. For Advil, the slogan may be timely considering many people today want some relief although not in the same definition of classifying pain.

Macys to Close 11 Stores
Another business bites the credit crunch bug and this time it is Macys. This popular department store announced the closing of 11 underperforming stores in nine states which means that over 900 employees stand losing their jobs. This came in the light of evaluating their holiday season’s sales, the weakest output in years. This development is not surprising. Most businesses are assessing the performance of their stores and personnel and have to make some changes. Hard as it may, keeping a below par store up will only mean more expenses and unfortunately, heads have to roll as well.

Public Relations v. Journalism, Making the Transition
It's no secret that the few unethical and perhaps over eager journalists, those who look for trouble in a manor of speaking; those who dig up dirt as a primary source of news...these are the few, purposely or not, who manage to blacken the reputation of those honorable and fact finding journalists. Having previously been a journalist myself and having the passion for writing that I do, it does pain me that many see journalists in such a negative light. However, public relations is not always viewed as a companies saving grace

Order or Chaos: What does your work environment look like?
As a child I found myself looking for any possible excuse to avoid cleaning my room and when I would give in, I would shove all items either under my bed or in the closet. There was however, one immediate issue with my methodology, I could never find any of the toys that I wanted to play with. In my teenage years I continued to avoid cleaning when possible, yet I found that I felt quite fulfilled when the house was cleaned to my specifications.

PR in Healthcare
Close your eyes. Imagine an environment where everyone is sick or wounded, although, in best case scenario, staff and attendees are exempt. This is the description of a well-known breeding ground for PR crises. In a crisis hostile environment such as a health care facility, preparation is of absolute importance as a crisis could occur at any moment. The number of things that could go wrong in such an environment are nearly limitless, but with the proper preparation, these crises may be hastily fixed or in some cases, altogether avoided.

Burgers Get ANGRY!
As the fast food giants continue to battle for supremacy, new branding and new concepts continue to be on the menu. Burger King's newest offering is the Angry Whopper, which is supposed to be hot with "angry onions, angry jalapenos, angry red sauce, etc."

Evolution of Perception
A brand is truly only as strong as the public perceives it to be. As times change, as some companies go through fantastic growth and others experience crushing defeat, the perceptions of their brands will change in the minds of consumers.

Category Marketing Requires Extreme Patience
When you market food and condiments, you may find the road ahead pretty much rough. Depending on your category in the market, this line of category marketing can prove to be a demoralizing venture especially if you don’t have patience on your side.

Judd Battles the Bulge with Alli
One thing going for products who embark on a marketing campaign, signing up a person to be the actual face of your product is bound to kick in some attention. Alli, the only approved weight-loss pill by the FDA, will be endorsed by a person who is really determined to battle her bulges, Wynonna Judd.

Brewery Closing in London
Large companies continue to buck the trend as this time around, beer making giant ANHEUSER-BUSCH INBEV will be reportedly closing down its historic Stag Brewery in Mortlake, South-West London. The expected shutdown date will be sometime next year.
“The industry is in recession, and every brewery is looking over its shoulder at the moment. Certainly the Government hasn’t helped with the excess duty on alcohol. They’ve been very punitive.”

Benylin Ad Draws Ire of Businesses
As if the current economic state in most parts of the world are not enough, this ad by Benylin, "Take a Benylin Day", is surely not helping. With most workers now on the crossroads since they would never know if they would be included in the recession bug, giving them excuses and ideas on how to call in sick is certainly not any business owner would want to see advertised.
Benylin's website says the product is there to "take the guilt out of calling in sick when you need time off to rest and recover".

How Companies Can Get Started in Social Media
Found this interesting blog entry from B.L. Ochman's blog: In 2009, it's clear that resistance is futile. Corporations can no longer avoid social media. Millions of people are creating content in social media. Your competitors are already there. Your customers have been there for a long time. How do you start? Forget baby steps and dipping your toe into new media. The train has left the station. You can read more here.

Having A "Message" Is Fine, It's "Messaging" That Sucks
Here are some interesting thoughts from PhilGomes.com: In PR 2.0 circles, it has long been hip to say that there is no place in modern communications for a company with "messages" and that any company with "messages" is somehow lost in the digital weeds. A PR person who says otherwise is derided as a knuckle-dragging troglodyte while the supremely useless you-don't-get-it crowd gleefully jumps in and piles on.

3D Ads to be Aired at the Super Bowl
We all know that many companies are trying to outdo each other as far as commercial productions are concerned but one has to wonder how the 3D ads fit into all of this. While most people are banking on the personalities and the creative production of these commercials, it is really intriguing how the impact of using 3D inserts would impact the viewing audience.

Pizza Ordering Goes Online
If you are among the people who love to eat pizza, you may be glad to note that you can use online ordering to have some delivered to you. Papa John started it all in 2001 and it looks like two of its competitors, Pizza Hut and Domino’s Pizza are about to give them a run for their money.

Classical Music for a Super Bowl Ad?
Now this may seem weird but how do you place classical music as the musical score for your car ad? Knowing the people watching the Super Bowl, a lot of them are perhaps rockers or people who may be from a different genre of music.

Phelps to Endorse Mazda in China
Michael Phelps continues to be the apple of the eye of advertisers these days. The latest company to enlist him as their endorser is DMG Entertainment, choosing the Olympic gold winner to be the new face of Mazda in China. It looks like things can get only sweeter for Michael Phelps after his historic triumph at the last Beijing games. Add another company to his endorsement profile.

Hyundai’s Car Program: "Return Car IF Fired"
One thing that is holding back most people from getting a new car is their financial capacity to maintain monthly amortization for the vehicle that they may purchase. One reason why most car companies are falling due to debt is the fact that they have to deal with bad loans and people apprehensive of buying a car via financial services. Thanks to Hyundai’s new car loan scheme all that is about to change. To entice car buying, they have come up with a program that will allow buyers to return their vehicles if they get fired or laid off. The promo only covers car purchases made within a year.

Tesco Hit for False Advertising
Tesco Supermarket is in hot water for reportedly advertising bargain drink offers which it did not have. According to the reports, Tesco had announced a “cut-price” alcohol offering only to be found that the promotional gimmick was no more than a hoax to lure in customers to its fold.
And the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) is understood to be pursuing a separate probe into reports Britain's largest supermarket chain broke advertising by refusing to remove promotional banners in shop windows as supplies of the drinks ran dry.

PR vs. Legal
Found this interesting article on KD Paine's PR Measurement Blog: We've had a bunch of interactions recently with lawyers that have left me truly scratching my head. Like the troubles in the Middle East, you can see the reasons for both sides to be angry, but ultimately, nothing gets accomplished.

The New PR
To get a sense of which direction the PR industry is headed in, take a look at the video below from some of the biggest names in our business. From Shel Holtz, “Ogilvy PR Worldwide produced this video for PRWeek’s “Next” conference, held in mid-November. Leaders of PR agencies talk about the skills of the PR counselor of the future.”

Say Goodbye to Hangovers with Alka Seltzer
One thing you may have had this past holiday season are hangovers. With all the parties and events you had attended, chances are you would be feeling a bit drowsy each morning due to the alcohol intake paired with the lack of sleep. One thing that really helped a lot was the presence of tablets called Alka Seltzer Morning Relief, a proven aid to help address headaches, fatigue, nausea, and upset stomachs.

Cartoons Assist in Brand Repositioning
Owe it to the magic of animated artistry and sketches to help you reposition a brand. We have seen a lot of created cartoon characters that have been associated with particular brands and products through the years and most of them have gone into securing a place in our daily lives. The latest addition is that of helping to sell Quorn to non-vegetarians aimed at promoting the health benefits of the meat substitute product.

Mouse On Wheels Returns
They come in red and computer mouse on wheels are back in harness. Direct Line makes a return using these animated ads to help assist its business proceedings and once again gain the trust of its customers.

When Customers Speak, Companies Should Listen
Perhaps a personal blog is not the best place to vent your frustrations to a company. However, a savvy company would probably have somebody monitoring the information superhighway for anything people are saying about the company.

Islamic Subway Campaign Hit!

Do I Smell an Ad?

Power Twitter
Most people that use Twitter have their complaints and suggestions on how to make the site the perfect site for them. Twitter will never be a one size fits all site for everyone, but there are a few universal complaints. Power Twitter aims to help remedy that. It's a Firefox add on, and it adds functionality that I have always wished Twitter would add. Power Twitter adds features to the Twitter Web interface including:

LETARTBE IS HERE!
There is a buzz going on... something new, something fresh... a unique worldwide crew with an uplifting spirit... something strong, artists, smart and right on time.. The LETARTBE movement is here...

Even more twitter issues
All weekend I'd been hearing and reading about Twitter's API and how unsecured it is. I'd reported a phishing scheme and in the midst of all that, there was another phishing scheme, this time with iPhones as the payoff. This morning I awoke to news that 30 or so of the celebrity twitter streams had been hacked and that there was inappropriate tweets posted on them. Twitter responded quickly to these issues, issuing this statement,

Social Media as a Brand Extension
Instead of focusing on social media as something additional to maintain that provides relatively little value, we need to shift our thinking. Social media is an extension of your brand, and how people perceive your identity can lead to greater awareness and profitability. To increase your brand connections, Harry Gold outlines his suggestions, which are summed up below

LG Electronics Launches Broadband TV
Are you tired of watching the same old programs or movies from the Blu-Ray DVD discs you have purchased? Well worry no longer. LG electronics has unveiled a new Broadband TV that allows you to watch streaming movies through its Internet-ready HDTV. Imagine being able to download and watch Netflix movies without the hassles of a set-top box? Totally Awesome! It is believed that the TVs will be hooking up to your Internet via a wire or a wireless network.

Lesser Energy Hogs by 2011
There is no law that prohibits any consumer to buy a flat screen TV. Hence, if controlling the energy consumption problem is the real issue, then state regulators are best left going after the manufacturers and setting down laws that require a certain degree of energy consumption to help curb energy hogging due to the vast purchase of electronic items. By 2011, such regulations will be set. The gadgets will still be around but hopefully improved. Retailers have to make the necessary adjustments as early as now or else risk the chance of manufacturing their product line that will be shelved permanently.

Steve Jobs is Healthy After All!
If you categorize a hormonal imbalance as a serious illness then speculations are true that Steve Jobs is indeed suffering from something serious. But realistically, that is the only reason that has been keeping Jobs out of the picture as his absence at the Macworld circled rumors all around. He has lost weight but is still up and about. He has declared that he will continue to serve Apple as long as he can and has openly stated that he will personally face the Apple board if he can no longer carry out his duties.

High-Fructose Syrup Left Unresolved
Various reactions on the safety and harmful effects of high-fructose syrup has been going on and apparently initial findings showed that it was comparable with ordinary table sugar.

Digital Books Takes Reading to Another Level
We have seen a lot of celebrities and groups promoting reading campaigns but this new approach towards encouraging young minds to read books may have a great shot at the arm with the evolution of the digital books available today.

The New Face of Geico
Look out, little gecko. Looks like you have been replaced. Geico seems to be experiencing a little bit of brand confusion. Everyone seems to love the lizard. A lot of people don't care much for the caveman. And now there is a wad of cash with eyeballs?

A Timely Move By Hyundai
It is no secret that people are concerned about the economy. Unemployment is rising, and some people fear for their jobs. Automakers are scrambling to find sales anywhere they can, and the Big Three just got bailed out or it would have been the end of the road for them.

Kia Adds Interactive Marketing to Improve Sales
All business are in a slump these days and while many are cost-cutting, Kia plans to add more marketing support in the form of adding interactive advertising to its usual list of traditional marketing. Broadening the scope and minimizing the need for providing information that inquiring customer may have does seem to be a viable solution considering you whittle down the people you transact with.

Facebook gets Voicemail
No longer do you have just status updates and writing on others' walls, now you can leave them voicemail messages and texts. Voicetag is not the first app to try and integrate voicemail into Facebook, but it's the first one to use regular phones and SMS messages. It's a new app, developed by Ringful.com, and it's designed to showcase their voice API's. While still in Beta, the folks at Ringful say that before long VoiceTag will have the capability to do all this.

Online Hotel Community
The Pod Hotel, formally known as Pickwick Arms, has its own social network. Prior to check-in, guests can create a profile, upload pictures and communicate with other PodCulture members. How convenient would it be to find a person that is staying in the hotel and attending the same conference? PodCulture is explained in further detail in "Private Social Network Aids Revenue Bump for New York Hotel". While this is a revolutionary concept, there are a few missed opportunities

Kawasaki Syndrome Claims John Travolta’s Teenage Son
This is not the great way to start 2009. A death in the family is one thing but a 16 year old kid dying in your arms is something that will traumatize you for the rest of your life. Jett Travolta, John Travolta’s 16-year-old teenage son, died January 3 despite efforts by John and the EMTs to resuscitate him in the Bahamas. Jett was suffering from Kawasaki Syndrome or better yet known as lymph syndrome, a condition that can lead to heart disease.

DiCaprio’s Gal Does Hurley Swimwear Ad
What does it take to make a hot babe pose for swimwear ads? A hot body and of course some publicity, although not needed. For Leonardo DiCaprio, having your on and off girlfriend Bar Refaeli do some scintillating swimwear ads is something you have to be proud of. And it looks like this hot Israeli bombshell is bound to make a lot of men drooling as well and ladies flocking the stores for those great looking string bikinis.

College Degrees are Losing their Worth
These days, it is quite demoralizing to note that good education can lead you nowhere. In fact, there is no guarantee that even with a secured diploma from a reputable school that you would be sure to land a job. That is what the current economic recession has brought upon us and to this comes the question on whether college degrees still have any relevance at all. Each day we hear of layoffs numbered in the thousands. The worst of it all is that there is more to come. Even the big names in the business industry like Microsoft and Apple are not spared. So with these things in mind what does studying have to offer us?

Kira Plastinina files for Bankruptcy
Being the star of your own ads, you may want to think that Kira Plastinina would have saved a fortune as far as talent fees for her advertising would be concerned. But the economic turmoil seems to have taken too much for her as Kira Plastinina has reportedly filed for chapter 11 as well in line with her father-bankrolled boutiques, KP Fashion Co.

Mega Liquidation Sale with Nothing to Show
False advertising? Where are the goods? When it comes to promoting mega sales such as this one from the Mega Liquidation Club in San Diego, you better show the goods and hold true to your word that the merchandise you are promoting is indeed there and accounted for. But for many people who trooped down there, a lot were distraught since they couldn’t find anything there which were placed on the ad.

Rugby League Unveils New Face
Israel Folau is a virtual unknown name in the world of Rugby but now, that is all about to change. The 19 year old is the new official NRL superstar after being inked by Adidas to a lucrative deal.

Don't click that link
When I logged into Twitter this afternoon, I saw a notice on the top of the page not to follow any direct messages from a blogspot.com address. hey! check out this funny blog about you… jannawalitax . blogspot . com It's apparently a phishing scheme, it's a redirect to a site that looks like Twitter, and it asks for all your twitter info, and then it send the DM to all of your followers. I've not gotten a DM about it, and I asked around my Twitterverse, but none of my followers had gotten pinged either.

Lipozene is Just Another Sham
When you unveil weight supplements in the market, bear in mind that any form of medication or pills need to be backed up by clinical proof. There is a new weight loss supplement being promoted in the market, Lipozene but the only problem is, they lack the clinical proof that can support its safety and aid towards people who are now focusing on losing weight after the holidays.
Despite the claims made by the Obesity Research Institute (ORI) - the company name that’s branded on the packaging – that Lipozene is “clinically proven to reduce body fat,” no research is provided on the web site. Although there is plenty of information about how to buy the product, the ORI provides scant reason to buy their product.

Cyber Games Commence in Brunei
For the hardcore gamers, here is your chance to prove your skill. Gamers who are good with the PlayStation 3 games like Rock Band, Pro Evo Soccer 2009 and Call of Duty 4 can showcase their skills and go up with the best of the best at the Brunei Cyber Games III that will be held as part of the Consumer Fair Part III on January 8, 2009 at the International Convention Centre.
"It has been more than six months since the second Brunei Cyber Games. The public is anticipated for the next tournament and this is such a timely schedule together with the third Consumer Fair 2009.

Hard Rock Park Shuts Down
There is another familiar name that has filed for bankruptcy. Hard Rock Park announced that it is closing down as well after failing a proper buyer to carry on its business. But rather than file for Chapter 11, Hard Rock Park has requested their situation to be classified as Chapter 7 where a trustee is appointed and the property and assets are sold to pay creditors.
``Because the bid and sale process has been unsuccessful thus far, there exists no reasonable prospect of success in the immediate future,'' the filing stated

Adidas Launches Global Ad Campaign
Adidas has always been known for its share in the world of sports apparel. It is easily identified with the three line logo that is has made famous years ago. While Nike has obviously become the leader for sports gear and apparel, it is about time that Adidas has done something about trying to give Nike a run for its money.

Dentyne Pushes Viewers Back to Human Reality
The strategy employed by Dentyne, a familiar brand of gum since the old days, may seem weird but depending on how you look at the ad, it does make sense. We are all entangled on gadgets and technology that we often forget about the good life, our peers. The people around us and the natural means of living have taken a backseat considering that we are spending too much time glued to the web or tinkering with that new gadget.

Versace Unveils Bombshells in New Ads
Versace has sent out its Versace Spring 2009 ad campaign and with two bombshells at the forefront, this ad is bound to draw attention. Brazilian Gisele Bundchen and British model Kate Moss are the two familiar faces that are spearheading the campaign as photographed by Mario Tesino. The only question about this ad campaign right now is who is better. Any preference folks?

JPG Magazine Closing Down Next Week
After AsianWeek had announced it was releasing its last issue today, another magazine has announced that it will be closing down next week. PG Magazine, a print and Web publication featuring pictures contributed by amateur and professional photographers, is likewise shutting down. Similar to the reasoning behind AsianWeek, the financial turmoil has been identified as the culprit. In recent months, the future and status of most publications have been raised in light of the new mode of delivering information through the web and adding the economic crisis to the mix was just too much for publications we are all familiar with. Who could be next?

Heather Locklear Headed Back to Melrose Place?
If rumors are true, we may see the return of original cast member Heather Locklear at Melrose Place once again. Reports have it that the Locklear was approached on reviving her old role as Amanda Woodward but she has yet to reply. The possible return of Locklear is expected to be a big boost to Melrose Place which is most probably looking for something juicy to add to its fold. Will Locklear be back?

Campbell Soup is Food Marketer of the Year
>Campbell Soup is no doubt the food marketer of the years, fending off the various factors that included a declining economy while maintaining its brand class compared to other products trying to survive by compromising their actual products. The rise of raw materials was something to worry about but what operations had to deal with was compensated by analytical and strategic marketing that included a head-on collision with General Mills’ Progresso.

Can Oprah Winfrey Still Endorse Diet Ads?
The key towards effective advertising is through the person endorsing it. Oprah Winfrey has been known to headline diet and weight-loss advertising, using her berry diet as the main carrier towards directing people on the proper path towards slandering down. But is she still credible towards trimming down considering she has gained weight as of late?

Looking for Cigarettes?
Don’t look now but 2009 may be the year when you will find it difficult to buy cigarettes. The fight against cancer and pollution is expected to step up and among the means to make sure that both these issues are controlled is to classify the places where you buy cigarettes. It looks contradicting to see cigarettes at pharmacies where you buy pills and medicine.

AsianWeek Closes Down
One of the familiar newspapers we see in the newspaper stands will be closing down after tomorrow, no thanks to a faltering economy that continues to claim companies that are no longer able to sustain operations due to the credit crunch.

SpongeBob and Dora The Explorer Saved from Blackout
Kids are sure to be relieved that favorite cartoon characters SpongeBob Square Pants and Dora the Explorer will continue to grace their TV sets as a last minute deal regarding the fees for the airing of these popular shows was finally settled. There was a dispute over fees for the airing of some shows by Viacom and Time Warner and a potential blackout would have resulted if not for the last-minute deal that happened earlier this morning. Among the shows that would have been affected included:

58 Killed in Thailand Nightclub Blaze
58 people were perished in a fire at a nightclub in Thailand. The Santika Club in Ekkamai scheduled a pyrotechnics display to usher in the New Year. Fire broke out at the club however, suffocating most of the guests inside the thronging entertainment hub usually frequented by locals and tourists. There was no definite cause on how the fire started but based on primary reports, it looks like the blaze may have been caused by the blaze, a familiar incident that has been the bane of most fire-related accidents in the world today.

Pacquiao vs. Hatton on May 2
Mark your calendars! The much anticipated match-up between boxing sensation Manny Pacquiao and Ricky Hatton has been set for May 2 in Sin City. With 5 months away, expect another rich purse for both fighters as this billing has been highly touted and expected to rack in the cash. No definite amount has been disclosed although according to promoter Bob Arum the income from this one will be lucrative as well, bulk of which will be coming from the Britain pay-per-view. Pacquiao made no less than $10 million on his last fight against Oscar Dela Hoya.

Diet and Weight Programs Start Sending Feelers
Tomorrow is New Years Day and will be the signal of the end of the feasting and resting for most of us. Now what do we do right after the holidays are over? One thing that is on people’s minds would be how to burn the excess calories and fats, gained from the constant parties that went on during the holidays.

@schwarzenegger
The governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger, has taken to using twitter and widgets to try and get the state's budget passed. He has apparently had enough and is trying to get the word out, in any way possible. The widget he has developed also counts down the days since they have failed to act, and adds up what the expected budget deficit currently is. The widget is designed to be shared, simply by clicking the get and share link on the bottom. It can be added to most social networking profiles and sites as well as be emailed directly.

Feng Shui Horoscopes for 2009
Feng Shui has been a Chinese belief to which fortunes are told so that people who fall in a specific year and month can more or less have an idea of what is in store for them. You can believe them or not but the thing is, Feng Shui is a good guide that can really help you find your way for the coming year. For 2009, the Year of the Ox does seem favorable to most. Career, relationships and health are normally the tops on the list and depending on the reliability of the Feng Shui expert you talk to, it doesn’t really hurt to check them out.

Way Off Target
Sometimes I just don't understand advertisers.

Chrysler Starts Spending the Wrong Way
The intent was great but unfortunately the people, particularly the taxpayers, were not to livid when Chrysler came out with a full-page newspaper ad, thanking the Americans for investing in the company via the government. Set to receive a “loan” approximately amounting to $4 Billion dollars which should have gone to the operations for proper cash flow. Instead, it was spent on an ad that would normally be appreciated by anyone but not at this time.

Tentacle Grape: For Drinking or For Kidding?
We all know that one essential element in labeling is the actual name of a product. We have seen a lot of unique names in the world today and apparently, it takes a lot of support as well to build on it and establish a brand.

Twitter Means Business
Julio Ojeda-Zapata, and the people at Happy About Books, have released a book designed to help businesses decide how best to use Twitter for business. He has this to say about this new venture, As a top U.S. technology journalist, I've created a unique blend of professional reportage and social-media insight. My book is based on months of research into Twitter best practices in business, as well as my own extensive Twitter use.

2009: Ending the Dream World?
We were living in a dream world. The general public, and to a great extent the press, closed its eyes to the increasingly complex and baffling machinations of the financial industry, which kept screaming that oversight would ruin everything. – Bob Herbert, The New York Times Bob Herbert’s comment about the U.S. public caught my attention not only because it is so true, but also because of its justified criticism of the nation’s “press.” It is the increasing failures of commercial news media – from missing an easily predictable financial catastrophe to a war started on laughably obvious false pretenses, to so much more – that arguably poses digital new media’s greatest challenge.

Wizehive
Twitter started it, Yammer followed suit, and now Wizehive has thrown its hat in the ring, the corporate organizational ring, that is. WizeHive is an online collaboration and organization tool for busy people. It helps you organize your life and those around you. WizeHive works by allowing you to share notes, ideas, messages, files and todo lists with your coworkers and friends in individual workspaces, yet also lets you see a global view of all your activities in one integrated screen.

For 2009: What’s Digitally In? Out?
At the end of each year, our print media counterparts love to publish “In and Out” lists. Newspapers and magazines own the ideal format to play up a fun look at what trends are coming in or going out. I noticed a few related to digital new media worth sharing. OUT IN “The Secret” “The Last Lecture” YouTube.com FunnyOrDie.com Watching TV on TV Watching TV online Waiting in line for the IPhone Waiting in Line for food stamps Sarah Palin Tina Fey Bushisms (nukular) Obamarama (eloquence) Okay – that last one I couldn’t resist. As for the Tina Fey item, remember that Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and comedian Fey became two of 2008's biggest viral video stars. Fey's spot-on imitations of Palin on "Saturday Night Live" became Web classics: More people watched the spoofs online than they did on TV.

Provide Easy Access to Social Networking Tools
The American Red Cross has created a great page that outlines all their various disaster relief tools that are available. Some of their social networking and web 2.0 tools include banners, Facebook resources, flickr tools, texting, videos and widgets. Unfortunately, this great resource is hidden and is not easy to find from the main website. Participants may also want to participate by telling others about how they donated blood or volunteered. The American Red Cross could make this page more generic and less about "disaster relief" in order to expand its reach to a wider audience.

Microsoft Not Spared from Recession
This is bound to be a wake up call for people who believe that Microsoft is the last company to be hit by the economic turmoil befalling us today. It has been announced that Bill Gates and company will be laying off a large chunk of their staff in various regions by 15,000 workers in light of the hard times we are in. Now this may be a cause for alarm for most people today. Who would ever thought that Microsoft would join the fray of cutting cost by releasing most of their employees today.

Add A Kraft Application, Feed a Family
A lot of gimmicks have been done by Facebook and its partners but this one has to be acknowledged. When you add the Kraft Application to your Facebook account, you automatically direct Kraft to feed 6 meals to hungry families. The same scenario happens when you successfully refer a friend to add the Kraft application. How is that for great advertising strategy that is bound to gain the nod of most people who look highly on acts of charity eh? The consumer-goods giant earlier this month hooked up with social marketing company SocialVibe to release a cause-related Facebook application

Will Presidential transparency thrive under Obama?
Found this interesting article from PRworks: I’m as excited as the next “liberal elite” about the incoming Obama administration. Clearly, the use of technology, social media and the collective hope of billions of people for a more human and thoughtful U.S. administration has people expecting new and different things from the incoming leader of the free world.

Detroit Lions Branded into NFL Record Books
It is the dream of any person or team to be hailed in the record books of any sport. But while many are aiming at something glorious, the Detroit Lions may think that being branded as the worst team for 2008 (and practically by any team in NFL history) is something that they would surely pass on if they had a choice.

New Logo or New Gimmick by Pepsi?
Pepsi has come out with a new logo and it is scheduled to be unveiled in Times Square with a week-long extravaganza. While we are all familiar with such promotional and branding tactics, it makes you wonder if this is a new approach to somehow change the market niche of Pepsi Cola.

Gatorade Changing Faces
Who is not familiar with Gatorade? A popular sports drink, it was brought to fame by sports greats like Michael Jordan during his prime. But ever since, a lot of other players have cropped up. Among the names that gave Gatorade a run for its money included products carrying the name Activade, Accelerade and 100 Plus. There are a lot of known tags that made Gatorade famous. Among them included being a drink with isotonic, hypertonic and electrolytes. But while many people feel that these are terms used to entice people to drink them especially for people who sweat it out.

Goodbye GM, Hello Hyundai Genesis Coupe
General Motors has pulled out and this makes the promotional opportunities to capture a larger target market better for car companies that have stuck it out as far as the NFL advertising tactics are concerned. Hyundai for one has been serious about it all and will be officially unveiling its Hyundai Genesis Coupe at the upcoming Super Bowl. The title of both commercials is “The Epic Lap.” Shot at Road Atlanta, the racetrack didn’t do much damage to the car. The company says the Genesis only needed a new set of tires after three days of filming.

Glaceau picks Euro as health and science AOR
Found an interesting article on the new picks for Glaceau: (Taken from PRWeekUS.com) Health beverage-maker Glaceau has selected Euro RSCG Worldwide PR as AOR for the brand and science portion of its business, which includes media relations for the vitaminwater and smartwater drinks.

Google fall out of 20 Most Trusted Companies list, Facebook creeps in.
Here is an interesting article from BeyondPR: In 2007, Google featured in the top 10. In 2008, it doesn't make the top 20. As seen on Andy Beal who includes a top 10 comparison with 2007. Trustee reckons that influential factors this year were: You can read more here.

McLachlan Supports Anti-Cruelty Drive for Animals
Everyone wants to do their part in helping a good cause and animal cruelty is no exception. Canadian singer Sarah McLachlan did her part, rendering a commercial to put a stop to animal cruelty.

Personal Branding via Plastic Surgery
We have seen a lot of innovation these days as far as copying a certain celebrity or just to enhance our figure and looks. The most common practice usually invested in by most people are facelifts that are normally directed towards cosmetic and plastic surgeons.

The Best and Worst
It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.

‘Dumb As We Wanna Be’
When I first began what was to become frequent travel to Europe and Asia in 1985, I clearly recall being very surprised by how advanced electronic equipment was over what we had in the U.S.A. I wondered how the most creative, diverse, innovative culture, and open society could be behind on the technological comforts of life. A few decades later, the U.S. has fallen even further behind. So in his typically excellent latest column, The New York Times’ Thomas L. Friedman asks, “If we're so smart, why are other people living so much better than we are?”

Profitable Digital Journalism?
Some surprising revelations regarding Internet profitability at a major U.S. newspaper provide me a sought opportunity to clarify my August 2008 comment that newspapers are “doomed.” Speaking this month at the University of Southern California's Annenberg School for Communication, Los Angeles Times editor Russ Stanton stated the Times' Web site revenue now exceeds its editorial payroll costs. My prediction for the demise of that very place I began my professional career, newspapers, is based on multiple factors starting with digital new media.

Treat Indigestion with Candy Canes
Are you among the people who suffer from indigestion? For sure a lot of people have had their share these holidays and usually, consuming a bottle of 7-Up or maybe even tea has become the normal practice. But did you know that candy canes can be a good solution to indigestion as well? peppermint oil should be the first line of defense against irritable bowel syndrome, a condition characterized by abdominal pain and irregular bowels that affects between 5 to 20 percent of the population.

Vocalists Who Can Not Sing
When you are looked upon as an established singer or lead vocalist, chances are people would be pretty much expecting the best rendering ballads today. But the funny thing is that some of the best stars we see in the music industry may not even be making it big due to their voice but more on how they are marketed and look. It is really surprising. Imagine big names like David Lee Roth and Bob Dylan tagged as bad singers and mainly lip-synch to carry their way to fame and fortune? Now that is something that they have to give credit to their promotions manager.

Beckham Cuts Pepsi Multi-Million Dollar Contract
If you were in the shoes of David Beckham, would you give up a multi-million dollar deal with one of the world’s beverage giants? Maybe if you are swamped with other offers like deals from Vodafone and Armani. So perhaps the reason is really more on commitment and time management. A person can only do so much to endorse products and brands.

Lose Weight in a Hurry after Holiday Feasting
One thing many people will surely look into would be immediate aids in trying to burn off those excessive calories that they gained during the holidays. Some would hit the gym and do it the natural way while others would rely on the pills that normally make it easier and faster for them to lose weight. However, are these pills safe to retain healthy bodies?

This is so wrong.
Talk about a great way to discourage new twitter users. Just read this and you'll see what I mean. I don't like to see apps that focus on negatives, like airing private information without the person's consent. So, hopefully this app's shelf life is limited.

Mobile Tops 2008 Tech Breakthroughs
Wired has published its top ten technology breakthroughs for 2008 and the Apple App Store and Google's Android are #1 and 2 respectively. These two items will set the tone for 2009 as developers, marketers and others begin to focus their attention on developing for these platforms. As more and more individuals transition to smart phones that leverage these technologies, the market, and unique communications will begin to evolve into robust tools that improve access to information. What do you think, is the user base too small for this to have a big impact or will the user base continue to grow making mobile THE medium for 2009?

Social Networking meets Book Clubs
BookSprouts is a new networking site, still in Beta, dedicated to book clubs and the discussion of books. This new site offers users the opportunity to either create or join a book club, as well as giving options and recommendations for a book choice to help make choosing a book easier. The goal of Booksprouts is to make Book Clubs a Fun and Easy experience for everyone.

Claudia Schiffer Models Again!
Claudia Schiffer has been precariously absent in the advertising world for quite some time now but it doesn’t mean that she has totally left it. In fact, you may be surprised to see her back again endorsing two classic brands in Dolce and Gabana and YSL. the eternallly gorgeous Claudia Schiffer is starring in a sun-slathered series of Cruise Collection ads for Dolce & Gabbana shot by Steven Klein. She has also landed the new Yves Saint Laurent Spring ad campaign, taking over from Naomi Campbell.

Target Audience Points you to the Right Direction
If you want a good business, the best people to solicit proper direction other than your usually reliable management team would be the people endorsing your product. In this case, the world of social marketing would do well to serve the demands of their visitors, the main reason why websites are getting good hits and rankings. Two sites come into mind. Urbanbaby.com and Facebook. Of the two, Facebook has somewhat recovered from its earlier blunder of releasing new tools to allow members to track other user's actions on the site.

The New Black Friday
We survived the Christmas holiday. Black Friday was nearly a month ago, and since then it has been "Shop, Shop, Shop."

You Have to Earn the High Life
The adventures of the Miller High-Life Delivery Guy continue to amuse the masses with his steadfast commitment to keeping his beer as the way for the average American guy to live life at its fullest.

Death of a Videotape
It began with the format wars back in the 80s. VHS vs. Beta - who would win?

Harlem Globetrotters Hit Detroit
The Harlem Globetrotters have been around for some time, perhaps years already. But unlike before, it has been quiet in the entertainment scene, not that active like before. A problem with booking or hitting the areas where they will be appreciated perhaps? Regardless of what happened to these magical and entertaining dribblers, they are back and the first beneficiaries are the people of Detroit.

The Resource Box Link Issue in Article Marketing
One of the well-known practices to build on Internet Marketing today is through article submissions. For the information of those who have not tried it, this is a good way to create one-way links. But the question is how to embed them.

Marketing Plans Awaited by January 2009
With just one week to go for everyone to get over this controversial 2008, the Year of the Ox will formally be here in a week’s time. For people, a lot of uncertainties are in store as recession has been practically accepted by everyone. For businesses however, it is a sign that they have to start planning for 2009, particularly the marketing plans they have in light of these stumbling events that have made the economy worse in any way you see it.

Cloned iPhone Nano Hitting Market Interest
Apple has not disclosed any new gadget in its line of iPhones or iPods and yet we are hearing about an iPhone Nano (yes you read it right, iPhone Nano and not iPod Nano) that is now available in the market. It is obviously a revolutionary way of trying to market something using the Apple trademark, even making use of authentic Apple boxes with some etchings to get the people excited. One thing to note, it is made in China. So before you go out and look for these things, rest assured they are not from Apple. They are cloned phones with some features that only cloning professional can think of.

Alcohol Ban on Thailand Gift Baskets
If you happen to be wondering why some gift packs in Thailand do not contain any alcoholic beverages this coming New Year, don’t be surprised. Well it looks like Thais are trying to look over their people for the coming New Year by starting it right and keeping their alcohol reliance in check. You just never know when people may get more of a good thing and lead to possible intoxication and accidents if they are not careful. All over the world we have read of bans on alcohol advertising but it seems that Thais are getting away with some.

Sales Investments: Should you Reveal your Capital Outlay?
Christmas is over and a lot of retailers have more stocks which are being offered for sale at practically a steal. Imagine 50% off on their items? Their reason? To get back their capital. Now this is something I believe would be up for debate. If you reveal the price of your items and can afford to sell them at crazy price drops, how can you declare that you just want to get back your initial investment from them?

Kraft Offer Recipes via the iPhone
Don’t know what to cook? Worry no more. Thanks to the ingenuity that Kraft has thought of, using technology as a means of providing sumptuous recipes for feasts and dishes particularly now in the holidays, consumers can automatically gain access to these recipes via their iPhone using the just released program application iFood Assistant.

Diet Coke Plus Faces Sanctions
What is in a name? We see at the moment various products placing some add-ons like the words “plus” or “free”. In the case of Diet Coke Plus, they certainly have to emphasize what “Plus” means. It has been around since 2006, but it seems like it is only now that the Food and Drugs Administration have looked into the actual contents, finding nothing different other than the label.

Nintendo Adds Videos to Wii Game Consoles
It looks like Nintendo is not going to be outdone by Sony as far as offering advertising via its game consoles. Nintendo has partnered with Japan’s leading advertising firm, Dentsu Inc., to offer videos via its game console and has thus engaged Sony in a virtual tussle on which game console is indeed in demand. For business, the choices just got wider and it ca

A Fading Medium's Pure Elegance
Those of us greeted each morning by the hard copy Pittsburgh Post-Gazette were treated to a highly nostalgic front page image Christmas day. As much an enthusiast I am for the digital new media age, I was mesmerized by the impact from the 10 and one-half by 7 inch color image, "Old Saw Mill." Shared above though unfortunately in smaller size, I believe the saw mill in snowy woods still triggers nostalgia for a cozy log cabin with the smell of a wood-burning fire warming chilled hands and feet beside it.

Levis Goes 3D in New York Advertising Campaign
Looks like Levis is up to something again. With the hopes of pushing the value of the fibers used in most of Levis’ jeans line, making their ads more realistic and appealing has been done via taxicabs through a three-dimensional design approach. These three-dimensional displays of an unbuttoned pair of iconic Levi’s 501 jeans, has been installed atop 400 taxicabs in New York City, and is believed to be the first of its kind anywhere for taxicab advertising.

Nike Rolls Out Interactive Ads for Women
Nike has known to be a modest investor in ads as far as its shoe and apparel line is concerned and it seems that is now shifting its focus on interactive advertising aimed at women mainly for the winter season. The ad is similar to interactive advertising used by other companies in showcasing the different product choices. In this case, Nike ads let a consumer rollover a woman to see all of the sportswear products worn throughout a video.

Clean Coal Ads Saving Coal Industry
The coal industry may have found a good alternative as far as prying away from the carbon emission issues with its so-called clean coal. While environmentalists are still figuring out how these clean coals are made and would function, it is apparent that advertising clean coal will become entirely aggressive to save the faltering coal industry from the said new pollution standards pegged to save the environment from pollution and unwanted carbon emissions.

Who Will Be the New King of Coffee?
Starbucks is on the ropes. The coffee giant has closed locations, flip-flopped on branding, and are having a harder time selling a $4 cup of coffee in a lagging economy.

You are the Brand Beneath My Wings
KFC has become the official wing sponsor of the NFL.

Mattel Plans to Revive Barbie Glory Years
Barbie has always been a known doll brand name. It started since the 1950’s when the doll brainchild of Mattel took the toy industry by storm. But in recent years, we have seen the dip in popularity of Barbie dolls in terms of demand as new players and innovations have considerably taken over the limelight.

25 Diet Supplements Recalled
Today, obesity is a growing issue and for most people it seems that exercise and proper dieting is not enough without the usual supplements that help speed up the process. However, be careful with the actual supplement you are taking and make sure you know the key ingredients in it.

Toyota Following Footsteps of the Detroit Big Three
If you think mismanagement was the case behind the current predicament of Chrysler and General Motors than what do you call the losses being reported by Japan-based Toyota? It has reportedly shown a downward version in the last two months, having problems of its own coping up with a worsening financial crisis that seems to be getting worst as each day passes.

Video Games Still Selling...
It's amazing to me that video games sales are still going strong in this rough holiday season. It seems like the Wii Fit is never in stock no matter what store you try, along with any number of the hottest games for Xbox and PS3. This sounds like the same thing as last year with the Wii console, except then the entire country wasn't in a huge economic recession.

FedEx Passes On Super Bowl Ads
It looks like the growing list of regular companies who normally slug it out with other companies as far as advertising placement during the Super Bowl has added another casualty as FedEx has reportedly passed as well. Ad spending cuts have been done by most companies that used to invest a lot in prestigious events like the Super Bowl and FedEx is no stranger towards spending gallantly. But with over 290,000 employees under its fold, it has decided to forego ad spending by the millions and look after the people who are responsible for making them a popular brand today.

Timing the Airing of Lusty Commercials
To most people’s surprise these days, sex pills and condoms are apparently being advertised to supposedly help educate people on various sexual desires that seem to be getting out of hand. Just look at the rate of teenage pregnancies these days and you will agree that these ads may really help address such an issue. But then again, should they be advertised in the first place. If so, is television advertising the best way to make people aware of this? TV is a prime medium that is practically accessed by anybody. Perhaps the air time would be something to consider since some advertisers forget the presence of kids who may grow curious or even be enticed rather than being controlled and educated.

Burger King Serves SPAM for Breakfast
What is breakfast without the usual pink luncheon meat made famous in Hawaii called SPAM? Well not all fast food chains have the liberty of serving breakfast with SPAM and eggs and apparently Burger King Hawaii has beaten them to it. In response to the popularity of their new SPAM breakfast items, Burger King Hawaii launched a series of television commercials featuring the distinct, savory-sweet meat. The commercials originally aired in September and began re-airing this month.

Don’t Ruin the Saga of Santa Claus
You were a kid once and among the things that your parents had you believing in was Santa Claus. You know, the big white-bearded guy with the red suit that flies around the world on Christmas Eve to deliver toys to the children who have been naughty and nice?

Soup Fight!
What’s wrong with marketing to a new breed of people who have just been granted their freedom? Gays and lesbians are once again in the air as old hand Campbell Soup has been hit for serving the new target market with a new series of ads aimed at saturating the gay community through its Swanson’s Broth Ad. But as far as the American Family Association is concerned, catering to the controversial gays and lesbians, is sort of like approving of their existence, something that AFA is not that keen on.

A Misunderstood Furry Controversy on Animal Trapping
We are all aware that capturing furry animals such as bears or foxes have gained quite a following, particularly in their method of capturing and getting the fur, which used to be a big demand in the market. Today, we see an aggressive push against these trappers as groups like Fur-Bearer Defenders are trying to save the animals from harm, particularly the ones eyed by the clothing market that produce the unique fur coats we see today.

Ground Zero
Google Maps and Carlos Labs have collaborated to make a fun little app called Ground Zero that show what any chosen nuclear device can do to an area. I found it oddly reminiscent of War Games, and imagined it asking "shall we play a game?" It's a simple mesh of google maps and this application. It gives you a place to search for the place you want to target, anyplace that is on google maps is available to target.

Meebo adds Facebook and Myspace to their arsenal
Meebo has announced this week, that they've added new IM clients, for Facebook and MySpace, to their network. Apart from adding Flixter last month, this is the first time since their launch that they have added new IM clients. Over the course of the day, we’re rolling out support for not one, but TWO new networks: MySpace and Facebook. These are two of the biggest social networks in the world, and we’re sure many of you use them on a daily basis. So click that “sign on to more accounts” link and let us know what you

Twitter adds search
One of the most requested features on Twitter has always been a search function. Previously, you had no way to find people that you might know on Twitter, usually having to resort to scrolling through the following lists of people that you already follow. The other option was to use Twellow, which uses profile information to search for users. Now, though, twitter has implemented a search feature. It's a simple interface, and it works pretty well.

Melamine Traces Possibly in Gourmet Cocoa Products
Just when you thought the melamine scare was over and done with, here they are in the news again, possibly present in Gourmet Cocoa Products distributed and made by Dorsey Marketing Inc., (DMI). DMI has ordered a recall of the following products: • G&J Hot Cocoa Stuffer Item 120144 (UPC 061361201444). • G&J His and Hers Hot Cocoa Set Item 120129 (UPC 489702201296).

House Parties Hosted by Xbox 360
Don’t look now but the Microsoft has set its eyes on another market, the women of the normal household. Employing the same approach that Tupperware and Mary Kay Cosmetics used in parties, a new kind of channel is being introduced through the Xbox consoles and House Party is the company behind it. The idea behind these parties is simple - a product endorsement coming from a person you know and trust in a pressure free environment (nothing is actually being sold at these gatherings)

Macy’s Believes in Santa’s Makes-a-Wish
The Christmas season is all about giving and of course Santa Claus and as far as Macy’s is concerned, spreading the Christmas spirit by enticing young kids in sending stamped letters to Santa Claus is a cause that has livened up the Christmas spirit in helping kids believe that there is a Santa Claus after all. Apparently, Macy’s is the one playing Santa as it has donated a $1 million dollar donation to the Make-A-Wish Foundation via its Believe campaign.

Just a Reminder on Drunk Driving
Drinking while driving will never benefit anyone and this holiday season, it would be a good initiative to remind consumers of the outcomes of potentially getting drunk with booze and then driving home. Some don’t even make it home. They either find their way towards a nearby hospital or in worse conditions, the morgue.

Taco Time Shoots Ads in the Snow
You would think that this would be the time when most companies are resting and enjoying vacations. But not for some advertising producers of Taco Time as they are making efforts to fend off the cold weather to make various ad segments for Taco Time Northwest.

Wake Up Calls in Time Square
It is the season to be sending a lot of great messages such as greetings but there is something different that people in Time Square will be experiencing. Kellogg’s Special K is poised to remind people to diet.

Why we act the way we do...
I just joined an ad industry social site where being abrasive and brutally honest seem highly desirable traits. Several questions were posed by a community member, one of which asked "why are advertising industry social networks so dysfunctional"? One of the optional answers was the industry consists of a**holes. Another member responded with this. Wow, a bit cynical and oversimplified for me, but somewhere in there lies a grain of truth.

Scrapplet, your new home on the web?
There are many different media aggregate websites out there, but the newest one on the scene is Scrapplet. It's a new place to store, share and comment on things that you and other users find on the web. It's designed to be a one stop web scrapbook of sorts. Where are you on the web?

Critics Getting Personal with “Australia” Director
To the eyes of many, the movie Australia was a flop. But there are people who do love it, understand it and cried watching it. So who are the ones who made it a flop? According to director Baz Luhrmann, they are the film scientists who look more towards the one who directed it rather than appreciate the film for the purpose for which it was produced. "A lot of reviewers like 'Australia.' And we're making people cry; I know because they write to us," he told the Hollywood Reporter during an interview at the Four Seasons Hotel.

Kate Winslet Takes Two for the Road
Kate Winslet is best remembered for her debut in the hit movie Titanic. Since then, she has gained a lot of attention and apparently she has starred in a couple of movies as well. Though she has not made quite an impact compared to her performance back then, she has two new movies coming out this month, “The Reader" and now with "Revolutionary Road”. "I'm by nature a positive person, a happy person," she says, sitting in Paramount's offices in Manhattan, blond and slim, and chic in black. "But when I talk about these films in any detail, I find I start crying. I really must learn how to just shake it off and put it away after the film's over. I'm so envious of actors who can."

Airborne Health, Inc. Stops Misrepresentations
Cold weather brings various illnesses and this includes needing various medication or remedies. We know of some medical means but one has been discovered to be misrepresenting their product as a cure for the common cold. For their troubles, Airborne are now tasked to settle over $7 million dollars to 33 states aside from stopping the said advertisements for misleading consumers into believing that Airborne products can really cure colds.

Michelin Ad Claims Challenged
The tire industry is somewhat affected by the claims you make and as far as Michelin is concerned, its various claims have so far been challenged by Bridgestone American Holdings, demanding that they prove their claims and prove it well. We have seen a lot of deceiving ads, mostly injected into the marketing campaigns that any companies provide such as conservation and savings. Today many people are all out for such benefits, but the thing is, proof to these claims is needed when advertised for consumer safeguarding.

Domestic Help Gets Ad Support
We have heard a lot of domestic violence as far as overseas workers are concerned and this initiative started out by the Saudi Arabian can perhaps brighten the eyes of employers while at the same time protect the rights of domestic help, an option that most consider to help gain some sort of financial support.

Quality Customer Support for Marketing Success
The after-service part that comes with most products or services we secure are equally important, further improving the client confidence on making sure that customers are assured of attention anytime the need arises.

Would You Try Out Pay Per Wink Advertising
Many of us need additional income these days and advertising is something that can help a lot. But it depends on the type of advertising you would jump into. For example, websites make use of text-link or Google Adsense to perhaps get some income on the side. But as far as advertising through eyelids or any part of your body is concerned, this is something that is really new and that may even be something worth looking into.

Are We Nearing the Age of Boxed Lunches?
With recession obviously upon us, we may eventually find ourselves saving so much that it can go as far as turning to bunched food boxes that cost less compared to the ones we buy out there these days. Angel Food boxes are one such alternative so it should not be surprising if we do find ourselves considering it an alternative to stave of hunger and save more bucks.

Are We Nearing the Age of Boxed Lunches?
With recession obviously upon us, we may eventually find ourselves saving so much that it can go as far as turning to bunched food boxes that cost less compared to the ones we buy out there these days. Angel Food boxes are one such alternative so it should not be surprising if we do find ourselves considering it an alternative to stave of hunger and save more bucks.

Which is the Best Pocket-Sized Entertainment System?
If you hear today of the best miniature version of gaming and entertainment gadgets available in the market, chances are you would be directed towards two popular names: Sony’s PSP or Apple’s iPhone. So which do you get? It all depends. PSP is normally identified as a portable gaming console while the iPhone is known more of as a mobile phone for calls and online browsing. As you can see, they have separate concepts implanted in the minds of consumers. But what if these two would try to cross each other and try the other’s main brand identity?

Sometimes Viral Just Makes You Sick
There has recently popped up on YouTube an offering from Mediocre Films, where a guy goes into local pizza places and has Pizza Hut deliver a pizza there. Supposedly, much hilarity ensues.

Will the Big Three Advertise After Bailout?
Now that the issue on the auto bailout has been settled, it makes you wonder if the matter of investing part of their loans on advertising is included. The big three (Chrsyler, General Motors and Ford) have their own share of the market but to help boost sales, advertising is certainly something that they have to consider if they want to jack up the car sales.

Disney Backs Kid Knievel
Animation has always been the weakness of children and it really doesn’t matter on whether they are 2D or 3D. For Walt Disney their position in the TV industry in providing children cartoon shows is evident and they are now psyching up their next animated series, Kid Knievel.

AriZona Beverages Takes the Heat
The packaging of drinks these days have to coincide with the actual contents and how consumers are expected to drink them. Hot or cold, the bearing of plastic or PET bottles need to be considered as well. Hence, the partnership gotten into by AriZona Beverages and Cornstar in allowing the bottles to be flexible in most fronts is a good move but expected to modify costing since PET bottles are know to cost higher than the standards plastic bottles we know of today.

Newboy Presents Baby’s In2 Fun Line
The leader of the toy market in the middle east has reportedly unveiled a new line of toys for the babies and kids called “Baby In2 Fun” a complete educational and entertainment package rolled into one that aims to mold little tykes towards the proper way of evolving wisely.

Herd Mentality
I was thinking about how trendy social media is quickly becoming. Then I thought about the psychology behind it. The motivation for wanting to be part of the group or more broadly "herd mentality". I came across a clip by the same name, check it out and post your thoughts.

We the Paupers Are Screwed
So, the economy is in the sh**s. We all know that. Now come the increasingly pessimistic "predictions" of how much worse it can get. This article seems to be as absurd as it could be possible--haven't made up my mind whether or not I agree with it.

Hektik Ethnik Headlines New Fashion Trends
The best people to ask on what new fashion ideas could possible get the eye of the market and fashionistas today are the ones who study the market and come up with the unique and crazy fashion apparels that make the fashion world something to look up to. For French Fashion University Esmod, the internationally acclaimed institution, you are bound to get a good glimpse of these new potential fashion lines from the shows that they organize, the 3rd one of which recently took place at the University's campus in Dubai Academic city. Keeping up with the

Dissolvable Nicotine Products for Smokers
It looks like the tobacco industry is far from finished as it has gone a different route, developing this new smoking alternative branded as dissolvable nicotine products. They are actually a form of trying to help smokers get by the laws passed which prohibit most people from smoking in public places such as bars. But while many see it as a form of stopping the cigarette smokers, it is really the same thing, but without the smoke from inhaling cigarettes smokers are addicted to.

Expect Leniency from Credit Card Companies Today
Everyone is aching to boost their sales and as far as credit card companies are concerned, being a little bit lenient on the people whom you are trying to lure for a credit card is not going to be surprising. Credit card companies have been known to be strict in doing the usual credit investigation prior to card approval but unless they are out of their minds, the current economic situation clearly indicates that people can make do without additional high interest charging credit cards.

Sony Makes PS3 Cheaper by 8%
Here is good news for people who have not yet purchased a PlayStation 3 game console for their own. Price drops are expected after some years of being in the market and it has been reported that Sony is slashing the price of its PS3 by 8%. This is something expected but certainly done to stay in line with the hard times and of course align itself with the other game console manufacturers. The PS3 is not dominating the market like its predecessors (PS and PS2) mainly because of the influx of game consoles such as Wii and the Xbox 360.

Chrysler Continues NASCAR Sponsorship
Chrysler may be planning to close factories for a month but this doesn’t mean it includes their support for NASCAR. It looks like they will continue to support the said event but may be significantly slashed to help offset costs.

WalMart Offers iPhone 3G
If you are looking for a good place to get your hands on the latest iPhone 3G, check out the different WalMart branches that have made large signs showing that they are available there.

January 19 is now a Monumental Date!
What is so special about January 19? Birthdays? Anniversaries? Just in case you didn’t know, Chrysler has announced that this is the day that some of their factories will open shop. So why is that monumental? For one, it may be the day that Chrysler would announce its permanent closure of operations.

Quick Suggestions for Brand Awareness and SEO
Web Content On every single one of your web pages, add links to Del.icio.us, Digg, StumbleUpon, Technorati and Reddit so that users can easily help spread your message and content. This includes landing pages and microsites. By having users backlink your content, you are helping boost your natural search engine optimization. Emails

A Spark that Fizzles for MillerCoors
Formulating new beverages like Sparks are common for any beverage company but if you are planning to toy around by combining alcohol and energy drinks for commercial use without proper study may lead to health hazards, something which MillerCoors had to find out the right way. It is never wise to mix energy drinks with alcohol in the common setting. So how would you perceive something that has been rolled into one and yet aimed at the youth?

Cobra Bite Undertakes Aggressive Marketing Campaign
As a new face in the beverage market, one would never think that an aggressive advertising campaign using television would be the last thing in the minds of Cobra management considering the hard times we are in. But it seems that they are doing the exact opposite as they have invested heavily in more than 400 20-second ad spots aside from the product sampling they are planning to do for their new product, the Cobra Bite Beer for women.

No Jobs at MACWorld?
Steve Jobs is someone that has made quite a mark as far as his stance and appearance with each MAC event and experiencing one without him seems to be unusual. In fact, many would call it inferior which could lead to some rumors about business issues or health problems. Of the two, it is the latter that is spreading widely today.

What's in a Name?
Brands are not only for people. We have seen brands for people. Celebrities often try to deliberately cultivate their personal brands.

Burger King Burns Itself with Flame
Burger King may have been well off sticking to the burgers and fries line. Add of course some chicken and spaghetti to their product line is still within their jurisdiction. But a cologne called “Flame”? What the heck does this have to do with Burger King? The first thing that would come into mind is would you want to smell like a charcoaled burger?

EA Hit for PGA 09 Wii Version
While the game may be the same, the game consoles are different. Among the things we notice is that graphics should be better and different if you cater to the various game consoles like Nintendo Wii and Xbox 360.

An Animated Ad Holiday from Apple
Go back in time where marionettes such as fabled stories of “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” and “Santa Claus” were significant figures during the Christmas season, they are now being used as key characters as far as advertising tactics by Apple. Actually, if you look at these commercials they were just transformed to the animated version of “You are a Mac and I am a PC” ad. It was just the performers were transformed into puppets this time around. These ads originally came out in 2007.

Comedy Romance May Affect your Love Life
We all love to watch the romantic movies with a twist of comedy in them. While we normally don’t put much weight on what people do, some idiotic in nature and the last thing we would try in real life, a study revealed that they are not good for people wanting a good love life. "Marriage counselors often see couples who believe that sex should always be perfect, and if someone is meant to be with you then they will know what you want without you needing to communicate it.

Pamela Anderson Models for Westwood
Fashion designers not only have an eye for choosing the right person to endorse their line and for Vivienne Westwood, Pamela Anderson is it. Pam Anderson has been known to be a good choice in most commercials, dressing wisely and seen as a good trendsetter who values the quality of the clothes and apparel she wears. So she is now the new face of Westwood. Expect a lot of new stuff with her upfront. It will not be surprising if Westwood jacks up sales better with her around.

“Shoe-thrower” and “Pulitzer”: The New Buzz Words
If you suddenly hear “shoes” as the new buzz word these days, don’t be surprised. This is only expected to happen ever since that much publicized shoe throwing incident in Iraq where a reporter threw his shoes at U.S. President Bush as a sign of payback for claiming the lives of a lot of people during the US-Iraq wars we are all familiar with.

The Real Home of the Whopper
There's been a lot of discussion about Crispin's latest effort for Burger King - the Whopper Virgins, questioning whether it's exploitive. I'm not going to address that, except to say that I don't think it is. What I'm going to address is the awesomeness of the whole undertaking from the perspective of someone who is charged with creating big ideas for a living.

Would You Sport a Lip Tattoo?
At first, it looks like a simple kiss mark. But once you see it each night, chances are it is something that was made personally for branding purposes. Denver Nuggets forward Kenyon Martin has gained quite attention from his tattooed lip marks on his neck and apparently there is a story to it other than simply wanting to be different.

The Real Losers on Low Sales this Christmas
As far as shopping is concerned, you would think that the real losers here would be the consumers. Some have not yet done their holiday shopping and with 9 days away from Christmas, you have to wonder what they would give to their special someone or loved ones. Then again, it would be safe to ask if they have any plans of buying anything at all.

Wolverine Coming This May in Theatres
The X-Men series may have been over and done with but this doesn’t mean we have heard the last of them. Following the cue of Star Wars, prequels to the hit Marvel comic movies are now lined-up starting with the most controversial member of the group, Wolverine (Hugh Jackman). Wolverine shows us how he was created, some scenes to which we may have already seen during the X-Men 2 movie. Hugh Jackman plays the part once again and for sure, this promises to be another blockbuster movie for 2009.

Madonna Agrees to $75 Million Divorce Settlement
While I had posted earlier that Madonna and Guy Ritchie have agreed to spend Christmas together for the sake of their kids some days back, it looks like this will be the last. The divorce proceedings are practically wrapped up as Madonna reportedly agreed to a $75 Million divorce deal with her estranged husband. They have three children -- Rocco, born to the couple in 2000; David, adopted from Malawi; and Lourdes, Madonna's daughter from her previous relationship with dancer Carlos Leon.

Tara Reid Undergoes Rehab
Actress Tara Reid has reportedly admitted herself to a rehabilitation center in Malibu California for an undisclosed addiction. Partying most of the time, it would not be surprising if this has something to do with alcohol or even drugs. Tara Reid is no stranger to issues. In 2005 the top of her dress fell down exposing her left breast in front of photographers while Reid was on a red carpet and pictures of scars on her abdomen left by botched liposuction became widely circulated on the Internet during the airing of her 2005 series "Taradise" where traveled the world to get her drink on.

Big Three tries to "clean up" their image
I found this interesting article from PRWeek.com regarding the Auto bailout failure: Automakers took a serious blow last night when the Senate rejected the industry's bailout plan. Although help could still come from the the White House, Detroit's Big Three continue to depend on their communications departments and PR agencies to help them navigate a particularly uncertain future.

Online brokerage firm spurns 'baby talk' in new effort
Another great article from PRWeek.com: Investools, the educational division of online brokerage firm Thinkorswim, launched the “401(k) New Year's Baby Scholarship” campaign this past Monday, December 8. It's a companion program to an advertising push, both of which stress the importance of investment training.

Does Your Social Media Program Include Sponsored Blog Posts?
Here I found something interesting from PRNewser: Blogs and Twitter were abuzz this weekend, and still are, regarding the topic of "sponsored blog posts." The debate over sponsored posts is nothing new, but was re-hashed when well known and respected social media consultant Chris Brogan wrote a sponsored post for K-Mart on a blog he writes for, Dad-o-Matic.

Haggling Season to be Jolly
Christmas is here and when it comes to shopping, don’t expect customers to be satisfied with the special Christmas discount sales that are spread anywhere near your neighborhood. Surely, they would want more and some add-ons as well.

“Babysitter Wanted” Starts Targeting with College Teens
Babysitting is known to be a good money-making scheme for teens who want to earn a decent buck. In fact, most teens are aware of it and perhaps the best way to seriously consider taking a babysitting job is to see some commercials with a twist of comedy in them.

Commercials that Sell Education
Some clips and short films that we see on television are not always limited to the commercials created to sell a product or service. Other forms of advertising aim to educate and build the learning blocks of the kids and at times the adults. Such was the aim of such old school education animated shorts like Disney’s School House Rock. At first glance they may seem to be without a goal. But as a kid, other than being glued to the animated character they see, they can pick up from educational teachings such as word learning that pairs itself with some kids tunes on the side.

Jennifer Connelly Never Stood Still
Jennifer Connelly, a famous actress for her award-winning performance opposite Russel Crowe some years back admitted that she never heard of the movie she found herself in, “The Day the Earth Stood Still”. Only when she read the script was she excited to do the role, playing the part of an astrobiologist that studies a sent alien (Keanu Reeves) to whom the fate of the earth lied.

President Obama's weekly address
President-elect Obama has just announced that the weekly address will no longer be shown on television. Instead, the address will air on the radio and be posted immediately on YouTube. These talks originated with FDR and were called "fireside chats", and every president since then has done them, either on the radio or on television. Posting them immediately on YouTube will allow a greater audience to hear the remarks, and to respond, as long as they keep the comments turned on.

2009 Social Media Predictions
Peter Kim has done the leg work for you. He's created an ebook with a collection of forward looking thoughts on the social media space for 2009. The contributors include 14 individuals who live and breath social media. The individual authors provide insightful content that will give you plenty to think about as you consider your own social media plans for the coming year.

Jay Leno: Media’s Changing Face
Looking past last week’s hoopla surrounding U.S. talk show “king” Jay Leno’s move to NBC prime time, don’t overlook digital new media’s part in bringing about the first five-nights-a-week prime time program. As TV fragmented with a 10-fold increase in channels the last 20 years, the later portion of that period saw the Internet and digital media grow rapidly.

Church Leverages Media to Reach Out
Church attendance is down in the United States. The public has become disillusioned with the church, and alternative belief systems are flourishing.

Packed Preserved “Fruits Undressed” in Hot Advertising Race
Advertising may be minimal for some companies but not for leaders in certain category markets. Del Monte and Sunkist, two leading brands as far as packaged fruits drinks and prepackaged fruits are gearing up for a hot race towards consumer preference as they are aggressively mapping out their marketing plan of attack to maintain their hold in their category.

Marketing to the Wrong Class with Facebook
Fact1 : Facebook is the largest and most popular social networking sites today and such has captured billions of subscribers to open an account and making them a potential nesting ground as far as possible buyers online.

Mumbai Model Makes it Big in Hollywood
While Mumbai is now associated with war no thanks to the instability the country is encountering, it has overshadowed the success of one model turned actress, Freida Pinto, who was recently handed an award at the Toronto Film Festival for her role in Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire. After her obvious success for Slumdog Millionaire, expect more movie role offers to come Freida’s way. She is just starting her career and yet she has gained noticed!

Former Broadcaster Weeps at Credit Crunch
Today, who is not affected by the credit crunch? Add a couple of business deals gone bad as well as some lawsuits and financial mismanagement, you may just find yourself in debt, something that most people are in right now with nothing to lay their shoulder upon. Such is the predicament that former queen of daytime TV and highest paid broadcaster Anthea Turner has to face as she reveals that she may eventually lose her mansion due to a series of debts that they are facing. Compounding the woes are some bad business deals that have burdened their financial capacity and it seems that she is in a whole heap of trouble.

Madonna and Guy Call a Truce for the Holidays
They may be in the divorce proceedings but for the sake of their children, singer-actress Madonna and Guy Ritchie have reportedly called a truce and will be spending Christmas together for the sake of their kids. This developed as both have joint custody of their kids. Aside from the division of assets and financial belongings, the matter of where their kids will be staying has been included in the divorce proceedings.

Irony in Branding
Last night, I was at a local tourist trap. Evidently, there is some kind of event happening up at the place these days. It looks like some sort of winter carnival, and it appears to be for charity. Anyway, there were signs everywhere telling who the sponsors of this wonderful event are. And this grouping of sponsors has been branded as "Parnters in Excellence."

Brad Pitt Turning Japanese
Do you know how popular Brad Pitt is today? You may see him in the movies and maybe a couple of ads in the U.S. But like other celebrities who have opened their doors to other opportunities like Asia, Brad Pitt has come out with a Japanese Cell Phone Commercial. How did he fare? Check out the video and you be the judge.

Gwyneth Paltrow Stressed for the Holidays
The best way to fight stress is to hide out. At least that is what actress Gwyneth Paltrow is doing as she and her husband Chris Martin of ColdPlay have decided to keep it low at their London home, away from the limelight.

Tom Cruise is No "Elvis"
Tom Cruise has a knack of doing the impossible. Unfortunately, this time around he made a fool of himself again. Appearing on the Jay Leno show, Tom was being asked about his wife Katie Holmes with regards to working on Broadway. Not to be outdone, Cruise went a little back down memory lane and revealed that he had a part of musical productions as well.

Hilary Duff Endorses Disney Mobile Ad
Hilary Duff is a Disney Girl at heart and apparently doing a commercial for the millions of Disney fans out there via mobile ads is something that she would love to do. Not only is it for her building her reputation and spotlight, it is geared more towards helping promote the slim phones from Japan. Hilary sings the classics, “A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes” and “When You Wish Upon A Star.” She even performs the “Mickey Mouse March” that Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake and Keri Russell used to sing once upon a time.

Change in Uniform for the Boston Red Sox’ “Hanging Sox”
In the world of sports, teams will always have their new sets of uniforms. Then again, there are some who stick to tradition since it has already been identified with them. But for the Boston Red Sox, new uniforms have been unveiled. Will it make a difference? Some teams have made this a superstitious belief while others are banking on fashion in the sporting world. Whatever the case may be, brace yourselves for a new look as far as the Boston Red Sox are concerned.

Who Deserves to Be CatWoman?
The Dark Knight craze continues and owing to it success, rumors are flying that Catwoman will be the next villain that will go up against Batman. Who will play it? Well it is a toss-up between the leading actresses in Hollywood today. Who are being considered? Check out this list: 1. Rachel Weisz (The Mummy) 2. Julie Newmar 3. Angelina Jolie

KB Toy Company Files Bankruptcy
Talk about bad timing, toys are the main attraction whenever the holidays come into play. But for KB company, one of the largest toy companies in the U.S., has reportedly filed for Chapter 11 as it plans to close its stores and begin liquidation sales in the middle of the season.

Building the Obama Brand
Building the Obama Brand

The Day the Brands Stood Tall
Product placement has become a science in itself. Commercials no longer command attention, as consumers run to the fridge during a commercial or just fast forward through. So placing a product within the movie or television show the consumer is watching has become the new tactic.

Creating Ads Beyond the Images
When ads are created, many feel that the right image, layout and location seem to be all that is important. But what about the things that help describe or define the ad to which viewers can depict the intent and purpose of the ad. Creative and digital imagery have done a lot to change all these beliefs. Gone are the days when studio shots had to be improvised and had to serve a lot of proofs before they would be entirely be chosen to carry an ad.

Jennifer Aniston Proves Magazine Niche with GQ
Actress Jennifer Aniston has proven once again that she still has it when it comes to branding her personal image as far as magazines are concerned. She has been the apple of the eye of the paparazzi to which many assumptions have been made with regards to her current status. Aniston is best remembered as being the former wife of heartthrob Brad Pitt. She has been rumored to be pregnant as well with current boyfriend John Mayer. With all these distractions part of her life, can she perhaps make an impact on the big screen?

Looking at the Other Side of Online Banking
Surely most of us are aware that most banks today are introducing new ways to enhance our banking needs. But on another note, we fail to realize that this electronic improvement also adheres towards eco-friendly proportions, particularly in the area of preaching a paper-less environment. That is not all. If you are holding an account with Citizens Bank, you may even get something on the side like earning while doing transactions.

Pin Up Queen Bettie Page Dies at 85
What does it take to be a Pin Up Queen? Well dating back to the 1950s, no one defines it better than the Queen herself, Bettie Page. Unfortunately, the Pin Up Queen has succumbed to a bout with pneumonia Thursday in Los Angeles. She was 85. Page had originally been admitted four weeks ago since suffering a heart attack. She never regained consciousness since then. She has no children.

Cancer Institute streamlines comms function with Ogilvy
Here's an interesting article from PRWeek.com: The National Cancer Institute (NCI) recently tapped Ogilvy PR Worldwide for a five-year contract to provide communications support, following an internal restructuring at NCI. The PR budget is nearly $3 million in the first year.

We are all PR Pros
Public relations is a lot of things and cannot be described with only one word. For example, every day public relations specialists deal with disappointment, one could say that we excel in the art of cushioning the blow. Positivity is another outstanding attribute of a PR specialist. One word that is generally not linked to a PR pro, though one that sincerely fits; is negotiator.

Worst Case of Advertising by Gillette
This case proves that investing heavily in the big names of the sports industry but failing to create a good script or storyline for the ad is proof of an entire waste of money. Imagine Tiger Woods, Roger Federer and Thierry Henry in one ad. These are ingredients for an entirely expectant viewing audience. Gillette made it possible. However, as far as their delivery of a good ad is concerned, it seems that they have totally failed in making the most of this expected million-dollar production. What a waste of money!

Paula Abdul Haunted by Fan’s Death
Even if any of us were in Paula Abdul’s shoes, knowing for a fact that a person died right outside her home would be totally haunting. Not that this is pointed at the possible visit of ghosts or bad spirits, but the death of die-hard fanatic Paula Goodspeed is really disturbing. For her troubles, Paula Abdul has had sleepless nights since the events occurred. But what is she to do? Making a name for yourself aside from being drop dead gorgeous are you marketing tools. Should she move or perhaps stay somewhere else for the meantime?

Meth Ads Need Improvement
If there is one thing about educating the public, you need to research and now more about the effects of drugs such as Meth. Apparently the people behind the new Meth or Ice ads are failing miserably to convince teens of the effects of relying heavily on it and chances are they have to retract and improve on it rather than become a laughing stock for trying. "They look at those ads and they don't see themselves or their friends because the first few times they use ice they simply feel euphoria,"

Avoid the Work At Home Scams
Now that many people have lost their jobs, chances are they will try anything, including work at home opportunities to which some people have turned to in lieu of their actual jobs. But the thing here is you have to be careful. Such is an opportunity to rob people of money and if there is one thing you have to consider, never spend for memberships that promises employment in return. You will come across a lot of success stories. Some may even claim that they can earn as much as $300 a day. When you look for jobs, there are no fees. It has been proven that there are sites who seek a fee and act as placement agencies on the web. Look deeper into the web and you will find a lot of sites that offer telecommute jobs like blogging, content writing and data entry positions.

Social Media Etiquette
I'm sure we've all wondered how to go about being social, especially on the internet, and especially with regards to social networking sites. Tamar Weinberg, a self-proclaimed social media consultant and tech geek, has wondered the same thing, and as such has released a guide to the etiquette of being social. She outlines the proper way to communicate and connect on all the popular social media sites, as well as how to network with others and make blogging connections.

Perks programs
Combining best of two worlds--online social community and perks programs--is perkler. I am a member of a few perks programs myself, filling up my SUV for $14.50 a couple of weeks ago because of it. I haven't tried perkler myself, but find it an interesting concept. >Check it out for yourself.

For those non-commercial types out there
Okay, so if I had my way I'd be celebrating Festivus. I think it's particularly fitting given our economy and country's current state of affairs.

Mind mapping software
mind 42 is an example of mind mapping software Mind mapping (for the sake of this post) is a visual representation of brain storming/ideation. Various uses in writing, education, creative fields, etc. exist. Just about any use of ideation can implement mindmapping software.

Beware of the Doghouse
JC Penny's has come up with a clever site to help promote their jewelery line during the holiday season. There are several marketing techniques we can learn from BewareOfTheDoghouse.com: » Create a short video (less than 5 minutes) that can be spread virally and increase brand awareness » Use social networks, such as Facebook, to integrate with your website to help spread your message's reach

Controversial ads can help boost a brand
Lately there has been some controversial ads "floating" about the internet. Here is an interesting article on two of them. Burger King Whopper Virgins and Pepsi Lone Calorie: While the Pepsi Max ad only ran in a German publication, it was duplicated online, and some, including the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, criticized the soft-drink maker for its insensitivity.

Don’t Posterize Subway Windows
Subway windows may not be opened for air but they do have a bearing as far as light and visibility on what is outside during travel. We all know that ads are needed to help finance and get some revenue but perhaps looking at where they should be placed should exclude the windows. There are many places to put ads such as the body of the train or even the steps or the inner roof. But as far as placing it on windows, they may not be used as much or may help fend off light.

Pepsi Launches Pepsi MAX QR Codes
Who better than to use model Kelly Brook to spearhead the viral feature ads being unveiled by Pepsi for its Pepsi MAX QR codes promotion. The 60 second commercial is being produced by Graphico that will be used for online ads and will be seen in popular social networking sites like Facebook and FHM. The video is part of the campaign to promote QR codes recently introduced onto the entire 400 million packs of Pepsi drinks. The QR codes were launched by Pepsi last month as a gateway to a specially created microsite. Consumers snap the code panel using their mobile and the QR reader connects the handset to the site.

Sony Launches Virtual Realities for PS3 Home Owners
Virtual reality has paused a bit ever since the 90’s but may soon be placed back in the limelight as Sony has announced the launch of its "Home" 3D social community for the PlayStation 3", enabling users to roam through a virtual universe filled with life-like characters. This new strategy is aimed at raising the ante that their competitor, Nintendo Wii has done with its aggressive marketing and development for its own game console.

Leave the Monkey Home
There are people who love to get a monkey for their own but the case of this one with Gypsy Lawson takes the cake. Imagine faking herself to be pregnant so that she can transport a monkey via her loose blouse to avoid the paper work and law violations? She almost got away with it but unfortunately failed in smuggling the sedated animal.

What’s the Big Deal with Oprah’s Weight?
Why is the weight of talk show host Oprah Winfrey so important to many people? Could it be because there was a time she showed up trim and fit only to gain weight once again? Why is it so important in the eyes of many? Gossip or curiosity? This is perhaps an area in the entertainment world that everyone is familiar with. Oprah’s weight is quite a big deal and for them, something gives. The funny thing is that there are a lot of other celebrities who may be heavier than her but are not gaining much attention. Is there something we do not know?

Bristol-Myers Squibb Launches Mandarin Ads
Catering to various languages will always be a benefit, particularly for companies aiming to cater to a global market. But in this case, Bristol-Myers Squibb is unveiling a new ad mainly to spread the issue of chronic Hepatitis B, a diseases that is alarmingly hitting the Chinese community. The campaign features two chronic Hepatitis B patients in 60-second television segments with an educational message about the importance of seeking appropriate care.

Forces365
Forces365 is a website designed to be like Facebook, but for military families. It hopes to help keep families connected when their loved ones are overseas, and for continuing contact with their fellow soldiers once they are back on home ground. Forces365.com is the first, and leading social and reuniting network website for the ex and serving men and women in the Armed Forces. The site is also open for anyone with an interest in the military, and is completely free of charge 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.

MySpace and Google Join Forces
In an effort to beat down Facebook, in the social networking wars, MySpace and Google have announced that they are joining forces to increase their usability. The alliance, unveiled late Monday in Paris, builds upon MySpace's seven-month-old effort to make it easier for the 127 million worldwide users of its online hangout to connect with their social circles while they're at other Internet destinations.

Google Street View Expands
Today, Google doubled the amount of area that they cover with their "street view." Street view is a feature used with google maps and earth where a user can type in an (pretty much any, now) address in the US and see a street level perspective. This tool is useful, but be careful or you will find yourself spending countless hours looking at the store fronts of every restaurant you've ever been to.

Australia Fails to Use Kidman Movie for Tourism
It was tipped to help improve the tourism efforts of Australia but it looks like the film itself failed miserably. Was it a case of poor locations or poor performance? Ask the critics and they can tell you that this movie is a flop.

Burger King “Burger Virgins” Questioned
As far as trying to achieve another milestone in trying to set a differentiating factor as far as making their burgers stand out, Burger King has taken a different route, picking illiterate knowing hamburger folks to see if their burger is truly the best in the food world. The idea is keen but the procedure and perhaps the tactic is what critics are looking at.

Companies eye Hispanic market with holiday-season campaigns
Here is an interesting article from PRWeek.com: A number of companies are reaching out to Hispanics with tailored campaigns this holiday season. Holiday campaigns that tap into family togetherness and culture are a strong way to attract Hispanic consumers, said Armando Azarloza, president of The Axis Agency, a Los Angeles-based multicultural agency which focuses on Hispanic PR.

PR v. Journalism, Making the Transition
It's no secret that the few unethical and perhaps over eager journalists who seem to seek out trouble. In a manor of speaking, these are the few who choose to dig up dirt as a primary source of news, and purposely or not, these few blacken the reputations of those honorable and fact finding journalists. Having previously been a journalist myself and having the passion for writing that I do, it does pain me that so many men and women base their opinions of journalists on those few, causing many people to see journalists in a negative light.

Madonna wins Lawsuit for Stolen Wedding Photos
It is always tough for magazines and tabloids to just publish photos without knowing first where they originated. More so, if you run into a truck named Madonna, expect the worst as she will definitely sue you for everything you got. Apparently, British Tabloid The Mail is facing the lawsuit for publishing photos from her 2000 wedding to Guy Ritchie. It was also found out that another magazine, OK!, is likewise in the same boat.

Snowboard Season is Here!
As far as enjoying the holidays, some countries are bound to need some promotional push for their products. Just take a look at this snowboard commercial. Though it may seem that the other uses of a snowboard are aiming to make it a multi-dimensional product, the message is loud and clear. An infomercial starring Billy Mays, remember, it is hitting the right words to get the right attention. A little bit unorthodox but it gets the job done.

Friend Feed in Francais
FriendFeed has long been used in languages other than English, but now, it's official, and Friend Feed is available in several other languages. German, French, Spanish, Japanese, Russian and “simplified” Chinese will all now have their own version of FriendFeed. These are the six most popular languages on FriendFeed outside of English, so it’s logical that they would be the first six to get their own sites, but FriendFeed plans to support many other languages in the future

Blackbird:Customizing Browsing for African Americans
Blackbird is a new standalone browser, developed along the lines of Firefox. The developers are hoping to help customize news and social interactions for African Americans. Blackbird was developed on the simple proposition that we, as the African American community, can make the Internet experience better for ourselves and, in doing so, make it better for everyone. Primarily we believe that the Blackbird application can make it easier to find African American related content on the Internet and to interact with other members of the African American community online by sharing stories, news, comments and videos via Blackbird.

Common Sense Prevails
As our economy falls apart, Obama speaks some common sense. Perhaps late, but better than never, he outlines a plan including revamping technology in our schools. I find this a far better investment of government (read:taxpayer) funds. Instead of dumping money into failing ventures, invest money into our country's future: our children. This is a long term investment, that if played right will reap rewards far into the future.

Track expenses via Twitter and Xpenser
There are so many apps and extensions that work with Twitter, it's hard to keep them all straight. Many of them are sort of fluffy and fun, and don't serve any real purpose save making you smile. That is not true of Xpenser. Xpenser is a web-based app, it tracks and documents expenses and mileage, and it a handy tool for anyone traveling for work. We were fed up with how painful expense reports and tracking were. After many experiments we found a workable solution: record expenses as soon as they happen and forget about them.

Facebook Connect goes Live
Like I reported back in October, Facebook was standing on the edge, waiting for their Facebook Connect platform to go live. They reported it would be live November 30, and they were only a week or so off. Facebook announced today, that Connect is live. While intended for web developers to use, it will connect web surfing and social networking in a new, innovative way. They have many different aspects of the service they are showcasing,

MarketingSherpa's 2009 Email Marketing Awards
Here’s your chance to get some recognition for your email savvy: Enter MarketingSherpa's 2009 Email Marketing Awards competition. The fourth annual competition honors B2B and consumer marketers for email campaigns that really work. Think response rate, overall strategy and campaign goal. Categories include:

Britney the Brand
A recent news story commented about how Nicole Kidman had exhibited poor mothering skills, according to that particular journalist. The story commented how, in doing so, Kidman was "pulling a Britney Spears."

A Great Value Becomes Less Great
have never mistaken a McDonald's Double Cheeseburger for gourmet food. However, when I need a quick snack and I am out and about, I might pull in for a double cheeseburger off McDonald's dollar value menu.

Branding rules over Celebrity Endorsement
Most companies are trying to save on advertising these days and this study is bound to be a big boost to their promotional practices. Just in case they want to come out with good ads, they may not need to hire big time celebrities whose talent fees go rise above the roof.

AnHeuser Busch Faces Anti-Beer Campaign
The Super Bowl has already had a number of big time advertisers beg off and while they have secured one with AnHeuser-Busch, it seems like if the anti-beer campaign succeeds, they may likewise be pulled from the line-up ads for the biggest event of the year.

GoDaddy Places Danica Patrick Ad at Superbowl 2009
GoDaddy has long been a familiar name as far as airing hot and sensual ads. But this time around, it is not WWE superstar Candice Michelle on hand but Danica Patrick. The theme of the commercial ad to be aired at the 2009 Superbowl is racy and sexist. But while many people are anticipating it, don’t be in a hurry to see it first. The commercials still have to be approved by NBC-TV censors, who catapulted Go Daddy to national infamy in 2005 when they pulled its commercial after one airing.

Heath Ledger May Win an Oscar
It is just too bad that if ever he wins an Oscar, he will not be physically around to receive it. Heath Ledger who played Joker in the film “The Dark Knight”, died of pain killer overdose some months back but this early, many are talking about his role in the blockbuster movie. It may be the first time that a villain shows up the hero but one has to wonder, was it really his role in the film that earned the attention or his death? Whatever it is, he would have been very happy and proud of the award if he were still alive to accept it.

Chanel To Star Jerry Hall
Chanel has been known to sign the finest and beautiful women in the world of entertainment today and it seems that they have added another beauty in the person of long time Chanel fan Jerry Hall. Hall is reportedly going to spearhead the Chanel handbag campaign and many are eagerly awaiting to see the ad which promises to be another classic by Karl Lagerfield. Chanel is renouned for its lavish and always beautifully shot ads, which have previously featured a 'Moulin Rouge'-esque tale starring Nicole Kidman for Chanel No.5 and Keira Knightley baring all for Coco Mademoiselle.

Visibility is Still Important in Sponsorships
One thing about sponsors, they are ready to pay enormous amounts just to have a logo or insignia present in clothes or shorts. But as far as knowing how many are endorsing and fighting for positioning so that they can be seen on national television is something else

Can Ads Help Boost Bank Loans?
If you are in the place of most banks today, one thing you would want to get by is on how to get people to take out loans. It is no secret that people have now stayed away from incurring additional expenditures and loans are perhaps one of the key contributors as far as adding to their daily expenses.

Abrams' controversial new firm fills niche
Here's some interesting news about Dan Abrams' new firm. Taken from PRWeek.com: Dan Abrams learned shortly after announcing the launch of his new consulting firm, Abrams Research, the sting of the working press. The aim of Abrams Research, which the former GM of MSNBC calls a global network of current and former media pros, will be to match a network member with a Fortune 500 company or PR firm client looking to expand media strategy. You can read more about the firm here.

WaMu to lose 93% of PR unit
As the recession continues, the next likely candidate to go on the endangered species list are PR reps. Ridiculous decision, I agree - but its already starting. JPMorgan Chase will be laying off 42 out of 45 corporate communications staffers at recently acquired Washington Mutual. The layoffs were among the 9,200 overall staffers cut at WaMu last week, according to Tom Kelly, head of regional and retail media relations. On December 1, 33 communications staffers received 60 days'

Social Media Agency vs. PR Agency
Here is a very article from PR-squared.com: There’s no question: Social Media is having an enormous, life-altering impact on the communications industry. Everything is changing.

Microsoft Selling Shirts for Softwear
Not all people had the privilege of getting Microsoft t-shirts that were really released by the Bill Gates- owned company. But while that was ages ago, Microsoft aficionados can have the chance to own them now with their retro promotional tactic named “Softwear”. This is Softwear by Microsoft. A clothing line that taps the nostalgia of when PCs were just starting to change our lives. With retro logos, classic photos, and geek-chic iconography, these pieces showcase the DOS days of the software company that now connects over a billion people.

Robertson Jam Folding Up
Being around for 144 years is an achievement in itself but folding up is the hardest thing to do. This is the plight of one of the familiar brands we see in the industry today.

Smoking Ads up in Smoke
Spending $900,000 dollars in smoking ads is a lot of money and if the Boston Public Health Commission votes to expand smoking restrictions, all of these ads are going to be useless.

Gearing up for the SuperBowl
Some companies have retracted their ads for the upcoming Superbowl, the haven for new commercials to be released while others have had a field day of pouring it in. Among the notable names include alcoholic beverage giant Anheuser-Busch which will reportedly feature Clydesdale horses in its first Superbowl commercial since it was acquired by Europe’s InBev. “The Clydesdales are not going away and Budweiser and Anheuser-Busch are here," said Bob Lachky, the brewer's chief creative officer.

Medical Advice on YouTube in Question
YouTube has so far been the main site where you can get latest videos ranging from shows, wild videos and tutorials. This includes medical advice to which has drawn varied criticism on their legality. By legality of course is being aimed at indirect marketing to which video ads from companies like Abbott Laboratories, Medtronic Inc. and Stryker Corp. are using this privilege to reach their market. Prescription Project says the devicemakers are exploiting a loophole in the law governing direct-to-consumer ads.

Social commerce
So, are you shopping online or instore? I personally detest battling the crowds, unless I can't find something online or don't have time to wait for shipping then I buy online. I also find less cookie cutter type merchandise online. After moving from NYC to a midwestern town, I really missed the variety NYC offers. Stuff you really can't find anywhere else. Thank God for online stores like threadless.com, or else I'd be making my own clothes.

Stolichnaya Makes Bold Pitch
In a move to go a bit in the lines of catering to the 25 to 34 year old vodka drinkers, Stolichnaya has reportedly unveiled its new and bold ad that contains "In a world of gold diggers, hustlers and pretenders, Stolichnaya is the only true thing.”

Apple Measures Popularity via Downloads
One thing about having a good website is that you can measure the popularity of your business through visitors and downloaded files or programs from the mother site. Apple has so far been making waves with its iPhone and the programs that can be downloaded from there sight and if 300 million apps downloaded are not significant, then Apple executives need to have their heads examined.

Brand Yourself With Loyalty
There used to be a chain of gaming stores called Gamer's Paradise. They were in malls all over the United States, and sold various board games, puzzles, activities, trinkets, and more. They no longer exist. A few months ago, they began closing all of their stores. Much like other stores are being forced to do in the current economic climate.

The One-Two Punch
What is more important - having a great product, or slick marketing?

Best Buy Canada fights back...
Recently, there was a email that was sent out regarding Best Buy Canada; it has now gone viral. The email states that Best Buy Canada was going out of business. Best Buy Canada went on the offensive to counter an e-mail that had gone viral that suggested the electronics retailer was going out of business. The e-mail claimed Best Buy Canada was owned by Circuit City, which recently filed for bankruptcy protection, and that its gift cards would no longer be valid.

A Peak into Madonna’s Luis Vutton Ads
Madonna’s appearance and endorsement of Louis Vutton was not really surprising. It has actually been rumored even before it was shot. But while that is in the past, the ads are here and we can see a glimpse of the ads set to hit the streets by the spring or summer of 2009. 'It’s a big change from what we were doing. It tells a story,' Antoine Arnault, Louis Vuitton’s director of communications, told WWD today.

Tracfone Cracking on Cell Phone Trafficking
With the advent of prepaid mobile phones, devious minds are using it as a business of sorts by hoarding large amounts of mobile phones and then distributing them as their own locally and abroad. Such trafficking activities have been gaining attention and while Tracfone is doing its part to put everything in order, they have a long road ahead. This is something familiar in the world where people hoard and try to make a business out of it.

Jennifer Aniston Being All Mixed Up
One thing about being in the showbiz industry, watch what you say. Writers and publishers will do anything to exaggerate a story and by using your remarks or quotes, they earn a living by selling their newspaper, magazine or even tabloids. "I was just surprised that Vogue would go so tabloid," she tells the latest issue of Entertainment Weekly, adding that the quotes were taken out of context. "I was bummed. But you almost expect it. Big deal. Done. Next."

Breaking Away from a Stereotype
used to be an insurance agent. I didn't like it. And people didn't like me. The insurance industry does not give people warm fuzzies. In fact, insurance agents rank slightly above used car salesmen and IRS agents in the public consciousness.

Nestle Pulls the Plug of Wonka Brands
Obesity can be seen as the prime reason on why Nestle pulled out most of its chocolate and candy lines in kids TV show commercials and apparently we will be seeing more healthy food and diet meals in the next couple of days.

Kraft’s Small Act of Kindness
In a move to help do its part in the world-wide trent in which advertisers provide a small act of kindness to their consumers, Kraft Foods has reportedly posted ads on several bus shelters carrying the message "Cold, provided by winter. Warmth, provided by us". It's a good night for Stove Top."

Personalize your M&Ms
M&M has long been a familiar chocolate treat for kids and now you can even personalize it thanks to this new marketing gimmick unveiled by Mars Direct where people can actually place their face on the chocolate candies.

Live Nation Partners with the Dying!
Brett Cooper, one of the three wiz-kids from the Artists House Music blog, posted an article describing the new deal between the ticketing/concert promoter/entertainment co. Live Nation and Blockbuster (yes thats right, Blockbuster). In trying to find a single intelligible point about why this deal was made, Brett brings up a few:

smibs.com helping you keep it all together
Smibs.com is in public beta now, and the easiest way to explain this service to think of linkedin, but with a project oriented interface. It allows users to find groups and work together in a convenient and easy to use format. Using smibs.com in conjunction with smibs.com/net, the social networking side of the site, means that no you no longer have to log into different apps and sites in order to collaberate with your group. Everything can be handled right from the same pages.

This Seatbelt Ad Will Never Do
We all know the importance of wearing car seatbelts. However, when it comes to showing people the potential outcomes from not wearing them is another. We can dramatize them but perhaps it would be better to do it in a way that it does not become too gruesome to watch. If the watchdogs see this ad, it is bound to be banned for being too abrupt. Good intent but perhaps it needs a lighter approach in the form of conceptualization for the viewing audience.

Team Jordan Aims to Become Legendary
Nike has always been known as a successful familiar brand and apparently with the three new TV ads that they will be unveiling soon starring NBA stars Chris Paul, Rip Hamilton and Carmelo Anthony, they are eyeing now less than legendary status. The “Become legendary” tagline and its theme of inspiring people to exceed their own potential will be the focus of the brand “for a long time to come,” said Burke. “We will build a foundation around that and invest it with meaning.”

Electronic Arts Buys South Korean Game Developer
Electronic Arts is a familiar name in the gaming industry and while they always come up with catchy games that end up as top games in demand, they have added another branch to their fold in expanding their game development sectors. Electronic Arts on Wednesday announced it had purchased J2MSoft Inc., a South Korean developer of online games for personal computers. "J2M is an experienced team of developers and we can't wait to have them start creating online games based on new properties and powerful EA franchises," he added in a statement.

Google Wants to Rule the World
You know your company has reached a benchmark when the name of the company becomes a verb. Remember the days of "xeroxing" something? Ever pointed to a tissue and asked for a "Kleenex?"

Do You See What I See?
One of my favorite ways to brainstorm is with images. When I'm just beginning to work on a project I like to look at photos and illustrations to see what kinds of ideas I can build from what I see. I sometimes start with stock books or stock sites, but for a wider variety of pictures I usually do a Google image search. I type in a keyword and then start clicking my way through the thousands and thousands of images. After exploring the first few pages of results I usually jump to the very last results pages, because that's where the really tenuous connections to your keyword happen, and where the most interesting ideas seem to be waiting.

Italian Wine Brands For Sale
The problem with successful brands in a long line of promising products is always focus and how to flourish them. So what is a company to do in such a case? In the case of Brown-Forman, selling brands to groups who can develop and provide their other Italian wine brands seems to be a the better option.

Activision Signs with Microsoft
Activision has long been known as one of the successful game developing companies in the world. Among its marquee games include World of Warcraft and Guitar Hero. The deal calls for providing ads for 18 game titles and for online game service Battle.net, the same server that made Diablo and Starcraft popular to early online gamers.

Origami Instructions on ATM Receipts
When you make a withdrawal, the ATM receipt is important for checking if the transaction was consistent. But after you have gotten that, what would be next?

A Tool Called Twitter
Guy Kawasaki lays out 10 rules for turning Twitter into a tool on his blog. Forget the “influentials.” Defocus your efforts. Get as many followers as you can. Monitor what people are saying about you, your company, and your product. Ask for help.

Lullar.com
Lullar.com is a quick and easy way to find people across social networks. Entering an email address, user name, first or last names allows you to search across all the social networks. I used it, and it quickly showed me where each of my email addresses is registered, even reminding me of a couple of sites I had forgotten I had registered at. I see this could be a useful way of monitoring your own registered sites, as well as monitoring a childs' activities or usage.

Miley Cyrus Renews Stand on Controversial Shoot
Back in April, Miley Cyrus was hit by a lot of controversies, particularly that photo shoot where she appeared bare backed with only a bed sheet to cover her up. She has since been sorry for the whole thing, calling it embarrassing and something she regretted. But now, she has had a change of heart and has expressed she would want to do more poses in front of the camera with the same person who took her photos, Annie Leibovitz.

Google May Have Expanded Too Soon
Just when you thought that Google would not be affected by the expansion towards other online web services such as Google Checkout and Google TV Ads, what is happening nowadays is entirely different. In fact, it seems that Google would have been better off with its online ads although the sign of the times may be hitting them as well as advertisers are holding back on marketing aggressively.

The Hottest Names in 2008
As 2008 comes to a close in 4 weeks time, it is the month where looking back at the hottest names and the significant reports start to come out one by one. Among them include the hottest news and most searched terms or people for 2008 and you have to wonder what they are.

Never Judge Countries by Branding
One thing about building brands is that they have to collect good countries of distribution in their fold. This means prioritizing profitable and revenue promising countries but for some companies, there is more than just building a brand. It is about catering to a market that has promise and will really buy your brand.

Wanted: A New Tag for Fortified Wines
There are certain names we know wines and alcoholic drinks these days. These include: 1. Port 2. Sherry 3. Sparkling Wine 4. Burgundy 5. Moselle 6. Chablis There have been deals struck up and most of them are really inclined towards getting rights in using the tags and names.

American Car Brands Devalued
Aside from the fact that when you talk about American cars pointing to the big three, Ford, General Motors and Chrysler, you will notice that nothing really makes them stand out over the other. They stand for American muscle and luxury but outside of that, what else can you look forward to?

Saving Newspapers by ... Off-shoring?
"Many newspapers are dead men walking. They're going to be replaced by smaller, nimbler, multiple Internet-centric kinds of things such as what I'm pioneering." – James Macpherson, Editor and Publisher, Pasadena Now The ongoing demise of newspapers has been one of the hotter topics on these pages. Now, the subject switches from hot to downright inane. As headlined by Maureen Dowd’s weekend column, to save money – and themselves –

eMail Marketing Tips from Greg Cangialosi
Hubspot's Mike Volpe recently spoke with Greg Cangialosi regarding eMail marketing tips. I would like to touch on a few interesting things I gathered from Greg's advice: » If you are unhappy with your SEM conversion rates, try changing your landing pages to just ask for email opt-in.

LG Collins Sponsors Formula 1
In a time where most companies are withdrawing and holding back their advertising and promotional budgets, LG Collins seems to have a mapped out plan to make the economic crisis work in their favor. To many it may look like a risk but in the eyes of LG Collins, it is an opportunity to move forward while others are apprehensive of their future. Will it pay off?

Where is the Recycling Part of Nestle Bottled Water?
One thing about marketing eco-friendliness, make sure you are clear on your message and not providing vague statements. Especially if you are trying to convince a nation that your product adheres towards the eco-friendly standards set forth by most environmentalists, it would be best to stress how you plan to go about it. Nestle ads have so far been categorized as misleading since they don’t support their actual advertising theme on recycling. Rather, they have employed a vague statement clause that has put them under the light of potential “green washing”, something common for companies that simply claim green without really adhering to it.

Seminars and Workshops for Better Branding
.As far as establishing a good foundation, it would be best to always turn towards making sure that people know your product starting from the basics. Ideally, new products released in the market would have a hard time saturating their market niche mainly because factors such as existing players will make it doubly hard for them to get their act together in the early parts of the brand awareness of the product life cycle.

MBA or Apprenticeship with Seth Godin?
Today on Seth's Blog, the intellectual Seth Godin linked to his Squidoo Lens where he posted a job opporutnity for anyone looking to make a drastic change in their life/career. Seth is offering a six month program or "apprenticeship" where the chosen applicants will read and discuss books, work on Seth's projects, work on individual projects, and most importantly, have almost unlimited access to observe and work with Seth. If I were there I would try to suck as much information out his genius-brain as I could.

The Dying Impact of Brand Logos
It is customary practice to create corporate logos that will serve as the ultimate mark and eventually the head of brand recall for any product or service today. However, the process is really sensitive. Most logos that are globally known today seem simple to create but you may be surprised that the process towards conceptualizing it is really a hard one. Some emphasize on colors, others in shapes.

Jameson Trying out Disruptive Marketing Approach
Most companies have to think fast on what new innovative marketing approach to apply for their products and for Jameson, implementing a different approach termed as disruptive using outdoor-projection media can perhaps kick off their campaign on a bright note. Jameson Brand Director Wayne Hartunian said this type of outdoor advertising is the "perfect medium" for the whiskey.

Black Friday Full of Surprises
Another Black Friday shopping bonanza has come and gone. Surprises were to be found on both sides of the cash register.

Prepare Brains for Brand Retention
When it comes to branding, you have to make sure that the first thing you can address is how to enter the person’s mind and stay there. That is the hard part compared to retaining its essence. Branding is about building your product through gathering the interests of most people at first and eventually that can be done through analysis and observation of the market trends.

THINK! Campaign to Hand out Free Cokes
.In a move to remind people and further push towards the awareness of “Do not Drink and Drive during the Holidays”, Road Safety minister Jim Fitzpatrick has unveiled a new campaign offering Free Coke to be handed-out to drivers who volunteer not to touch a drop of alchohol on evenings out at hundreds of pubs on Merseyside during the festive season.

Shedding Light on Financial Darkness
Against the recent U.S. presidential election and the ongoing world financial crisis, we’ve entered a cycle where Internet and digital new media news and information is loudly showing itself equal or superior to its mainstream media counterparts. November began with Nate Silver's incomparable prediction of the election down to a tenth of a percent at FiveThirtyEight.com. The month ended with Michael Lewis' superb essay, "The End of Wall Street's Boom," at Conde Nast entity Portfolio.com. Lewis earlier chronicled Wall Street's excesses in "Liar's Poker."

World AIDS Day efforts utilize youth, new med
A number of organizations are executing campaigns to keep HIV prevention in focus for World AIDS Day on December 1. MTV, the Global AIDS Alliance, and AIDS.gov are three organizations developing PR for the campaigns, ranging from rallies in Washington to new media initiatives. MTV's decade-old “Staying Alive” HIV and AIDS prevention campaign kicked off the World AIDS Day PR campaign on November 6 at the European Music Awards, said Seema Alibhai, director of corporate communications for MTV

Parents Seek Lesser Direct-Children Marketing
Christmas is all about giving gifts and apparently toys are the main agenda. But in these times, you would think that parents would care less about what children would be asking for but apparently some folks have taken the initiative to seek lesser marketing exposure aimed at the youth not necessarily to save on expenses but to avoid breaking their hearts. The exposure that these kids get build up their demand for certain toys, gadgets and electronics which are sure to be the bulk of it.

Warning Hazard for Young Gamers
Let this be a warning to all gamers who are frequently spending their times on the hot game consoles today; learn to rest and know when to stop. The story of this youngster who played continuously for 20 hours and then collapsed should serve as a lesson even though it seems that these gaming consoles are purely aimed at entertainment and recreation. Actually this game was the World of Warcraft, one of the popular online games today

The Success and Failure of a Single Strategy
Every week, I get together with a group of friends. Often when I would arrive at the home we meet in, there would be McDonald's bags strewn everywhere, with people hungrily gnawing into a burger or throwing french fries across the room.

Get Two Cars for the Mercedes Price
Today, brands are important but so are costs. We all know the price that a Mercedes Benz carries or even a Hummer. But why spend all your savings on one car if you can get two for the price of one?

Send Viral Gifts this Christmas
We often hear that “It’s the thought that counts” wherever we go especially if Christmas is here. Not all people have the money or cash to give actual gifts so perhaps regifting is a good way to somehow be an alternative towards the season of giving.

Big Tweet
Feeling limited by Twitter's 140 character limit? Want a simpler way to share a URL without having to go to an external website? Then BigTweet might be just what you are looking for. Big Tweet is a bookmarklet that lives in your browser, and that you can use to share webpages and interesting bits of the internet.

Samsung considers firms to lead global electronics unit
Samsung is reviewing agencies to lead its global electronics division, according to several industry sources. The task involves working with the company's Korean corporate headquarters. The selected agency would also support other firms that work on the business in other geographies, said a source familiar with the review. Samsung has already met with the bidding agencies, said another source. The account budget is “mid-sized” and Edelman is pitching the business as the incumbent, the source added. Edelman declined to comment. You can read more here.

Hogan’s Ex-Wife Asking for More
Would getting $40,000 a month as alimony still be insufficient? For most people who have separated with their mate, that is already a lot of money. But as far as former wrestler and now TV host Hulk Hogan is concerned, this is cheap change as far as the potential amount he can give to his former wife. Last reports are that Linda Hogan is asking for $400,000 a month. Whoa, now that is even more than anyone can imagine getting. So what gives? From here, it is obvious that Hulk Hogan may be getting the worst of the deal but as far as Linda Hogan is concerned, she doesn’t really give a damn.

Big Three Had Poor Marketing Strategies
It has been branded as the biggest marketing failure for three of the top car manufacturers in Detroit and hence leading to their potential demise as far as still standing in the corporate world. Chevrolet, Chrystler and Ford have all declared their fragile state and have gone to the extent of seeking financial assistance bailout but sadly, they were not granted. With their precarious state, the “big three” are now dancing on the thin line of closing shop but at a gradual pace

Hair Cuttery Enters While Others Exit
Cost cutting and working on stiffer budget allocations have forced most companies to pull out high costing ads. While this may seem as a wiser move for them, the other businesses who have not invested heavily in the marketing promotions and support are seeing it as a chance to be able to grab slots in the market for new opportunities. Hair Cuttery will be debuting its commercial ads aired on television and the Internet for the first time.

Energizer Bunny Turns 20
Batteries have had their ways of branding and whenever Energizer batteries are mentioned, you can be assured that you will be looking for the energizer bunny as well.

New Games Are Becoming Harder to Produce
We have seen a large influx of new video games developed and while many think that it takes only one person to unveil a worthy game, guess again. It takes a platoon of programmers to develop a good and hit game. So if you do the math, lots of programmers, designers, artists and musicians, you are talking about a lot of money.

Beyonce Following Michael Jackson Fashion
If you go back to the 1980’s you would agree that among the familiar marks that Michael Jackson made famous was his fashion wear like his white gloves. That getup really started a fashion statement and now we see diva Beyonce following the same practice only at a different niche. It is called the roboglove, the gling or Anti-Rihanna Death Grip which is actually made from Titanium.

Groups target incoming Obama administration
While President-elect Barack Obama's team transitions to the White House, a number of groups are using the interim to build campaigns directed at the new administration and Congress. One effort aiming to give Obama's millions of grassroots supporters post-election input into the 2009 leadership in DC is “Ideas for Change in America” from Change.org and MySpace. The effort launched November 24.

Tobacco Ad Strategy Nixed
It looks like the ban on cigarette and tobacco ads will stay even with this new strategy that failed to get past the Federal Trade Commission. Under the new proposed gimmick, tobacco companies can make claims about tar and nicotine levels based on testing by a machine. But the screening commissions are too good to fall prey for that. The fact of the matter is that cigarettes and tobacco are dangerous for a person’s health and also towards the growing problem of pollution.

Giving Credit Where Credit is Due
As far as concerts are concerned, it is only normal to market and use the familiar personalities in the group as the lead marketing medium. There will be instances where some misinterpretation as to who to market may get the ire of the leader of a distinguished guest and other than being miffed, that can entirely be costly as far as organizers are concerned. Just take the case of this Russian conductor Gennady Rozhdestvensky who headed back to Moscow following a scenario that he billed as disrespectful.

Fashioning Fish the Classy Way
The theme of most ads would normally depend on what a company wants to portray. As far as fish is concerned, it is known to be good health food and a lot of people today prefer it over the usual beef and meat. So as far as Australia is concerned, applying a touch of class with fashionable themes that is sure to take people towards a misleading classy ad, this is one case where praises will surely come the way of fish companies who want to build on their seafood brands.

Cardboard Bottles Aim to Change the Brand of Drinks
A proper and logical move was made in addressing the current packaging of products, particularly aimed at providing an alternative towards plastic bottles and tetra packs. Eco-friendliness is apparently the aim here and cartons are pegged as the good alternative.

Milk for the Gays
One upcoming film is bound to get the nod of most people in the community and this would be the ones who are batting for gay marriage and equal rights. It is no secret today that countries like California are openly against same sex marriage and while a resolution as already been passed, here is a film titled “Milk” that tells the story of an openly gay man who was elected to public office. Surely, this will put the aspirations of gay people today at a higher note,

Dial a Driver Battles Drunks from Driving
Keys Please. That is perhaps the only two words you would hear if you are too drunk to drive. Drunk driving especially in the holidays coming up, are bound to grow in numbers as people attend various functions as Christmas parties here and there. Along with that comes drinking more than you can consume leading to potential drunk driving that can be altogether dangerous and fatal if you are not careful. But now, rather than force yourself to drive home or leave your car and take a cab, you can dial a driver for assistance.

Red Flagged Games for Kids
In the world of gaming, people rarely notice the impact of these games on the mindset of kids. Many look to them as recreation and forms of entertainment. But take a look closer and you may find that it is also a way to promote violence in the eyes of a child. Many of the popular games today are themed at using guns, advanced weapons and war. They may look harmless and fictitious but as far as molding our kids into rational individuals, these games can also encourage them to bat for war and violence on some occasions.

Phone Ad Banned in the UK
It has been tagged as misleading but Apple Corp. does not seem to care. The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) revealed that it had received 17 complaints from customers who said they had been deceived with regards to the 3G’s speed. “Really Fast”?

How does it feel to get the Red Carpet Treatment?
We hear this often and it is normally reserved for people in power, with money and accomplishments. Celebrities lead the way on red carpet treatment and so do the leaders of most countries. Given the chance how would you feel if you were given the Red Carpet Treatment?

Microblogging for music fans.
Be a dj, well, at least on blip.fm It's as addictive as Twitter once you get started. I guess I'll have to find a blip.fm addict's group in addition to my Twitters Anonymous membership. Happy listening.

Careful what you post.
People often forget how easy it is to find out about a person online. Especially job applicants. After reading this article , I must say I side with the employer. I think the employee was rather greedy and got what he deserved. Dishonesty is easily uncovered online. He basically did it to himself--especially in picking monster.com to post his resume on. Not the brightest bulb in the box, so the employer is probably better off without him. Seems anymore what you place online is fair game to just about anyone who is looking.

Got $30,000? Build an iPhone App
considered building any of these apps, and now that I have seen some numbers on what it would take, I definitely won't. But hey, if you've got 30K laying around and a great idea for an iPhone app, why not, right? O'Reilly Digital Media has a recent article which explores the costs of designing and creating an iPhone app. Check it out here!

The power of social media
Just read this tweet from @mayhemstudios retweet of @domestic_diva good news. Apparently via a social media campaign to help her find a kidney donor for her daughter, there was an overwhelming international response. Amazing the power of social media. I think this is an example of the true importance of social media in today's world. Thanks to @mayhemstudios for the tweet and best wishes to @domestic_diva and her daughter.

70s TV versus the iPod Era
Tomorrow, here in the U.S.A., is the most traditional of holidays, Thanksgiving Day, and tonight television renewed one of its oldest traditions – the “variety show.” While still popular in some parts of the world, the mix of song, dance, comedy, and other acts faded from U.S. television in the 1980s except for occasional special presentations. I found tonight’s “Rosie Live” reasonably entertaining overall. So I await the overnight and full ratings with great interest. Host Rosie O’Donnell believes the timing may be right for a variety show comeback because,

A Creative Edge on an Otherwise Boring Chore
As a public relations specialist, it is not uncommon to discover a situation requiring a press release to inform the public. Generally, there is not much notice before a press release is due. There have been several times when I have arrived at work only to find a frantically scrolled note or an urgent message on my machine.

PR, Marketing, Advertising, Publicity
Advertising. Publicity! If you want a tough twister that will boggle your mind as well, try saying that one ten times fast. The prior are four related, yet separate areas of the communication industry.

Chevron taps Ogilvy PR for downstream business
Chevron recently selected Ogilvy PR Worldwide to support its downstream business and marketing communications. The oil company's downstream business includes refining, manufacturing, supply, trading, transportation, and lubricants. The task also includes promoting the company's consumer facing brands – Chevron, Texaco, and Caltex. It's a mid-six-figure account, according to Gustavo Santoyo, global PR manager for Chevron's downstream business

Press releases: If you use them, say so and LINK BACK!
Transparency is becoming at least as important as — or perhaps more important than — objectivity in news today. This means: If it’s possible to link to your source or provide source materials, people expect you to do so. Failing to offer source links is starting to look about as shifty or lazy as failing to name your source. Yesterday I wrote about how the New York Times missed an obvious opportunity for transparency by failing to link to (or publish) source documents released during a court case.

Facebook's Attempt to Acquire Twitter = Fail Whale
During the Web 2.0 Summit, John Batelle interviewed Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg, and if you listened closely enough, it was clear that Batelle was prodding Zuckerberg to validate the rumors that Facebook was exploring the possibility of acquiring Twitter. With a teasing smile, Zuckerberg described Twitter an “elegant model” and professed that he was “ impressed by what they’ve done.”

What is Communication? Does it work?
Communication is more than vocalizing a thought. Communication is translating an idea. Communication can be accomplished by numerous means; communication is not always spoken. Proper communication demands a superior level of understanding and yes, even patience. When successfully communicated, an idea gains the power to inspire and the power to influence.

David Lynch Campaigns for SIM2
The best way to advertise advanced home theater projectors featuring top of the line projectors would be to get hold of the top names in the movie industry. As far as getting the best, credit SIM2 for contracting one of the familiar names in the industry in the person of director David Lynch. SIM2, the Italian manufacturer whose striking high-performance HD home theater projectors are known worldwide for their pristine video and dramatic cabinet designs,

Take a Smart Step Inside Design
I'm sure, as advertising and marketing professionals, that you read Print and Communication Arts. Venerable publications, both. But do you also read Step Inside Design? It's the third part of the trio of great design magazines, and the one that I think is currently offering the smartest, most thought-provoking take on the ever-evolving business we're in.

60 Years of Saluting the 3-Striped Shoe
Everyone knows Adidas and how it has placed itself in the lives of people as far as brand identity is concerned. But what is really intriguing is how time flies and that it has already been 60 years and counting, as far as this brainchild of Adi Dassler is concerned.

Personal Branding Issues behind a Tattoo
We all know that sporting a tattoo today has pointed towards personal branding and fashion statements of most people. But when you are a celebrity like Brad Pitt and refuse to explain anything about it, fans and celebrity followers are bound to want to know why. So where do you turn to for answers?

Facebook wins judgment against spammer
In a surprising turn of events, Facebook has been awarded an $873 million judgment against a Canadian Spammer that sent sexually explicit spam to users. The victory, sealed with a judge's order issued last Friday, probably won't yield a windfall for privately held Facebook Inc., whose revenue this year is expected to range between $250 million to $300 million.

YouTube has gone wide
A full year after most of YouTube's competition adopted the widescreen format, YouTube has finally followed suit. This comes on the heels of the news that YouTube is soon to start showing full length movies, so the new widescreen format, increasing the layout to 960 pixels and 16:9 aspect ratio, will work well with that plan. The videos that are on the site that are not in this format will feature black bars on either side of the video, much the same as what happens when one watches a wide screen format movie on an alternate format television.

crowdSPRING
crowdSPRING is a great place to find creative resources. Here is the concept behind this innovative website: 1.) Post a creative project and attach a cost for what you are willing to pay to the winner. 2.) Creatives contribute actual project work (e.g. logo, widget, website design, etc.) 3.) Pick a winner of the entries: You receive the creative work and they receive the prize money.

General Motors Cuts off Tiger Woods
We all know for a fact that General Motors is among the car companies troubled with managing their finances. They had also stressed last week that they will be reducing some costs that included layoffs and some cut in advertising spending. Apparently, Tiger Woods was one of them as they had mutually agreed to finish of the remainder of the contract until this year. Woods wants to make more time for his family as he awaits the birth of his second child. GM says the company needs to reduce costs but that the decision doesn't have anything to do with the company's campaign in Washington for a $25 billion rescue plan.

Banner Ads May Be Gone Too
The shift of most people and companies towards online advertising is expected to grow but there is one tactic that may not be around once that boom occurs. Banner ads have long been known to spearhead online advertising but while we still see a lot of them online, they have somehow become just banners and sometimes irritating designs on websites that are not serving their purpose. “Internet ads are small and out of the way,” said Greg March, digital group director at Wieden+Kennedy. “Advertisers want to deliver impact, and I don’t think the impact for these ads is always that strong.”

Rent-A-Car Program is a Risk
Either they are just concerned with sales or are trying to commit corporate suicide would be how we can assess this new scheme that has been broadcasted by Rent-A-Car. Addressing the credit crunch market, chief executive officer Mark Speese reaches out to legions of consumers burdened by the current cash and credit crunch with a message about the benefits of debt-free rental-purchase transactions.

Like a Drill in the Brain
Not too long ago, I posted about my extreme hatred of Toyota's "Saved By Zero" commercial. You can read that post here.

Create a Positioning Statement for your Brand
Positioning statements are better known as taglines that play a secondary role in building brand positioning and identity. While some companies tend to focus a lot on the brand name and the packaging, some make a good living building on these taglines that become identity marks for any product.

Match Your Brand with the Consumer Demands
It may not be easy to do but somehow companies find a particular item to match products to be at level with the way that consumers perceive them to be. Normally, this would take lots of research not only on the consumers but also on the strategies that your competitors use.

Tweet the Vote
Twitter is doing its best to be one of the go-to sources during the election in America. Twitter vote report is a way to let other know of issues voting in your area. Twitter election 2008 page is a page adding all the election related tweets as well as tweets from the candidates campaign twitter accounts. Twittervision combines all of the tweets by location, and puts them all on top of a map of America. It's updated in real time, as the tweets come in.

Dark side of an online world
I don't like to write about depressing subjects, but after reading this article I felt compelled. This is real--ugly in it's barest form, but it is what it is. For something like this to occur shows how removed we humans can be in the anonymity of an online world. I cannot imagine knowing of this and not trying to get the person help. I wrote a post a while back about online support and lurkers. I see that as positive, but lurkers in this case are just twisted voyeurs.

Kawasaki's Top Ten Apps
Guy Kawasaki posted to his blog the ten apps that he is thankful for which he uses every day. For you efficiency fans, go ahead and download all of them. Guy knows how to GTD, so check up on his list. I especially like Yojimbo and Adjix, organization for everyone and a must-have for tweeters.

Be A Magpie
Are you interested in making money with your Twitter stream? Be-a-Magpie is a service that inserts ads into your twitter stream, based on your posting habits and your interests. It's listed as an ad network for Twitter, and that not only will you not get random ads, they will be targeted to whatever it is you are tweeting about. The pay per ad varies, depending on how many followers you have and how often you tweet. I plugged in my twitter name and found out I could make 40euros a month.

Mark Your Calendar
start to crowd out the books and magazines in bookstores. But there’s a special kind of calendar that all good public relations professionals use – the editorial calendar.

'Consumer Reports' push takes on credit card debt
On this coming Monday, Consumer Reports planned to begin a public-education campaign to inform shoppers about credit card debt. The effort ties into a full-page advertisement in USA Today that the publication anticipated running on November 24. The spot will tell readers, “There is no ‘bailout clause' in your credit card contract.” It will also note that Americans owe nearly $1 trillion in credit card debt. For PR, the magazine's internal team is working with The Rosen Group and Attention PR.

Would your Snitch for Money and your Life?
We have seen this scenario on television at times and basing on what the Albuquerque police want to accomplish in their want ads, it seems they are soliciting some help from people who hang out with the crooks and misfits of society for good leads. The question is will these people snitch on their hangouts? We have seen on television these people getting the raw end of it all, especially if they are not that many and easily identifiable.

EHarmony Builds New Site for Gay Matches
Online dating has surely been something we have all come across on the web but ever since the famed approval of gay marriages, it seems that everything including online dating has to adhere to certain policies to avoid being criticized for discrimination. EHarmony for example is an online dating site that places barriers as far as allowing same sex ads but has since has agreed in a civil rights settlement to give up its heterosexuals-only policy and offer same-sex matches.

Are you an Eco-Friendly Shopper?
One thing you will note in most products in the market today is that they carry a certain tag normally colored green which connotes that they are eco-friendly. The question here is would consumers care?

Are you Buying Because of Brand or Price?
There are two factors that entice a person to buy a certain commodity or product, brand and price. Of the two, you may want to separate the type of consumers depending on class. Class A and upper class B would normally go for branded products and price second while the lower Classes of B and C would prioritize price over brand.

Covert Twittering
So you want to keep tabs on someone's twitter stream, without following them? Enter TweetStalk, a Firefox extension that allows you to follow the user, without their knowledge. It's new, and it's designed to be fun. They have integrated an RSS feed option, so you can get user updates right in your RSS reader. It's still so new, they haven't really revealed where they plan on taking the app in the future. They say it depends on how it's received and used. Technorati Tags: twitter, tweetstalk, stalking, following, social media, microblogging, firefox, extension

Why did Lively fail? Where do I start?
The NYT has reported on the demise on Google's 3D metaverse product, Lively. In my work as creative director, I do a fair amount of projects in Second Life, so I know where the hype ends and ROI begins. It took only a few minutes to determine that Lively had a very limited shelf life. Their first crime was that Lively only worked on Windows platforms - this is a multiplatform world, keeping spiritual resonance with Redmond these days is the kiss of death. If some under-funded start-up was bringing us Lively, I could understand the Windows Only mentality, but this was a Google product.

Willis Loses Money in Green Rubber Global Investment
There is nothing wrong with making a wealthy investment. But in making business decisions, it is more than just showing the money. It needs proper analysis and this includes looking at the external factors. This is not in defense of Green Rubber Global but as a lesson to companies that invite investors, make sure you have ready investments on hand just in case they jump ship. Bruce Willis had to find out the hard way. Tough Luck!

Is Chevrolet’s Volt Worth the Wait?
The launching of this hybrid car by Chevrolet is pegged to help them recover lost ground as far as car sales is concerned but the only obstacle behind it all is that they need to wait until 2010 to unveil it. Basing on reports, it seems that Chevrolet may not even be around by that time comes, owing to reports that the big 3 auto manufacturers are really having a tough time trying to wade the financial drowning they are experiencing.

The Power of Jolie Media Manipulation
As far as allowing the media to write something about you, you have to be careful. One negative insight can have a heavy impact on your personality and for celebrities like Angelina Jolie, she has a reputation to keep. Many call it manipulation or power tripping as far as proper write-ups and image rights from one of the hottest celebrities in the showbiz industry is concerned. But as far as keeping her reputation and image in check, you have to applaud Angelina Jolie for making proper ways to ensure that she does not end up the goat in the end of all these celebrity buzzards around her.

Citigroup Down for the Count?
Financial services giant Citigroup is reeling after a tremendous blow by the stock market. The stock price plummeted to below $4 per share, the lowest price Citigroup's stock has been in over 15 years. This represents a 60% drop in just a week.

Beware Scary Santas
The holiday season is upon us. Which means malls are employing an army of people in Santa suits so that kids can drag their parents out the mall and make them wait in line so the kid can sit on this strange man's lap. Oh what fun . . .

Personal Case Study: Generic Family Restaurant
This morning I had breakfast with an old friend. He just moved back to this area after being in Texas for 5 years. We went to one of those generic family restaurants. You know the type. They all have the same food, same tables and chairs, same menu.

Supply and Demand
About a block from my house, there is a full-service car wash. Automatic spray thingies, hand washing bays, the works. Depending on what level of clean you want, washes can cost somewhere between $5 - $9.

Dr. Pepper Supports Democracy
This is a monumental time in our nation. An occasion that shows that perseverence pays off, and that if you dream big enough, it can become reality.

Will Smith: The Next "Black" James Bond?
Can it really happen? A “Black” James Bond? I don’t want to sound racist but all this hype has come out ever since the historic victory of Barack Obama in winning the U.S. elections.

"Vista Capable" or "Intel Saviour"?
In the world of marketing, always look beyond the fine print. That is perhaps what got Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer into trouble as they had used this tagline that Microsoft is “Vista Capable”. Apparently the tactic was meant to assure previous PC buyers that their hardware could be able to accommodate the new Windows Vista operating system to save Intel from losing approximately $600,000 in nearing obsolete computers.

Kelly Osbourne Gets Animated
Virgin Media has made Kelly Osbourne the third celebrity to be animated for its cinema ads. Just what does it take to get cartooned or in this case animated by companies? For sure, audience impact and fan preference are key and Kelly Osbourne who shot to fame alongside her zany family in fly-on-the-wall show ‘The Osbournes’ is without doubt within those lines.

Obama's Network: What Next?
BarackObama.com might fairly be seen as the most successful high-tech startup of the past two years. – E. J. Dionne Jr., The Washington Post, November 21, 2008 President-elect Barack Obama's top aides rightfully see the 2008 campaign as having fundamentally altered American politics. As I noted in a recent post and political columnist E. J. Dionne Jr. now details, Obama allowed the Democratic Party and its allies to take an enormous leap forward in both technological sophistication and grass-roots activism.

Study finds PR aids startups' funding efforts
Startup companies that engage in PR campaigns are 30% more successful in getting funding within one to three months than those that don't, according to results from a survey conducted by BIGfrontier Communications Group in Chicago. Forty-four percent of the respondents who used PR outreach received funding in the one-to-three-month time period versus 14% of those that did not. The survey also found that 78% of respondents who said PR helped in their

New Jersey communicator encourages PR practitioners to embrace new media
In the wake of this year’s presidential elections the enormity of what transition officials are calling Obama 2.0 is becoming evident. During his 21-month campaign for the White House the Illinois legislator built an online grass roots support group of 10 million, including 3.1 million contributors. With his army of online supporters he raised $660 million and developed a following his team plan on continuing to leverage now that they are headed to Washington. The idea is to convert Obama’s online support base into a viral lobbying and communications machine, making him the first president to be “wired” in the digital sense of the word. You can read more about this here.

Fast Food Ads hit for Obesity Growth
The power of television is certainly something that anyone would have a big impact on the average consumer. Especially if they are timed and scheduled properly when majority of people are glued to their TV set, one can just imagine the driving power it can give in promoting certain products. But the type of ads have been screened these days and one notable category that has been stricken off some shows, particularly towards kids, are the junk food and fast food ads.

Can Acts of Violence in Commercials Scare Teens?
The Federal Government has reportedly started its $20 million campaign that showcases acts of violence, voyeurism and sexual promiscuity in an effort to scare teenagers from the dangers that lie ahead if they don’t avoid binge drinking. Now the effort and the intent is good. But as far as showing these things on television is another. How did the board of sensors allow this considering that certain guidelines on what is to be shown on TV is normally set?

Highly Paid Actors Cut from Day with Our Lives Soap
When producers have to work on given budgets, it can cover as much as cutting off your prime stars. But while that is one solution as far as satisfying the financial cuts hinted at the expense of keeping soap operas or TV shows on the air, it may also be disastrous since for most shows, it is really the actors/ actresses that carry the whole show and make it a hit.

Branding Takes a Backseat to Global Crisis
Today, people are panicking and while brand preference is usually a priority, today people are shying away incrementally, choosing to either lessen their purchase of a familiar branded product or turn to alternatives that offer lower prices but close to the same quality.

Another Learning Opportunity: SEO Webinar
SEMPO presents a variety of webinars on search engine marketing. They're taking a break in December but here's a list of upcoming webinars in 2009. For those SEO/SEM folks, this could be worth your time. SEMPO stands for Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization. They're a global non-profit organization that serves the search engine marketing industries and the professional therein.

Jumping the Shark
In 1977, the television show "Happy Days" ended a three-episode story arc by having the popular character Fonzie perform a stunt in which he jumped over a shark on water skis. The episode changed the show's direction, morphing it from a sunny and homey comedy about life in 1950s Milwaukee into a melange of anachronistic pop culture references.

Making Sense Of Intermedia Agenda-Setting For Social Media Marketing
Last week at a Tweet up organized for the Research Symposium for the Society of New Communications Research in Boston I chatted with Mihaela Vorvoreanu, Ph.D. Assistant Professor of Communications at Clemson University in South Carolina and a research fellow with the society. We discussed the concept of agenda setting* in the press. Basically the theory suggests that while the press may have little influence on the publics attitudes, the press does influence what the public discusses and thinks about because of the issues covered in the media. You can read more about the theory here.

http://www.akihabaranews.com/en/news_pics/15618/Panasonic_DivX_1.jpg

Jordan Melo 5 Hits the Shoe Market November 22
For all the basketball enthusiasts out there following the new basketball shoe models in the market, watch out for the Jordan Melo 5. Named obviously after Denver star forward Carmelo Anthony who was likewise a member of the successful USA Dream Team that won the gold in the last Olympics, the Jordan Melo M5's design complements all five positions on the basketball court. But as far as the name is concerned, we can see that "Jordan" is still attached, obviously referring to Michael Jordan which has been made into one big brand line of Nike.

Michael Phelps Takes Subway by Storm
Olympic sensation swimmer Michael Phelps was destined to have a lot of companies to endorse that he can handle and now he has added Subway restaurants to his line of corporate suitors. Subway has been known to endorse athletes to promote health and what better way than to include Phelps to that long list of personalities for his feat. Phelps has already had his schedule busy with the endorsers like Kellogs and from the looks of it, Subway is not going to be the last.

Great American Smokeout Turns 32
For 32 years, America has been trying to cut down the growing number of smokers in its region and thanks to the efforts of the Great American Smokeout, perhaps it can be done. While the numbers are still large as far as the number of smokers out there is concerned, it remains that they still have a long way to go in trying to cut down the number of smokers that is spread over the United States. Figures have shown that in the last year there has been a reduction from around 21% in 2006 down to 19.8% in 2007.

Auto Industry Pleads Their Case to the Common Man
Much has been said in recent days regarding the financial distress that American auto makers are in. It would seem their fate rests on the decision by congress as to whether they will get an AIG-esque bailout. Yet there is still a bad taste in the mouths of Americans from the ridiculous behavior of AIG and their wild spending AFTER the bailout.

LG Turns to New Marketing Antics
LG Electronics has been aggressively taking on the market in the past years and apparently their management team is not satisfied with their performance to date. We have seen its invasion of the electronics world and apparently plans to revamp and further boost the brand familiarization on LG Electronics has become a must for the electronic company on the rise.

Peanut Chews Announces Photo Contest
In an obvious marketing gimmick, Peanut Chews has announced that it is launching a new contest where people can submit their pictures with their favorite Peanut Chews candy. This is not the first time that a company has done it as it is really aimed at hitting how many the catchment market is for a certain brand that not only entices people to become proactive, but also helps in assessing on which brand is hot and which is not.

Panasonic Overtakes Parent Brand Name
It has happened in the past where a carrier brand that is supposedly connected to the mother brand becomes the better brand and in the case of Matsushita and Panasonic, we all know which of the two brands is familiar to us.

Turns out the Internet isn't such a bad place
There was a new study released by the MacArthur Foundation revealing that teenagers socializing on the internet is an integral part of their development, and is just not as bad for them as we have previously thought. The study, started in 2005, had 5000 hours of researchers observing how teenagers interact on sites like MySpace, Facebook, YouTube and other social networking sites.

So what's your definition of social media?
So what is it? This social media thing? Read this article to get a grasp of what I'm talking about: http://tinyurl.com/6bz4x4 I see it as user generated content, a means of communicating. I don't agree with all the viewpoints in the article, but I can agree that it's a creation of the people, for the people. I think too much focus is being placed on nailing down a specific definition when what people need to realize is the beauty of social media. It is something that is dynamic/ever changing, and that's the same with society. What are your thoughts?

What do you think of ads in social media?
I don't mind ads on social sites, as long as they're not spammy in nature. I think the less obtrusive the better. Many would rather have none at all, but this is the real world we live in. I am conflicted as a social media participant and business owner.(I don't advertise on social sites.) I try to empathize with consumers and treat them the way I'd like to be treated. I can understand how a person can get pissed off at the prospect of

"Have to Get Better at Believing the Impossible" | a Look at the Future of the Web
Recently at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco, Kevin Kelly gave a great speech describing his thoughts on where the web is going. He begins his presentation by stating that it was about 6500 days ago when Berners-Lee created the first web page. The internet began as something which linked computers. Next, web pages emerged and links were shared. Finally, the data within the pages began to become linked with each other. Mr. Kelly describes this process as un-structuring everything in the world down its most elemental form,

Recycling Scrutinized
While the green era is entrenched among us, one long-held tenet of the environmental movement has come under scrutiny: recycling. Long the backbone of the righteous, environmentally conscious citizen, recycling got a renewed (no pun intended) look at its efficacy from Popular Mechanics magazine this month.

Jumping the Shark
In 1977, the television show "Happy Days" ended a three-episode story arc by having the popular character Fonzie perform a stunt in which he jumped over a shark on water skis. The episode changed the show's direction, morphing it from a sunny and homey comedy about life in 1950s Milwaukee into a melange of anachronistic pop culture references.

Walmart Stores to Provide 70 Million Meals per Year to Families in Need
With the Thanksgiving season upon us, Walmart today announced that its Supercenters and Neighborhood Markets will partner with Feeding America, the nation's largest charitable hunger-relief organization, to provide an estimated 90 million pounds of food annually -- the equivalent of 70 million meals -- to families in need by the end of 2009.* Donating nutritious produce, deli meat, beef, chicken, dairy and other groceries directly from its stores, Wal-Mart will become one of Feeding America's largest donors of food. You can read more here.

Nicole Kidman Provides Hope to Boost Australian Tourism
If there is one method to help tourism in most countries, it is through the movies. The movie named “Australia” showcases two of the big names in the movie industry today, Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman. This is "Australia", the new movie by award-winning director Baz Luhrmann. The World War II-era romantic epic, which opens later this month, has already been hailed for its cinematography and its pairing of Australian film stars Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman

Nevada Education System unveils PSA for Awareness
Educational attainment is important and key for any person and that is what the Nevada System on higher education wants to emphasize in. Adhering to the need in raising awareness and boosting the information towards the value of education, they have introduced an eight-month public service announcement campaign to raise awareness and inform Nevada residents about the value of education starting November 19. Nevada’s education system, from kindergarten through post-doctoral studies, is facing record-level budget cuts.

Offensive Mom Ad Pulled Out
A picture paints a thousand words and in the world of advertising, if you don’t know how to really express the message you are trying to make, expect some bad karma coming your way. At least this was the scenario when by J&J's McNeil Consumer Healthcare unit made it appear as if children were a burden to new mothers.

No Spare Tire? Seal It!
For most car owner out there, the worst situation you can find yourself in is getting a flat. While you can always change it with your trusty reserve tire, the whole ordeal may become a harrowing one, especially if you don’t know how to go about changing the flat tire.

Sony entering virtual world
Sony is tempting the users of their Playstation Network with a virtual world. Home is a series of virtual spaces and places. It's different from Second Life in that you choose which space you want to visit, and then teleport there, instead of walking or flying like in Second Life. The PlayStation Network, which currently has about 13 million PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Portable registered users, is integral to Home. The PSN is the network that users access to play each other in online matches,

Troop Tube
Soldiers and their families have often struggled with a way to stay in contact while separated from each other. Sometimes, spouses can go weeks and months with not word from their significant other. TroopTube was developed as a way for troops to upload and share videos and information, from where ever they may be. TroopTube is the new online video site designed to help military families connect and keep in touch while miles apart.

Yelp and CitySearch competing for your review
Yelp.com and CitySearch.com are competing to be the go-to search site for everything local. While both sites offer virually the same concept, they each have different features, some of which might help you to make up your mind about which service works better for your needs. Yelp.com says real people, real reviews drive their site. It works better for larger, metropolitan areas.

Another one (print edition) bites the dust
Ziff Davis has announced that the January 2009 issue of PcMagazine will be the magazine's final print edition. The magazine, which was started in 1982, has a storied history, but its print base eroded over the years as its core brand of journalism—news you can use while shopping for computers—moved online. It cut back from bi-weekly to monthly earlier this year.

National Geographic Expands with Video Game Division
On Tuesday, National Geographic announced that it will be expanding its business into video games in an effort to reach its younger audience. The magazine hopes to have at four games released by next year. This news comes at such a morbid time in the world of print media. National Geographic seems to be making moves to reach out to its younger readers. Instead of just watching things deteriorate, the picturesque magazine is putting forth some innovative effort. Who knows what the developers have in store,

Macy's Puts Thanksgiving Day Parade in Fans' Hands
This is a great move by Macy's! As we all know, the World Famous Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade is the official start of the holiday season. But there will be an added bonus this year, for those who attend Macy's holiday events in select locations across America. They will be able to experience the excitement of Broadway's longest running show through the magic of flip books.

J&J apologizes, says it missed the mark with Motrin mom ad
Johnson & Johnson (J&J) is reaching out to mothers offended by an ad for the company's Ibuprofen brand, Motrin, which equated carrying a baby in a sling to a painful fashion choice. The company pulled the ad Sunday after several bloggers called for a boycott and pages of angry comments filled message boards like Twitter. Some Twitter and blog enthusiasts created their own counter ads.

Michael Jackson Unfit to Face Trial
We all know that pop star Michael Jackson has been a controversial figure in the world of show business. But if he really wants to avoid the hassles of facing certain legal issues, he better start finding a better way to make excuses for failure to appear on them. Apparently Jackson issues another “I am sick and unfit” excuse in appearing before a London court where he is being sued for reportedly owing an Bahraini Sheik, Sheikh Abdulla bin Hamad Al Khalifa, money worth around $7 million.

Prince Sued over Breached Perfume Agreement
Another pop star who really gave Michael Jackson a run for his money in the 80’s, Prince, has been reportedly sued for a breach of contract in failing to help in the promotion of a perfume by Revelations Perfume and Cosmetic’s Inc. Under the agreement, Prince was supposed to participate in various promotions of the said perfume manufacturer which spend close to $2.5 million aside from paying Universal half of the net profits from sales.

Sparx Closes Animation Studio
Not even Paris is spared from the economic turmoil as Sparx Animation Studio has likewise closed down due to the financial epidemic. Sparx may not be that known to the world of creative and digital imagery but they have had their share of creating special effects such as “Bunyan and Babe” and “Igor”. Sparx has been around for 10 years on animating and co-producing TV series like ROLIE POLIE OLIE, and was working to move into Hollywood feature production like their model, Pixar Animation Studios.

Clipping Out a Niche
Women tend to pay greater attention to how they look than men. Women are far more selective about which salon they go to, how their hair is done, etc. Men need haircuts, too. However, they tend to just go wherever is convenient.

Black Friday Specials Rampage
You don’t really have to luck at the tough economic times to know that people will come charging into your store each time you hold out special sales like the Black Friday specials that has been scheduled in most stores like Walmart and Best Buy.

Microsoft May Discuss Business with New Yahoo CEO
Yahoo Chief Executive Officer Jerry Yang has stepped down and with this development, Microsoft Corporation is knocking on the door once again.

Should the Government Bailout the Big Three Auto Names?
The United States has been known to provide American muscle cars and when that is mentioned, three names come into mind:

"A Better Way Forward" | Can Music P2P Become Monetized?
We all know the story... CD sales are sky diving, P2P services are incredibly popular, record labels are stubborn, and music fans are getting sued. Can this nightmare ever be fixed? The Electronic Frontier Foundation has created a plan that in theory could work to combatant the nightmare we've all heard above.

TraderPlanet.com
As do many other professions and specialties, stockbrokers have a place to connect with other stock brokers and commiserate about how crappy the market is right now. Traderplanet.com is an online resource, like MySpace, but with tutorials and experts involved. They want to teach people how to trade the markets and how to be successful.

Dr. Pepper Sweetened Naturally with Stevia
Dr. Pepper may have raised the sugar level of its famous drink but at least it was done naturally. The said move was approved by the Food and Drug Administration where the launch of the low calorie drink made with natural sweeteners called Stevia shall find its way towards market shelves soon. So what is Stevia? Stevia are sweeteners, made from the leaves of a South American shrub, will provide natural alternatives to chemical sweeteners like Equal and Splenda.

Motrin Crosses the Line
McNeil Consumer Healthcare created an advertisement for MOTRIN®, a product of Johnson & Johnson. See the video below. It did not go over well with Mommy Bloggers. Not at all. And it seems, their server went down almost 20 hours after the firestorm erupted. #MotrinMoms has been at the top of the Twitter Trending Topics list for hours. This is definitely not the result they were looking for. Their PR rep has a lot to clean up. You can read more about this here.

Huggies Commercial and behind the scenes video.
This spot from the folks at Huggies is hilarious. Anyone who has ever tired to diaper a little boy has had to dodge the stream at one point or another. The behind the scenes video they cut together also adds another layer of funny to a great commercial. Good work Huggies.

No more PLAY for New York Times
We are seeing a lot of businesses being whittled and shut down in all sectors. As far as the New York Times, assessing the business being generated by PLAY, their quarterly magazine, did not fare well and has hence been shut down. “It was a nice run and we enjoyed it, but given the reports almost daily of magazines cutting back and shutting down, I have to be philosophical about it,” he said.

Do Nightmarkets Really Carry Bargains?
Prior to the holiday rush, many people are continuously looking for bargain items, some being offered for sale for at most of 50% discount. While that does seem tempting, you may want to consider the following if you go to these places outside the normal store hours. Safety and Security When these special events are announced, it is not only customers who will be trooping to the stores.

U of Chicago Economics' Street Cred Tarnished
Inside academia for the past 25 years, Ronald Reagan's Washington, and even Margaret Thatcher's government, the Univ. of Chicago's Dept. of Economics enjoyed rock star status, racking up Nobel Prizes like records gone platinum and producing a superstar, the one and only Milton Friedman, whose influence on economic policy has been unparalleled. With its free-market philosophy, the "Chicago School" has maintained its dominant image as a libertarian stronghold, providing the rationale for a very small governmental role in the economy.

Nintendo Wii Makes Bold Statement - "Kids Only!"
No, Nintendo has not come right out and said that their gaming console is just for kids. But their actions have communicated the message loud and clear.

Does Grassroots Marketing Still Exist?
Do you ever sit back and wonder, with all the social networking, email blasts, and online endeavors (article marketing, online banners, SEO, and more), does grassroots marketing still exist? And more than that, is grassroots marketing still an effective way to advertise your business? The answer to both is yes.

BBDO and PepsiCo Part Ways
A change of path seems to be on Pepsi management as it has reportedly ended a long standing relationship with BBDO which was responsible for familiar monikers like “The Choice of a New Generation” and “The Joy of Pepsi”.

Facebook Advertising is not Meant for All
We all know that Facebook is the hot social media on the buzz right now and apparently many companies and entrepreneurs are trying to vye for ad placement on their site. But while that is a hot topic in the presses, step on the brakes. Are you really expecting results by placing ads on Facebook?

Satirical paper lampoons PR industry
A coalition of liberal advocacy groups and volunteers distributed copies of a satirical July 4, 2009, edition of The New York Times to New York City commuters on November 12. The issue depicts a President Barack Obama's administration having "enacted" legislation that regulated government agencies' dealings with PR agencies. The groups, including Yes Men, Anti-Advertising Agency, United for Peace and Justice, and Improv Everywhere, distributed more than one million copies of the issue, bolstering it with an Internet version also mimicking the Tim

Old Spice Returns to the Scene
Old Spice, that old brand familiar towards masculine hygiene is making a comeback. All thanks to the efforts of Jim Stengel, the familiar brand is rebounding from a faltering campaign and is now on the aggressive approach to give Unilever’s Axe a run. Axe has had its share of problems and for sure the revival of Old Spice is bound to compound their woes. Now that Proctor & Gamble has turned it around, could it be the turn of Unilever to experience the tailspin of the battle for hearts and minds of men?

Less Bubbly Celebrations This Year
Champagne has always been identified as a great consumable drink once the Holidays start setting in. Outside that of the usual parties, people normally look for it to celebrate the coming of the New Year. But no thanks to a dampened economy, it looks like while the brand and product familiarity is there, sales declines are bound to affect the purchasing power for champagne as people start to tighten up their belts for a hard 2009 up ahead. Also, expect a lot of imitators to come up with imitation brands to battle the authentic champagne makers.

Prepaid is In with the Times
People often have a problem containing their consumption costs. This pertains a lot towards mobile communications, internet utilization and even cable television. But while many have tried desperately hard to control their utilization, it looks like forced savings through the use of the prepaid cards era is something many will have to turn to because it helps in an economical and logical aspect as far as wise spending is concerned.

Being Saved By Zero is KILLING Me!
As a sports fan, one of my guilty pleasures is sitting down on Sunday afternoon and watching 6+ hours of straight football. I get all comfy on my couch, with my snacks handy, and settle in for a wonderful day of watching men pulverize each other while trying to move an oblong ball around.

A Golden Opportunity
Six months ago, America was cursing the oil companies. Gasoline was over $4 per gallon, and the gas companies were explaining to the United States congress that prices were as low as they could be. Yet Exxon Mobil broke their own company's previous record (which was also a national and perhaps global record) for quarterly profits.

Tis What Season??
Halloween ended two weeks ago. So, of course, we are right into the midst of the Christmas season.

Emotional Branding Can Do the Trick
Using products or services in a storyline can probably help a gain consumer attention. Normally, scripts and storylines would initially capture their attention but eventually, it may all boil down to what brands they may see in the setting.

Marketing Ahead with Branding
Now that companies are suffering from the turnstile economy, expect branding to take a plunge as well. People in various positions are bound to focus a lot on what measures they can do to save their companies from experiencing losses although it is apparent that they are imminent occurrences that all business ventures are bound to experience soon.

Be the Author Behind the Brand
Brand management is like being an author of a book. In order for the brand to flourish, storylines and preparations that include the 4 P’s of marketing namely, product, price, place and promotion will comprise what marketing professionals have been tasked as far as corporate products and services building is concerned.

Using Social Media to monitor brand satisfaction
This morning, I logged into my Twitter account, only to be bombarded with tweets about a Motrin ad. I was really confused, so I started reading the links and following the trail. Apparently, the makers of Motrin posted an ad, it's currently on the front page of the site, talking about how babywearing is in fashion, right now, even though it's a pain in the back. The text of the ad reads as follows. Wearing your baby seems to be in fashion.

Autism Twitter Day
I have a five year old son who is considered to be on the Autism Spectrum Disorder. It's all relatively new and confusing to me. As is for much of society in general. I recommend viewing this YouTube clip by a parent of an autistic child--maybe it'll help clarify your view of autism. She makes a parallel between X Men and autism. Check it out , oh and be a part of Autism Twitter Day #ASD.

FT promotes new Web site in US, elsewhere
London-based business publication the Financial Times reached out broadly to promote the redesign of its Web site, which debuted this week. Tom Glover, deputy communications director at the FT, said the paper's internal PR staff in the UK, US, and Asia briefed journalists, prior to the November 11 launch. You can read more about their launch here.

Barack Obama to Use YouTube as Presidential Medium
Perhaps new U.S. president Barack Obama is picking of from where he left off as far as using advanced media for success is concerned. It seems that he has loved the strategy and that he plans to use online video sites like YouTube to carry most of his Presidential Addresses. Tip your hats off for innovation. Also, it is welcome news for students who often have to do research and reference materials in relation to their school work.

Memorex Offers Free Cab Ride to Good Singers
We are all aware that singing in karaoke bars has become a hit for most parts of the world. We now see various gadgets to appease the people who want to sing their favorite melodies. But in San Francisco, it has gone as far as penetrating taxi cabs to which Memorex has come out with an ingenious way of marketing and providing free rides to passengers. Throughout the month of November, be on the lookout for the Memorex Karaoke Cab at designated San Francisco hot spots. Karaoke Cab will drive you to your destination while you act out your rock star fantasies using the Memorex SingStand.

Imported Milk Numbers Decline
Ever since the breakout of the celebrated melamine scandal that China had brought into the dairy and milk industry, the demand for imported milk has declined significantly and will continue to do so. Most countries have shifted towards locally manufactured milk, a safer alternative towards supposedly superior quality dairy products from abroad. The numbers show that most countries have shied away from importation of milk

“Improving Gross Profit Through Pizza Topping Standardisation”
For pizza store owners, trying to balance the amount of stuff you put into you pizza is a dilemma. However, one thing you should watch out is ripping of your customers and at the same time adhering towards franchise standards and requirements, something that cannot be negotiated.

Nokia Braces for Marketing Tailspin
Not even the big names like Nokia can do something about the impending economic problems today as it has announced lower sales and perhaps decline in revenue towards the end of this year and early of 2009. The demand for mobile phones has been affected by consumer spending, a signal to which most consumers prefer to hang on to their current phone rather than get a new one.

Second Life Marriage Ends
Yet another relationship is ruined, due to Second Life. This time, the couple, Amy Taylor, 28, and David Pollard, 40, had gotten married in a lavish online ceremony, while also being married in real life. The couple met in an online chat room in 2003. It started out as an online relationship, but soon existed as well in the real world. The wife began to suspect he was being unfaithful, catching his avatar having sex, online, with a cyber prostitute, and decided to hire an online private investigator to track her husband's virtual activities.

New Media’s Banner Week
You had to watch closely, but the inevitable convergence of traditional print and broadcast media with digital new media was particularly evident this past week. First, the old guard broadcasters continued to turn to the web’s new maven for polling analysis. Nate Silver, a baseball statistics super fan-turned FiveThirtyEight.com political pollster, astounded everyone by calling the presidential election results down to a tenth of a percent. So with three U.S. Senate races still uncalled – Alaska, Georgia, and Minnesota

Quantum of Solace Packed with Surprises
Which James Bond movie doesn’t have anything special to offer? NONE. Practically all the James Bond movies have had their share of action-packed and techie filled gadgets ranging from weapons to cars. This time around, the Ashton Martin is being wooed as the vehicle to watch as well as some thrilling adventures with the famous British Secret Service Agent 007. Daniel Craig makes his second film after his initial christening in Casino Royale.

More Retailers at the Movies
Whenever we watch a new film, we would be treated to up and coming flicks and sequels. We may notice a couple of commercials, normally food-related, but guess who just made the big move-in…the rest of the consumer retailers such as Gap, JC Penny and Macys. Why? Well for one, the best thing that people can do right now is sit back and enjoy movies. So at least now you know where the consumers are hiding, at the theaters!

Jennifer Hudson Thanks Fans for Support
Losing someone is bad enough but losing people to heinous crimes is another. Regardless, Jennifer Hudson has openly thanked everyone, particularly her fans during the hard times she had to go through following the death of her mother, brother and nephew. It took time for Hudson to come out in public and regain her bearings.

Packaging helps Brand Identity
Have you ever given the shape of a Coke in Bottles? How about the shape of the can of Spam? If you are asked to define a particular image, what comes into mind?

Burger King Wallet -- Hits Orlando
Being an avid reader of all things Advertising, it seems like the most clever and non-traditional marketing happens in the big cities. (Chicago, NYC, L.A., etc.) Never would I have ever imagined Burger King would hit Orlando, Florida, and finally...we too got some marketing love.

Present the Mission and Vision Statements
For most companies, setting out and marketing is as simple as setting up appointments and offering services or products to anyone they deem qualified and interested. But while any marketing professional would be equipped with the usual marketing paraphernalia such as flyers, brochures and company profiles, make sure that you also know the company mission and vision by heart.

How Do you Market a Medical Service?
Health has always been known to be a need for anyone but the thing is, how can you reach your patients or people who want to live a healthy and worry-free life? Apparently you cannot turn to all the mediums since if ever they would consider featuring a clinic or hospital for that matter, there will be various levels to do it.

Lego Thriving in Video Gaming
Lego, a toy company that has long been known for plastic blocks that teach kids to build and make something out of their many pieces and themes, has invested into video gaming as early as 5 years ago. Still holding that educational pitch, Lego had outsourced most of its licensing initiatives that included Lucas Films. Now we see the Lego Star Wars video game, and it is certainly showing the fruits of their partnership.

Merging with the Right Resources
Developing tourism and country branding is really something that is left towards the task of local government bodies tasked with promoting tourism and as far as the Philippines is concerned, using MTV as the platform to make it happen. Beginning in February, the "MTV revelations" campaign will kick off in 12 countries including the U.S., U.K., China and Japan. The effort is comprised of a series of TV spots starring MTV VJs. Through a number of vignettes, they each share personal stories and experiences they had in the Philippines.

Recycling Ideas
Everything old is new again. Retro is respectable.

Focusing on the Brand Essence
People in marketing today initially believe that the key towards successful marketing is all about promotions and building rant over any product or service. But before you do that, have you ever given it much thought on looking deeper on the product or service? Have you checked the relationship of the commodity with the brand you are trying to build?

Branding is a Mind Game
When you see a brand, there will always be something that associates it in your own understanding. At that point, it will matter if that brand has any meaning to you or as some people would say, relevance towards making it identifiable.

Are you Branding Locally or Globally? BTB EG
There are two instances of marketing to do good business today. You can either focus on your local area or aspire to be a global brand. Of the two, the second one seems to be more lucrative but it will entail a lot of research and flexibility as far as establishing a global brand.

Injured? You are an Athlete!
What is the best way to describe an athlete these days? Injuries. Of course you may say that injuries only pertain to players or athletes of sports who are in the prime of their career, they are also branded in a couple of ways: 1. High Risk Athletes. People who do crazy stunts such as dunk or love to do balancing acts and raise the adrenalin of the game

YouTube to Sell Search Ads
How do you find videos on YouTube? Through keywords of course! So how do advertisers gain from the exposure? Advertisers are charged when a viewer clicks on the ad, and can set a maximum price per click that they want to pay. Not a bad deal considering that YouTube is one hot site that made it one of Google’s prized but expensive acquisition.

Get a Clue
One of the smartest, most insightful books I've ever read about the Web is The Cluetrain Manifesto. This book, subtitled The End of Business As Usual, was written by a group of Web pioneers way back in 2000, but it is still as fresh and smart today as it was when I first read it seven years ago. That's a small miracle in the digital age, because most books about the Web written more than a year or two ago are now irrelevant or just plain wrong. The Cluetrain Manifesto is not only still vital, but just about everything predicted in it has come true. From the global transformation of the marketplace, to the power of conversation, to the rise of social marketing, it's all here.

Sarah Palin Continues to Make a Brand for Herself
It may all over but the shouting as far as the electoral race is concerned but Sarah Palin is still in the headlines lately. Whether you like her or not, rest assured that her name is becoming popular as each day passes. And you have to hand it to her, she is handling herself well.

Google Flu
The fine folks at Google have developed a tracker that follows flu trend in your state or area. They analyze the search terms for any given area and they have created an formula that correlates those terms to the probability that the flu has been found in that area. How does it work?

Social networking for crafty types
Several years ago, a husband and wife team decided to try something new. She was a blogger and knitter, and he was a code monkey (his term, not mine). They realized there was a need for a way for knitters and crocheters to connect, but realized it would be a huge undertaking. In May of 2006, they opened Ravelry up for beta testing. In essence, you emailed jess and hoped that you would get an invite. It took several months for some of the testers to get their invites, but once they did, it was worth it. Right now, new requests are handled within a week, sometimes within a day or two, as opposed to the weeks and months of waiting many faced last year.

Obama CTO
Here is a good way to speak up and tell President-elect Obama what matters most to you and for your digital life. Barack Obama is going to appoint the nation's first CTO. What are the top priorities? It's a simple concept. Each user gets 10 votes to hand out to whichever plans ideas matter the most to them. Users are allowed to use up to 3 of their votes on any one issue, and once you run out, you wait for the idea to get deleted or resolved, or you rearrange your votes.

MySpace goes Primetime
MySpace is sweetening the deal, yet again. They are adding a Primetime Application, and with it comes every video currently on Hulu. Once the app is added to and embedded in a profile, then the app can show all the videos on Hulu, MySpace originals, and videos from more than 150 licensed content partners.

Famous Bands Just "Touring" Around
It happens occasionally. Big time bands that had easily made a name for themselves before are bound to get back together to do some gigs and tours and serenade their die hard fans of their hits of yesteryears. Now while their reunion does bring back memories, I do not recall any of them making a run at another road towards glory. For one, by the time they realize that they want to relive the glory years, they are most probably way old and beyond their prime.

This Chocolate is AXED!
Goofy and Irrelevant. This is how I would call this AXE commercial titled “Axe Dark Temptation: Chocolate Man”. We all know Unilever has been great at coming up with commercials to build its brand and image but this one is certainly way off the mark. What does a chocolate man have to do with getting attention outside that of supposedly being yummy? “Supposedly” in a sense that if you look at this chocolate man, any kid may freak out seeing him walking out in the real world. Weird as it may seem, I don’t know who in the world would want to wear an anti-perspirant that smells like dark chocolate. Would you dare?

China Goes for Stimulus Brand
You really have to give China credit for always initiating that task of resolving issues. But the problem with them is that while they act fast, chances are they have overlooked something again. They have declared that popularizing this so-called “Stimulus Plan” will help the world but would it not be mainly for them too?

Code Name Renegade for Obama
The First Family has now been among the most important people to safeguard in the U.S. today and the secret service has assigned them nicknames, all starting with the letter R.

Google Reader Can Translate!
Google has paired up its Translator with its personal RSS aggregator, Reader. I use Google Reader everyday. I think its such a great application. Instead of having to navigate to fifty different blogs a day I'm provided with a space where I can see all of their updates in one spot. Now that Reader has the ability to translate, internet users around the globe will no longer be held back by language. I'm interested to trying this out. I would love to read about digital media from a Japanese blog or band reviews from a French music site.

BlogWorld and New Media Expos Link Up
Two well known digital media conferences are joining forces for the future. Mashable reports on the merging of Blog World Expo and New Media Expo as well as their convergence over time. The growth of these groups and now the merger, prove that new media is continuing to grow and evolve as a communications channel. Start digging in those corporate budgets or save your own pennies so you can attend the 2009 conference!

Iams celebrates 10 years of holiday campaign for pet adoption
Iams Pet Food is celebrating the 10th anniversary of its pet adoption campaign, "Home 4 the Holidays," with the help of Desperate Housewives star Felicity Huffman. The campaign, in partnership with the San Diego County-based Helen Woodward Animal Center, includes online outreach, traditional media relations, and a new sports-themed challenge.

Time for Some Tourist Advertising
Each country has its own place and tourist spot and just like most businesses, turning to globalization is not only good in luring in visitors of various races, but likely investors as well. Most of us had our share of visiting neighboring countries and at some point, you have to agree that they have places and tourist spots that simply leave us catching our breath. Add to the fact that the different culture and lifestyle appease to us,

YouTube and MGM Partner for Full Length Movies Online
So much for that strong stand with regards to cracking down on pirated movies and illegal downloads of software and movies, this new partnership by MGM and YouTube is bound to somewhat dwindle this issue. At least as far as movies are concerned. Apparently the two known brands have combined forces and are planning to show full length movies online for free. If you can get something for free, then why do the illegal ways still right? Watch out for it.

Spreading the Virus
Some may debate the origin of viral marketing, but Seth Godin explores the concept in detail in his book "Unleashing the Idea Virus." The point of viral marketing is to create something so unusual and appealing that it spreads like a virus as people tell others.

Branding Through Subtlety
For decades, Wendy's has been chasing the big boys like McDonald's and Burger King. They have been playing in the "burger and fries" arena, but have never really been much of a threat to the supremacy of the reigning fast-food champs.

Is It Worth Being a Bobblehead?
These days, if you happen to find yourself being made into a doll-like figure, you are popular. Especially if you are a sensation like in the world of sports, chances are you may find a weird looking doll that has a big head with a spring used as a neck to connect to the doll body. These are known as bobbleheads, a popular commodity especially in the world of celebrities and familiar figures we see today.

How To Draft Potential Logos
When you are on the threshold of opening a new company, it will come to a point where you will need an identification card for your company. It is different from the usual IDs that we flash when we are asked for proof of identity. It is something that will forever be in the minds of your target market, assuming you effectively build your company in the manner that it becomes memorable to them.

MySpace still trying to cash in
MySpace is still trying to find a way to make itself even more profitable. It's one of the most successful social media platforms available, but they are still not as profitable as they could be. Following on the heels of Facebook, and even Apple, with the iPhone App store, they are looking for a way to insert virtual gifting and pay-to-use applications. Facebook has an inner site gift economy, though they have not yet opened up the virtual gifting to developers.

Youtube to allow full length movies
In the never ending battle between video sites and studios, MGM and Youtube are close to an agreement. They've decided to allow Youtube to host full length videos on their site. Starting today, YouTube will have some of MGM's content available. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios will kick off the partnership by posting episodes of its decade-old “American Gladiators” program to YouTube,

Tweety animals
Ok, so you've got a twitter account, or three, but how about your pet cat? Does your cat Tweet? Maybe your dog shares his insights and opinions. This is not as far fetched as it might seem. Mary Hodder, a web entreprenuer has her entire household wired. She transcribes her cats actions and opinions. Here’s some of the latest from Ms. Hodder’s flock of Felines 2.0:

Future of Business Communications
Gerd Leonhard, media and technology futurist, posted to his blog a very interesting article on what he thinks are the developing trends in business communications. He goes over a brief history of communications spanning from the phone to social media, and then shares a very intriguing graph of where he believes communications are headed.

Creative Adwords
I've seen some interesting attempts at pay per click advertising but I have to admit that Woot takes the cake. They don't mind playing around with ads in a way that shows they're paying attention. Of course people are checking their Google stock. So why not take a shot and draw some eyes. Are you willing to have some fun with your adwords?

You’ve been Spoofed! Wonder Woman Movie a Hoax
To many people, getting the hot news and being the first one to write about it is always their intent. But one thing that they are playing with as well is consistency and validity. And for the people who had wrote something about Megan Fox being the next super hero to be shown on the wide screen, perhaps retracts are in order. It was all a hoax! There is no truth to the fact that Wonder Woman will indeed be the next DC comic superhero to hit the screen. And surely, it is not going to be Megan Fox at least for now. There will be some movie about Wonder Woman but on an animated and on DVD. So perhaps the dream of seeing the next DC comic superhero will still be on the table.

Vitamin Water Commercials Featuring Steve Nash
NBA All-Star and Phoenix guard Steve Nash has been known to be in a couple of commercials and endorsement deals but apparently there is this new one, the Vitamin Water Commercials that don’t seem to really fit the persona that Steve Nash really carries. Nash can be funny at times but while most of the clips in this commercial take looks weirder than funny, I don’t know why Steve Nash, well respected all over the world and all would take on such a crazy role. A change of image? He doesn’t need it!

Even Disney Feels the Economic Spike
If you are a big time company, a known brand in terms of entertainment and all, you would think that a decline in your average annual revenue of $37.8 billion dollars can safely put you in safe waters. But if you consider the last quarter performance of falling 13% or $760 million compared to the previous years should you be alarmed?

Zuckerberg May Want to Think Profits for Facebook
Admittedly, we all know Facebook as one hot social community site today, overtaking other prior leaders like Friendster and MySpace. But while that is a given already, there is the issue of identifying which should be prioritized: growth or profit?

Up Close and Personal Balanced President-Elect's Virtual Strategy
Those of us seriously involved with the digital revolution, as professionals or consumers, will always remember President-elect Barack Obama’s primary and general election campaigns for new media powered, record shattering political fundraising. According to Federal Election Commission data released October 27, Obama’s campaign raised $639 million to John McCain's $360 million. Before we move on in this 24-hour cable/digital news cycle world, let’s put in perspective the Obama campaign's fundraising designed around web and mobile media and focused on small contributions.

When Advertising Efforts Become Abused
Do you have problems considering the astronomical expenses of advertising to gain exposure? Well you don’t have to invest in them. Most cost millions and this does not include production. Further, you also have to worry about penetrating the proper target market so factors like time slots, air times and the right media has to be considered. But as far as building rapport for exposure, making do with the materials and of course the talent can be a good recourse. For one, consider the technology factor. Not all people are readily familiar with them and you may be surprised at how you can make a close-to-perfect commercial make a difference.

Year of Recalls hurting Toy Industry
You may sum up 2008 as the year of recalls as well. Ranging from lead point to choking hazards, one can just imagine the losses that any company has incurred due to some overlooked safety issues. Toys are a child’s weakness and considering that consumers are totally clueless on such hazards, one simple recall can really ruin a toy brand, regardless if you are known like Mattel or not.

Holding Out for a Hero
Two big movies of this past summer were Marvel Comics' Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk. Superheroes have been a bankable product for many years, so the success of these, as well as other superhero movies, is far from surprising.

Using Logic in Marketing
Sony has begun to target sports fans with a unique bit of logic. Their tagline for some of their high definition televisions has become "If sports are shot on a Sony, shouldn't you watch them on a Sony?"

Weird Characters can Hurt Product Offshoot
Here is something that can be held close to the China-melamine issue. As you all know, more countries are being enticed to buy local and avoid the Chinese products. One glaring note you will find in such products is the existence of Chinese characters in the labeling of the packaging.

Burger King Jumps on The Simpsons Bandwagon
The Simpsons have long been a successful animated series and is actually on their 19th season. There is no question that despite some debate over the manner of production that this cartoon series has had, people just love them regardless of what is being said. And Burger King knows this all too well.

Body Piercing can become a Health Risk
If you look at society today, a lot of them have gone to various personal branding techniques such as body piercing. For the traditional person, it is something that only the hardcore people would try out. It is actually a form of personal branding for them, making them stand out above the rest. But while that is apparent these days, it also carries some risks.

Creating a Sustainable Brand
I didn't want to do another political post. Really I didn't. It's just that in recent days, Politics has been Everything. (Or is it 'Everything has been Politics'?) Regardless, I promise this will be my last political post for awhile, unless there is something political that just SCREAMS to be blogged about.

The Bearing of Presentations in Branding
One thing you will notice is that there are certain levels of degree when it comes to supporting a certain product or service. To most, a simple Powerpoint presentation will do but to the more advanced, using effects or even video presentations are gaining more popularity.

MySpace MyAds a success
Less than a month after release, MySpace MyAds is a success. Early figures reveal that the revenue from this venture could net MySpace $50 million a year, if it continues to be as successful. The concept is not a unique one, Facebook has a similar ad set up available, advertisers design ads and the minimum CPC (cost per click) of the ad is $.25. This can be a very effective way to reach a target audience.

FriendFeed now geotagging entries
FriendFeed pushed an update yesterday, and it's a nifty little tool. If you use a service like BrightKite, or even a geoRSS feed that includes geolocation in the data, FriendFeed now displays a Google Map image, embedded in the entry. If you click on the map, it will take you to a google map, with more information included. This update should help pave the way for other social networks to start using geolocation. Now you can see where your friends are really updating from.

Twitter had a very good day!
Twitter has faced issues with reliability in the past. When the service first went live, it would have several days of completely flawless operation, followed with a week of fail whale sightings. During the Presidential debates, and for the day or so afterward, Twitter was spotty. It crashed and hung up and didn't post updates at all.

Iphone Ocarina
This is pure folly for a Friday. I love my iPhone and the access to tools and information. The interactions with the device such as the touch screen, shake and accelerometer usage make it an intuitive device. The apps make it a spectacular device that has many uses in my everyday life. Truly a smart phone. Now, Smule, has taken the iPhone to yet another level. For the musically gifted iPhone users, blow on the mic and you can become an musical phenom by using Smule's Iphone Ocarina App.

Internet and Digital New Media’s Election Coverage vs. Television’s
With a Pew Research survey just days before Barack Obama’s election finding the Internet is now second only to television as a primary campaign news source for Americans, election night seemed the perfect time for a coverage comparison. For the new media side, I chose my personal favorites, Markos Moulitsas’ Daily Kos and Arianna Huffington’s Huffington Post online journal. For TV, I took my personal favorites NBC/MSNBC and perennial standby CNN

Keeping Up With the Joneses
A recent trend in fast food has been to innovate. Then, once someone has done something innovative, everyone jumps on the bandwagon.

How to Build a Brand - Part 2: You've Got the Look
How your product looks is as important to your brand as anything else. If your product looks shabby or cheap, then that will reflect upon your brand. The same if your product looks extremely high-class and expensive. Every visual impression consumers have of your company or product impacts your brand.

Touch Screen Taxi Advertising in Vancouver
If you happen to be in Vancouver, you are in for a treat. Tourists and people who often have problems as far as where to go and how to go to certain places can now get places thanks to the installation of Moving Media Group's interactive out-of-home advertising consisting of touch-screens in taxis.

Google Retracts Pact with Yahoo
No thanks to a government antitrust law, a supposed advertising partnership between Google and Yahoo did not materialize, choosing not to risk the possible sanctions of getting into a legal battle and of course damage its current status with existing valued partners.

Kate Winslet Spread Altered?
Kate Winslet has appeared on the cover of Vanity Fair magazine and looked great! Too great that many critics are questioning on whether her image there was altered? Is Kate Winslet, star of "Titanic", that old to be questioned? She certainly has beauty but the real deal is on whether her wrinkles (Winslet isn’t that young anymore ya know!) were concealed. She looked too close to perfect!

Palin Screws Up Her Rating Big Time!
Before she was selected by John McCain as the VP running mate, Sarah Palin was definitely a well-respected personality in the political bandwagon. However, the risk of moving up will always have its flaws and apparently included in it were some issues that may have turned the tides. Is Sarah Palin the same as before? Many have questioned it. The elections are over and she has returned to Alaska. While she was greeted by a lot of people and supporters, they have definitely had a lot of things in mind. Has Sarah Palin changed?

Has Yahoo Finally Surrendered?
It looks like Yahoo has finally surrendered to its grim circumstances. Earlier this week the deal between Yahoo and Google was called off. The collapse of the Yahoo/Google deal lead Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang to openly proclaim during a speech at the Web 2.0 Summit that Yahoo was ready to sell to Microsoft...at whatever price. What impact do you think this will have on the Search arena? Google just locked up their kingdom, or woudl Microsoft have a chance with Yahoo?

Social networks
I love social media...particularly social networks. I also love wine. After caving in to familial pressure (the only way my brother would join Twitter) I joined Facebook. Lo and behold I see a message to join a wine lovers community which I naturally did. After being on not even a few minutes, I already zoomed through to check it out. Since I still have a life, I'll have to go back at a later time to check it out further. I just hope it doesn't wind up another Twitter-like addiction.

Change.GOV - That Was Quick
I guess one of "Obama's Changes" will be quick action in government. From a marketing point of view, time kills all deals and for government, getting a website up and running is typically this huge, painful and slow process. Committees, political strategists, poll gurus and media analysts are usually all involved before even a bland piece of government brochure-ware sees the light of day.

Obama's savvy comms propel him to victory
Last night, America came together to make history. Our first African American President, it's about time people! Barack Obama's solid victory as the next president of the US not only is historically significant, but it will make a lasting impact on the communications sector. On the day of and the day leading up to the election, PRWeek solicited predictions from PR pros on who would become the next president and what in their communications strategy would propel him to victory. They overwhelmingly pointed to an Obama victory. One person went on to say: "Obama's win reflects a broader trend toward more interactive communications rather than conventional top-down messaging". You can read more of this interesting article here.

Starbucks focuses on community with (RED)
In an ever growing unstable environment, one company decided to stand above the rest. Starbucks says it is reinforcing its commitment to the communities that produce its coffee through a partnership with (RED) - which was announced last week. PR for the multi-year partnership with (RED), which works to eliminate AIDS in Africa, includes traditional media relations, online outreach, and in-store marketing and events, said Stacey Krum, a spokeswoman for Starbucks. You can read more here.

Pharmavite selects Porter Novelli
Pharmavite, maker of Nature Made vitamins and Soyjoy nutrition bars, named Porter Novelli its AOR after a procurement-led review. Douglas Jones, corporate communications and PR manager for the Northridge, CA-based company, noted PN's advocacy work and its strength in strategy as reasons for its selection. The account encompasses the Nature Made and Soyjoy brands, as well as corporate communications. Budget information was not disclosed, but Jones said the account is “substantial.” You can read more here.

Budget cuts push outlets to online efforts
There has been a 10% cut in the workforce at Rodale, publisher of Men's Health, Prevention, and Runner's World. A reported 600 job cuts at Time Inc., owner of Time, Sports Illustrated, and Fortune. There have been reductions in the frequency of Condé Nast titles Portfolio and Men's Vogue, as well as a 5% budget cut across the parent company's magazines. Publishing executives are blaming both the financial crisis and a poor 2009 advertising forecast for job and content cuts. For example, Time Inc. CEO Ann Moore noted in a memo obtained by Reuters that “industry conditions have been challenging due to the financial crisis, which has produced sharp decreases in advertising spending...

PR for Congress
With Congress' approval rate at a measly 25% with the public, Democratic leadership in the House is pushing for members to hold more press conferences and town hall meetings which would extol their accomplishments since Nancy Pelosi took over the speakership, The Hill reports.

Brand Formula - Election Day Edition
By the end of today, November 4th, the brand of America will change. Even though the new head muckity-muck won't be sworn in for a few months, the country's perception of itself will change. The new regime will be looked forward to with joy by some, with dread by others.

Get Corporate Gift Suggestions at Promopeddler
Having problems finding the suitable gift idea that your company can give? Well look no further. Pry away your usual dilemma from traditional giveaways like paper weights or umbrellas. You are bound to get some good gift idea suggestions from the best picks 2008 collection of Promopeddler.

The best brand wins the election
Now that the best marketer has won our election, it will be interesting to see how this "underdog" brand evolves during the presidency. Starting in January, hope will have to materialize into programs. And "Yes we can" will have to become "we did that." With all the uphill battles that lie in wait, I'm wondering if this brand won't soon have a new jingle. If it does, I imagine it go something like this: .

Victoria Beckham Strips Down in New Armani
.When you are the endorsing a leading underwear company, chances are you may be required to strip down to your underwear to promote the company product to the max. For Victoria Beckham, it seems obvious that she will do so one of these days.

Rihanna Poses for Gucci
Rihanna has appeared in a latest Gucci full ad sporting the “Tattoo Heart” bag, which 25% of proceeds will benefit UNICEF. Now you may be wondering why Rihanna was chosen for the job. Aside from her growing and tested popularity, it is apparent that Rihanna solidifies the real intent of Gucci in its commitment towards UNICEF.

Obama Victory Signals Color Free Country
As expected, Barack Obama won overwhelmingly over rival John McCain and thus has earned the brand of being the first official black president. The victory covers a lot of ground, especially when it comes to putting racial discrimination issues to rest. Today is the modern day of setting aside the irrational side of society as the main focus is to really find a person that is able and capable of leading a faltering country into better tomorrows.

Samba Chip Ads Pulled Out
Chimpanzees and monkeys are two common animals we may see in a couple of ads, both banned and shown. But while many of us find them hilarious, PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) doesn’t find them amusing. In fact, they have gone as far as contacting SEGA asking to shed light on the use of monkeys on their ads. So using animals don’t seem to be funny after all. Makes you wonder what animal will be noticed next.

Johnnie Walker “Keeps Walking”
Johnnie Walker has long been a distinguished brand in the world of great drinks for liquor lovers. And while they have been around for quite some time now, it doesn’t mean that they can stop promoting themselves. Apparently they have scored another victory as their new ad titled “Keep Walking”, romped away with a couple of awards at the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising Effectiveness Awards. Spread over 120 markets for the past 8 years, the effect can be seen in its sales performance. Global sales of Johnnie Walker rose to 48% and that alone speaks highly of the promotional effort placed into building his brand.

Newspapers still trying to catch up
With news like we had last week, about the Christian Science Monitor moving to a digital format, it's not surprising to now read that many newspapers are finally figuring out that selling ads online is going to help pave their way into the new generation of news and reporting. This is coming a little late, many companies will not want to invest in advertising on the newer news sites, especially when they can run ads on Google ads and also target local visitors with local search engine results.

"An Apple a Day" for the Music Industry
In a great piece written over at the Artists House Music Blog, Andrew Goodrich breaks down what he believes are the healthy traits of a successful music business. He explains that in a such a buyer heavy market, the keys to keeping an entity healthy lie in creating value in absolutely everything you do. His four main traits of a healthy (music)business are:

McRib Promoted via Mobile
McDonalds has announced the return of its seasonal pork sandwich, the McRib. While it is familiar to most, promoting it to gain more consumer awareness is still needed. But while traditional marketing is bound to be turned to, McDonalds has reportedly partnered with Myxer, a hyper-targeting ad service to help promote it via mobile.

Lohan Branding Herself in a Bad Way
What do you think of a person (a woman at that), who has been through drug, alcohol and man addiction? Well surely someone you would not want your child or teenager to idolize.

Michael Douglas to be Given Lifetime Achievement Award
Talk about personal branding, in the showbiz industry Michael Douglas is and will always be a familiar name. From acting to directing, this guy has achieved a lot. It is because of his dedication and efforts that he will be awarded the David O. Selznick Achievement Award in Theatrical Motion Pictures by the Producers Guild of America. Previous awardees of this distinctive award include Dino De Laurentiis and "Spider-Man' producer Laura Ziskin. Douglas is not yet done

Teen Pregnancy Figures Rise from TV Sexual Content
Where else can teenagers and yuppies learn the tricks of the trade when it comes to everyday living? Apparently it all boils down to what they see and we all know that television is the driving power that entices us to make decisions and learn new ways of life. One glaring figure is the rise of teenage pregnancy. Sex education is being taught in schools but that is no guarantee that your kids may not be tempted to do it out of adventure and curiosity. So if you want someone to blame, blame it on TV!

Being (un)real online.
Social psychology fascinates me. That's why when reading about studies regarding social psychology and social media I had to comment. As a result of said article, I found a cool online tool for 'reading' into a person's profile. After trying to interpret a few individual's 'true' personality traits from their online profile, I failed miserably. Goes to show people aren't always what they appear to be.

Did you vote?
Thanks to @keryp on Twitter who retweeted the link for this voting badge...yes, I voted this morning and got my Starbucks after. (Too bad they didn't extend the free coffee to include lattes.) Yes, you may think it's last minute--at least I went this morning and not this evening.So, if you haven't voted yet, what are you waiting for? At least the free Starbucks should be incentive.

Bandcamp.mu | the whole package?
From a post that I recently wrote on Artists House Music: Calling all independent artists!!! Bandcamp is here, have no fear! I think. For those of y’all who have not checked out bandcamp.mu, you’re missing out. Not only is this the sexiest place that I’ve seen where independent artists can call their music’s home, but it looks as if its not all bells and whistles.

Pura Milk Brand Up to the Highest Bidder
National Foods is forced to let go of one of its brands, Pura Milk due to a potential merger with Dairy Farmers. Apparently this is to avoid any conflict as far as brands and product lines are concerned and being an established brand name, it would really be a shame if the brand would not be continued.

Branding Small Differences
Years ago, I sold diamonds for a major retailer. I learned a very important lesson while doing that. If you want to try to sell the same thing as your competitor, you have to latch on to small differences and make them big.

Free Coffee for Voters
We are all aware that people are flocking the voting stations to cast their vote. Obama or McCain. At the moment, Obama holds a significant lead but until the final vote is cast, he is not yet the new President of the United States. Now casting a vote is not that appealing. For one, long lines are out there and while the waiting sucks, it is apparent that people may get rowdy. But the setting is simply perfect for coffee giant vendor Starbucks. They have plugged an ad saying they will give away free coffee for those who will vote.

Advertising and Promotions are Futile this Christmas Season
Weigh out finances and consider promoting sales and discounts to entice consumer buying, chances are investments in the advertising and marketing aspect to get more people to buy stuff this Christmas will all go for naught. Not market analysis is needed. People just won’t spend that much this year. So with that in mind, what measures can drive people to buy from the retailers this season?

Go ahead, post that Punk'd
After years and years of lawyers telling users to pull down copyrighted content from YouTube, MtV and Viacom have changed their minds. YouTube has announced they will start using a service called Auditude, a file identifying service that matches voices and videos with television shows and videos already in their database. It's been reported that within seconds of uploading content, Audible can scan and tag the clip, and then identify which show it might have originated from. The end result is an identified video, and YouTube can then use the information to monetize the video by posting an ad over part of it.

Who are you again?
Remember all those people you swore you'd keep in touch with, after high school or college? Well, most of us didn't do such a good job, with the keeping in touch. Wink.com and reunion.com have joined forces to help you try to find all those people you thought you left behind. They have merged and will be announcing a new brand in 2009, as well as retooling their search engines. Wink allows you to search across social networking sites like MySpace, facebook, linkedin and several others,

"Smart" Mobile Figures
In a recent post from Mobile Crunch, some interesting figures have emerged from a survey given by The Kelsey Group. Almost 19% of mobile phone users have smartphones, while 42% plan on owning one within the next few years. The article points out that mobile search activity is up also.

Komen's New Site
Susan G. Komen for the Cure announced the new Komen.org site launch today. According the new website announcement email, they claim the purpose of the redesign was to achieve: » Clearer navigation » Integration of more personal stories

Guiding Mom and Me to Better Endeavors
Any parent, mothers in particular, will need all the help and assistance that they can get. Apparently, much of it means channeling the various modes of advertising and marketing. In the case of Cookie Jar Entertainment, its standing deal with the revamped Mommy and Me brand is sure to be a good way to entice and assist mothers who are in need of aid like daily mom-targeted content and activities, a new and improved Playgroup Finder and other valuable tools, local resources and communities.

Nortel's PR blogger weighs in on negative financial coverage
It's not often that a company publicly analyzes its own media coverage, particularly when the news is bad. But that's exactly what Nortel did, a day after it announced a big quarter loss and job cuts totalling 1,300 staff. In a blog posting on November 11, new media manager Bo Gowan directed readers to links of news articles that, in his opinion, offered “a little more in-depth analysis and commentary that provided some differentiation [from] the typical straight coverage” regarding Nortel's third quarter financials.

007 Helps Advertise Virgin Atlantic
One thing about being seen in hit movies such as the James Bond series is that you can make it work to your advantage as far as advertising is concerned. This was obviously what Virgin Atlantic had in mind since the airline appeared in the latest James Bond movie, Quantum of Solace. Daniel Craig plays 007 once more in what many people are expecting to be another epic James Bond movie.

The End is Near for Hannah Montana
Rumors are bound to be the pitch for something big and as far as TV shows are concerned, you can expect a lot of attention and speculations with regards to the rumors running around. One person that is bound to be in the spotlight (once again!) is Miley Cyrus who has been rumored to be leaving the hit series. Similar to any rumor, she has denied it. But how many times have we seen this type of rumor be downplayed and then eventually become true?

Collective Intelligence Technologies
A recent article in the NY Times about our use of digital tools, the trail we leave and privacy has been rolling around in my head. The article talks about how organizations are using the vast amounts of data that we generate through the use of GPS, cellphones, site traffic, online search, etc. to inform business decisions and product development. The term being used is collective intelligence technologies. The concern that is quietly floating in the background is what privacy risk this data may present for you and me.

Dress your iPhone with these New Skins
For all iPhone owners, the venture is practically the same as having a new mobile phone. Features and the latest models will be a rant but nothing beats personalizing your iPhone to stand out above the rest.

Kara Branded as Briefcase Number 9
For most television game shows, there will be celebrities and personalities that will become easily identifiable. For the popular game show “Deal or No Deal” you would think that the various models simply holding the briefcases were simply there to open it once the number was called. But apparently, one briefcase holder, Patricia Kara has been getting the bulk of the attention for holding on to briefcase number 9. And she has been doing it for 4 years and counting!

'Lookbook' puts fashion PR front and center
A free online directory of updated contact information for fashion publicists and stylists was launched on October 28th. TheLookBook, which includes client lists and notes on celebrity contracts and endorsement deals, will monitor an industry that has a high level of turnover, say its founders. “There was a gaping void in our industry for this information to be in a central place,” said co-founder Kristen

Biotech association connects with 'Eleventh Hour' TV audience
The Biotechnology trade association, BIO, is using interest around CBS' new Eleventh Hour drama to tackle misinterpretations about its industry. The Washington, DC-based group launched an interactive Web site, eleventhhourfacts.com, on October 15 to educate the public. Jeff Joseph, VP of communications for BIO said they saw this show as an educational opportunity that “could share the benefits of the biotechnology.” You can read more about this interesting turn of events here.

Hewlett-Packard to review firms for social media AOR
Tech giant Hewlett-Packard is reviewing firms to serve as its social and digital media agency, according to a senior source at the company. Its corporate AOR is Hill & Knowlton, and HP also works with Porter Novelli (imaging and printing), Burson-Marsteller (technology solutions), and A&R Edelman (personal systems). “We already have social media programs that we do in-house,” the source said. “But we want to formalize the process by getting an agency involved.” You can read more about HP's efforts here.

Biotech association connects with 'Eleventh Hour' TV audience
The Biotechnology trade association, BIO, is using interest around CBS' new Eleventh Hour drama to tackle misinterpretations about its industry. The Washington, DC-based group launched an interactive Web site, eleventhhourfacts.com, on October 15 to educate the public. Jeff Joseph, VP of communications for BIO said they saw this show as an educational opportunity that “could share the benefits of the biotechnology.” You can read more about this interesting turn of events here.

Hewlett-Packard to review firms for social media AOR
Tech giant Hewlett-Packard is reviewing firms to serve as its social and digital media agency, according to a senior source at the company. Its corporate AOR is Hill & Knowlton, and HP also works with Porter Novelli (imaging and printing), Burson-Marsteller (technology solutions), and A&R Edelman (personal systems). “We already have social media programs that we do in-house,” the source said. “But we want to formalize the process by getting an agency involved.” You can read more about HP's efforts here.

How to get over Financial Crisis Fatigue Syndrome – try some good news for a change
Most of us by now have FCFS – Financial Crisis Fatigue Syndrome. You can hear it all around you – moans and groans on a daily basis from office doorways and cubicles as the stock market goes on another terrifying roller coaster ride and ‘breaking news’ alerts detail the latest round of company closings and lay offs. So, yesterday, I was pleasantly surprised to see my BtoB Magazine news alert pop into my inbox with the subject line that some marketers plan to increase spending in 2009. Yes, I said increase. Let me repeat – increase. You can read more of this great news here.

The Right Distribution Service For Your PR Goals
Online public relations has become a very important component for any online business who is looking to take their brand a little bit further. When searching for the right partner who will have your press releases distributed; make sure to research and do your homework as to the specific reach of that company. Each press release distribution company has different specialties. While some claim to have it all, most of them have strengths and weaknesses. It is important to research what those strengths and weaknesses are so that you are not targeting the wrong type of effort. You can read more advice here.

Chrysler in Troubled Waters
Chrysler has long been a familiar brand in the car industry. It has been around for 83 years. But unless a financial savior steps forth to help the sagging hopes of this world-renowned manufacturer, that 83 year reign is on the brink of coming to an end. Apparently their sales are declining, something familiar in most business empires today. It is even contemplating on laying off some workers at that.

“Platoon” Director Passes Away
Remember that Oscar-winning movie “Platoon” which became the flagship of most famous stars today towards better futures in Hollywood? John Daly, the British producer of 13 Oscar Winning movies such as Platoon and The Last Emperor, passed away at the age of 71 Friday morning at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles after struggling with cancer. He was likewise responsible for Denzel Washington, Keanu Reeves and Julia Roberts becoming icons in the industry today and much of his accomplishments need not be questioned.

Internet Surpasses Newspapers as Source for Campaign News
When I said in August newspapers are doomed, I didn’t realize how fast the demise is progressing. According to a new Pew Research survey, the Internet is now second only to television as a primary campaign news source for Americans. Many more Americans are turning to the internet for campaign news this year as the web becomes a key source of election news. Television remains the dominant source, but the percent who say they get most of their campaign news from the internet has tripled since October 2004 (from 10% then to 33% now).

Getting ‘Punked’ in the Digital Age
Sarah Palin got “punked” Saturday by the Canadian comedy duo known as the Les Justiciers Masques (the Masked Avengers). The Canadian radio prank was even more humiliating than Palin’s TV interviews with Charlie Gibson and Katie Couric. Not only did the Masked Avengers' comically bad accents and pop culture and pornography references go straight over Palin’s head -- but despite her claims of a special relationship with Canada, the Alaska governor and vice presidential candidate failed to notice the pranksters’ use of a fictitious name for the Canadian Prime Minister.

Article Marketing: Good Article Submission Software to Use
To make the whole article submission process easier, there are only two softwares that I think that could make the grade:

Junk Food Vending Machines to be Banned
We have been hearing the clamor to clamp down on the advertising of junk food since generally, they are not providing kids a healthy way of eating. Apparently, local authorities are dead serious as they are going to the extent of banning vending machines that distribute them as well.

Brand Formula - Halloween Edition
Another Halloween is here and gone, and of course, slasher films are the preferred fair this time of year for moviegoers. This year's offering is Saw 5, which coincides with last Halloween's offering of Saw 4. Looks like they are pumping them out once a year now.

Rejected Idol Faces Legal Sanction
Being a contestant on American Idol alone is already a privilege. The exposure you get as well as the attention is something you will cherish. But whether you make it to the last number of contestants or not doesn’t mean you have been totally rejected. For one your talents are bound to get attention but you have to remember what you signed on the dotted line. Apparently, Josiah Leming forgot all about it when he signed up with Warner Bros. earlier this year.

Gmail adds SMS feature
Gmail has revealed that they have added an SMS feature to their chat feature. I find this incredibly useful as I sometimes text people from my email address, and this would be much easier than composing a new email for every reply. It sounds like it will be intuitive, Turning the option on in your Gmail account settings apparently enables you to send an SMS as soon as you start typing a phone number into Chat’s search box.

Video games influencing the election
Right on the heels of the news that Barack Obama spent $44,000 on ads inside of video games this month, Gamasutra is examining the effects that video games have on the election process. The GOP has released games with both the 2004 and the 2008 elections. In 2004, it was a game called Pork Invaders, featuring a McCain ship flying around shooting vetoes at pig "aliens. In 2008, it's a game called Tax Invaders,

New Media Frightens Me
Boo. It's Halloween. And I'm scared. Very scared. Of New Media. I'm scared of Twitter. I'm afraid that a killer tweet will set off off a chain reaction causing everyone's head to explode. I'm alarmed by my own dangerous obsession with online election coverage in The Washington Post, The New York Times and (gulp) The Huffington Post. Joe The Plumber's foreign policy stance freaks me out.

More on Music Blogs... the next Radio???
Earlier this month I posted about music blogs and how they are influencing the music industry. Continuing on that theme is a conversation between the author of Music Think Tank and the International Federation of Phonographic Industries. The conversation brings up questions like "Do you think music blogs are the heirs to radio stations and music magazines, both or neither," and "Do you believe many blogs can become viable businesses or will most remain essentially hobbies?" Dave Allen's responses are very insightful and provocative. Check it out here!

Are you a lurker?
Well, if you are I'd never find out anyway. If you are a regular online surfer, and are averse to posting comments--you're a lurker. I used to justify it by believing there was never anything worth commenting about. But I think there's more to that Let me just say I love how social media is not only engaging, but in the case of online support groups a good thing. For being such an open society, we certainly have a large number of support group site visitors who don’t contribute, preferring anonymity.

The Voice of Movies
On September 1, a man passed away. This man's voice had been heard countless times by millions of people. Yet most people would not be able to tell you his name.

Article Marketing: Place your URL at the Bio Box Only
As far as Internet Marketing is concerned, article submissions is certainly one of the common practices you will find. But while you may think that article submissions is mainly for the sake of establishing an individual as far as his ability to write, check out the bio-box and you will certainly find a link to a certain website.

Article Marketing: Choosing Good Sites for Submission
On the web, there are thousands of sites that accept articles. Among them include: 1. Article Snatch 2. Article Cube 3. Isnare 4. Amazines 5. Go Articles

Treehouse of Horror XIX from the Simpsons
I think I have lost count of the volumes that the Simpsons have been coming out with. It is a fact that this long running cartoon comedy show by Matt Groening has become a familiar fixture and among their favorite season is that of the Halloween season. The Treehouse of Horrors has reached the 19th volume and who ever thought it would become a collector’s item for most Simpsons fans.

The Eco-Friendly BMW is Coming!
Hold on to your horses. BMW is planning to join the eco-friendly frenzy by 2012. We have seen most car manufacturers shift towards the socially responsible green transportation these days and apparently this classy car manufacturer is not going to lag behind. It was only a matter of time before the other car manufacturers would announce their own brand of green cars in the market and for BMW, a new brand is in the works.

Paris Hilton Embraces Exploitation Handle
Controversial sexy star Paris Hilton is about sex and money. Hilton had admitted this from an interview with “News of the World” and if you look back at the bumpy road that she has followed, it is not surprising nor deniable why she should accept this level of personal branding. Who is to blame for all of it? So Paris was a naughty girl during her time but you have to consider the fact that it also elevated her to fame and fortune. It is not really the great way to rise from the ranks but it did work.

Grass roots level political campaign support
Had I the time to volunteer at a grassroots level for a political candidate I would be doing so. On my daily morning walks with the dogs through my neighborhood I take note of the political signs in each yard I pass. I noticed the numbers increasing significantly with each passing debate. More and more I've seen Obama signs planted in neighbor's yards...with an occasional McCain-Palin sign sprinkled in.

Tweet the Vote
With election day practically on top of us, the thought of everyone recording their part in history is fascinating. There are channels on twitter designed to track vote reports (#votereport added to the tweet) and I'm sure many voters will record their trip to the polls with camera phone pics or videos as well as tweets and blogs. This is one of the most important days to stay connected to others. Find out other ways to connect with fellow Americans below.

For those of you who don't like getting your hands dirty...
My five year old is constantly asking if we'll carve a pumpkin this year. Well, last year after nearly losing a finger and still cleaning up the mess of pumpkin guts a week after Halloween--nope. So I came across what I see as a safe alternative which even he can appreciate http://tinyurl.com/27hn4h happy carving!

Closing the Digital Media Gap
Barack Obama administration would mean a historic government kick-start for digital new media. That was one of the many clear messages from Obama’s wide-ranging Thursday interview with MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow. Essentially, the Obama team is envisioning a presidency that meld’s Franklin Roosevelt’s “New Deal” with John Kennedy’s “New Frontier.” One major result would be public works projects focusing on extension of broadband, plus a government looking to become as accessible and easy to interact with as Google. Equally significant would be Obama’s stated intent to focus on the nation’s aging electrical grid.

Personal Case Study: Acura - Part 2
A week ago, I was sharing the frustrations I was having with Acura. For those of you who missed it, you can read about it here.

Pirate Candies Recalled in Canada
Still on the Melamine issue, Canada seems to have discovered traces of this dreaded contaminant in one of their locally sold candies. Sherwood Brands has been distributing Pirate’s Good Milk Chocolate across Canada and it seems that the Canadian Food Agency has ordered a recall on these candies.

A Branding Coup
Everything old is new again. Old toys, old fashions, old TV shows. All are enjoying a renaissance here in the early parts of the 21st century. And they are giving manufacturers a great opportunity for product placement.

History's Biggest Branding Blunder
Imagine you have a product that is among the best selling in the world. Sure, you have a few competitors who pose a threat to your supremacy. What can you do to make sure you stay on top?

Scary but Subtle Halloween Ads
As far as Halloween is concerned, commercials and ads are bound to be made for the season of scaring. But while it is apparent that you have to be spooky to get attention, the need to make sure you mix the right scary and effective advertising tactics is a need. Besides, you don’t want to end up being branded as weird and frightening. Halloween is indeed the season for scaring but it is also the time when people come out and look forward to enjoying the season at the right level of celebrating.

Check out the Chow Before Eating
Ads have their ways of making comedy commercials into eye-popping attractions in the video world. Europeans have a different kind of culture especially when they are moving in on women. But while that is their way of striking a conversation, it would be wise to pick your moves and know when to get cozy like perhaps helping yourself to what they are munching on. Apparently, some men just figure that out once the climax begins. Sadly, the dogs are robbed of their chow which men seem to enjoy; assuming they don’t see what they are really eating.

Blackberry Buzzd
Blackberry and their many software partners have been unveiling new apps and software at an amazing rate. One that is getting a lot of attention is buzzd. Your City, Real Time is the tag line for this innovative software. It's essentially a social networking site, accessed through a cell phone, usually a Blackberry or iPhone. It also has a mobile web site and SMS capability. The appeal of this site is very clear.

LinkedIn adds InApps
Following in the footsteps of Facebook and MySpace, LinkedIn is adding apps to their interface. Unlike Facebook and MySpace, though, it's using a stricter standard, requiring approval before allowing it access to the network. This will help avoid an influx of "junk" apps and apps that clutter up a userpage. Some of the apps include a reading list app from Amazon, allowing users to share recommendations.Among productivity apps, a trip planning service called TripIt, SlideShare allows for sharing of images and information in

Conversation or Blurting
There is a lot of buzz right now, about the proper way to use Twitter. Some circles think that it should be a publicity medium, consisting of tweet after tweet of posted linkage, usually to their own work. This is intensified by the addition of celebrity twitter accounts, which are mainly all blurts. Others use it as more of a social network, using it connect to others, make new connections and keep up to date with those that they care about.These people see it as more of an alternative to instant messaging.

Digital media the end of the print newspaper?
Christian Science Monitor announced this week that come 2009, they will switch from a print edition enhanced with an online presence, to a mostly digital format. They plan to offer daily and weekly email editions as well as an enhanced weekly publication, featuring the best of the news of the week as well as photos and special sections. The 100 year old publication has realized that the transition to the new formats and editions is the way of the future. Print newspapers are struggling to maintain their foothold, and if they don't embrace the digital age, their futures are bleak.

The New Pepsi Logo
Pepsi sent a handful of Digital and Social Media influencers a set of packages this week. It was a way for them to reveal their new logo. You can see a short video of all the logos Pepsi has used, at the link. As part of the launch, Pepsi is making use of Friendfeed with a room called Pepsi Cooler. Supposedly, it's where all the social media geeks can go and comment ad nauseum on the logo, product design and whether or not any of this has anything to do with the fact the product itself is nothing more than sigar water with a little caffeine tossed in.

Who the hell are the Twitterati?
Okay, forgive my ignorance. Despite being a Twitter addict, I've yet to find out what/who the Twitterati are. Is the term referring to Tweeters/Twitterers? Or is it what Urban Dictionary defines it as being http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=twitterati? Should I even care?

You don't need a laptop with this...
So, I'm searching for a new cell phone. I also am searching for a new laptop. Then, I came across this: http://www.htc.com/www/product.aspx?id=49518 I believe it's been out a while, but I still think it's pretty amazing for the price. (And I'm a notorious cheapskate). I'm constantly amazed by the speed of innovation nowadays...and not just with Apple.

"Straddling" Online and Offline Marketing
George Howard, author of 9GiantSteps, former president of Rykodisc, teacher at Loyola University New Orleans, and executive editor at Artists House Music, has come up with a new term to describe how companies balance their marketing strategies between the online and offline worlds. He calls it "the straddle." In the article, he explains that many companies are in fact using the straddle (some better than others, ex. Facebook over MySpace), but the odd thing is that nobody is really talking about it. Take a look!

What’s the Deal with Polar Bears Drinking Coke?
I just don’t understand what the big fuss is about when it comes to Coke using Polar Bears as symbols in enjoying Coke. Are people just plain ignorant today that they go back in time to hit ads made by companies which have been adored in the past?

Beat by a box.
I know there has been a post on this previously, but I feel so strongly about it. My firm recently lost a client to a box. Yes, a box took my business. the uber-fantastic, super fun and exciting prinabox.ca. Here's a snippet from their website:

A Day in the Life of a PR Pro
4:30AM Rise and shine, whether I like it or not. Eat breakfast while taking in the news, because knowing what is going on in the world and community is an essential characteristic for any person involved in public relations in order to get the slightest idea of what the day might bring. 5:30AM Find something with a professional appearance to wear. After all, no person is going to take me seriously if I don't make an effort to like like I mean business. In the world today it isn't uncommon for people to make judgements based on appearance. 5:45AM Brave the commute, struggling to keep my temper at bay that I might not put off clients through-out the day

Internal Communications is Key Amid This Crisis
News during the past month concerning bank failures, government bailouts, and global stock market lows have been accompanied by talk of troubles at individual companies across multiple industries. The constant barrage of negative news has left a pall over the entire business community. According to a recent study, 70% of the 514 employed Americans surveyed expect the current situation to have a negative impact on the companies for whom they work, 54% said their company leaders have not discussed the impact of the financial turmoil, and three-quarters said their colleagues are discussing it.

All the Attention Means Something
When you are out in the streets, unless you are a certified celebrity, chances are you will not get noticed. But if you do, you may have done something to attract their attention. Ads have their way of making their way into your life. But as far as this lady is concerned, it is something that may hurt if she does know why guys are paying attention to her with all the commotion when she rides the bus. But what you don’t know won’t hurt you right?

The More Choices the Better
When doing business, having more than one choice as far as products are concerned is a necessity. Variants of a product do well and surely there will be one brand that will stand above the rest. Now this does not always follow for some companies. The need to do the preliminary research and determine what people are looking for in the market is a need. Thinking as a consumer, it is obvious that people want choices and they should be in line with your main product. There will be hesitations since not all brands are able to take off as expected

Obama's digital legacy will continue in office.
I just picked this up courtesy of @sumaya on Twitter: http://www.businessweek.com/bwdaily/dnflash/content/oct2008/db20081019_258155.htm Personally, I think it's a great idea and move for this country--as long as conspiracy theorists don't go bonkers over it.

Multimedia smorgasbord and a drunk squirrel.
I was looking for a new ringtone and came across this: http://tinyurl.com/6am7gw In addition, there are other apps you can download. Seems like there's a good variety. I'm glad I came across the drunk squirrel--I can't help but crack a smile when my phone rings now.

Location Awareness
We're all familar with our cell phones knowing exactly where we are, at all times. Sometimes that's pretty cool, especially with using some of the GPS enabled features. What about having your computer tracking everywhere you log on? Is that overstepping boundaries? It's easy enough to find out where someone has visited from, with IP addresses and routing info, but with Mozilla's Geode, which uses W3C Geolocation specifications to determine where a browser is being used.

Facebook Connect set to launch November 30
Back in May, Facebook announced that they were evolving, and were going to provide a way for users to connect with other users, and at other sites. They've now announced that the new site features, Connect, will go live on November 30th. Though, as of right now, only 2 of the 26 reported partners are ready to go with the features. Facebook is pushing the other 24 to a November 30th launch, and it is reported that many of them aren't ready due to bugs in the system.

EMI Takes Flight
EMI, one of the four major record labels, has sealed a deal with InMotion Entertainment that places music from the label into kiosks in major airports across the country. Before travelers board their flights, they can stroll over to one of the Playpoint Media HotSpot kiosks and browse through a catalog of EMI's content. Potential buyers need only a credit card, a portable mp3 player, and their fingers. (the kiosks run touchscreen menus)

Building Brands through Good Causes
One thing you cannot take away from big names in the business industry is their social responsibility. Some call it a marketing thing but the thing here is doing it for a good cause for the people who need it.

How to Build a Brand - Prelude
It is my guess that many readers of this blog are either into branding and marketing professionally, or have a small business and are hoping to get some pointers. At this point, there probably aren't many guys from Microsoft reading this blog for tips on how to strengthen the company's brand.

How to Build a Brand - Part 1: Taking a Stand
A brand is the identity of a company. Before a company can even begin to figure out a brand, it has to decide what message it wants to convey. A brand will communicate to consumers, and they will come to identify with that brand.

Fighting Dirty in the Technology War
For decades, Mac and Windows have been at war, trying to win the hearts and checkbooks of consumers. Mac has recently made a series of moves that could be instrumental in the short term outcome of this battle.

The Festival of Stuff
OK OK. We are coming up on some interesting holidays, which comes from "Holy Day." Christmas, Hannukah, even Thanksgiving has spiritual overtones. Halloween has a spiritual history, although few people know it. I am guessing a lot of people suspect Halloween is about more than just dressing in goofy outfits and going on a sugar binge, but aren't really sure what the deeper meaning is.

The More Choices the Better
Melamine is still in the air and it is no longer concentrated on the milk and cookies. Rather, it has gone deeper and this has been accounted for in the eggs that come from China.

Policing Your Brand: Typosquatters
We read a lot about brand management, brand equity, and brand protection. But what about policing your brand? There are laws to protect copyright, trademark, and intellectual property. But first you have to be aware of infringements as early as they are detectable. Managing and protecting your brand requires diligence in policing it as often and as thoroughly as is possible--especially in the electronic information age.

Policing Your Brand: Fan Sites
In the electronic information age, policing your brand will require frequent surveys of the Web in order to keep tabs on your brand's presence in Cyberspace. Who knows what's happening to it out there?

Jennifer Hudson’s Reward for Naught
Tragedy after tragedy. Who knows what is going on in the mind of actress-singer Jennifer Hudson is going through these days. While she has offered a reward to whoever would be able to bring back her missing 7 year-old nephew, Julian King, it seems that these turn of events have made the whole effort futile. The FBI have reportedly found an SUV containing the remains of a black male child was found around 7 a.m.

Have A Nutty Holiday
As far as the holidays are concerned, it is less than 2 months away. So with that in mind, what are you plans? What are you going to give away that is not hard on the pocket? For the wise and generous givers of the Christmas season, you are most probably going to hit two aspects, health and affordability. Needs is another aspect of giving so why not hit the need of hunger that of which is food or snacks?

Haunted Real Estate?
I love Halloween...maybe it's more the excuse of imbibing the various Oktoberfest beers on the market this time of year. No, I truly enjoy this time of year for other reasons as well. Although my favorite show is "Ghost Whisperer" (supposedly based on a fellow Northeast Ohio resident http://maryannwinkowski.com/html/home2.html) I find myself to be a bit of a skeptic. Maybe that's why I love doing online searches for haunted houses--the kitsch factor.

Is Twitter becoming a Svengali like tool for business?
I am into social networking, I love social media. I love Twitter especially. I am also a business owner. Where does the line between personal and business interests stand? I confess, I have met prospective clients via Twitter. However, it was not my sole intention to Tweet to troll for business--it became a happy accident in the few aforementioned situations. Has Twitter become a tool for Svengalis out in the business world?

ISO Certification Carries Marketing Niches
One thing that most business have to devise is how to be different over their competitors. There are key elements and strategies used and one thing that we have heard for sure is that of ISO certification.

The Hush Before the Storm
Blackberry is doing a very good job of generating just enough buzz to make people curious, before they release their brand new model, the "Storm."

Embedded Brands on Freezer Doors
Moist or whenever a transparent freezer door opens can really catch the attention of people opening it. Apparently, some may not know of it but once you notice a certain etching or bunch of words come out, chances are you are being sent a message.

Giving it to you, your way.
When a big corporation dabbles in supporting local artist, typically the results are boring. But when the King decides to get involved... now we're talking fresh!

Thriller Can Make Michael Jackson Proud
Do you still remember Michael Jackson’s record breaking hit “Thriller”? Well it has been almost 20 years now and while you don’t really hear it everyday, once Halloween strikes, it is something that is ripe for the season.

Can a Voice Be a Brand?
Can a voice be a brand? Not on its own, necessarily. But it can be a part of a brand, especially if it's associated with a mammoth advertising and cultural icon.

Can the Car You Own Indicate Your Candidate Preference?
Can the car you own indicate your presidential candidate preference? According to a recent marketing research study of 11,142 vehicle owners by Kelley Blue Book, it does.

HereWhere and Everywhere Music
Don’t look now but here is some good news for the people who are pretty much in love with various tunes. Set aside Limewire and Napster, HereWhere is here to help you find the songs you are looking for. HereWhere has been around as early as 2008 but has so far been overshadowed by the growing popularity of other software that make use of peer-to-peer sharing. But now, brace yourselves as it is slowly gaining attention.

Is it Halloween or Political Campaigning?
On whether this was done on purpose or a practical joke, there is a branding aspect of it all. Barrack Obama is without a doubt making waves as he leads McCain in the presidential race and for people who think they are degrading his image by offering his mask-like face on Amazon.com under the terrorist category, they are actually helping him gain more popularity as far as familiarity is concerned. But as a classy merchandise, why not wear if for Halloween? Amazon has been making big bucks from it and while the category may look inappropriate, a sale is a sale.

The Big Fig Newton
What's the world coming to when a fig snack has an identity crisis? Is the Fig Newton a cookie, a fruit bar, or a mini fruit cake?

Lebron James Lacking Marketing Tool
We have seen a lot of athletes make it big in the world of endorsements and for former high school phenom Lebron James, who would not want to have him as a model endorser? But considering the large number of athletes also being signed up for endorsement deals, it all boils down to leverage on who can really rack the sales in.

How's your poker face?
Attention: high rollers and poker pros; Vegas, Atlantic City and yes, even Wendover. You have something to be desired. You possess a trait so coveted, that any business man or woman who would implement this trait would almost certainly improve his or her career.

Getting Rid of the Junk in Foods
Junk food is certainly something most people would love. But unfortunately while our mindset has been totally set on it, they are also unhealthy especially if you cannot balance the intake of actual healthy food and junk food. Especially for children who love to munch on these snacks, parental intervention has been a necessity. But distribution outlets can also do their part as well. By controlling what items they distribute or carry,

High School Musical 3 Gets Good Grades
One would think that once sequels start to take place, a dip in the quality of the movie production would ensue. But as far as High School Musical 3 is concerned, they have surprisingly humbled the movie watchers of sequels as far as their 3 installments of the Walt Disney flick is concerned. But don’t tell that to critics who seem far from satisfied. Sequels have had that bad branding throughout the years. A lot of it is because people are expecting no less than the original film that was initially shown. There are a lot of factors to consider. But for Disney Films, they have maintained this musical to become a memorable one for ages to come.

The Crazy Approach to Catching Bad Guys
As far as stealing is concerned, we are all familiar with warnings and perhaps as far as TV plugging or flyers to help catch them. But when you use an entire billboard to publicize it, it does seem to be a bit overboard. Just put the math together on the cost for putting up a giant billboard to catch a thief for $500 and the whole idea sounds crazy! The unidentified thief was photographed by a suspicious onlooker as he uncoupled 15 electrical transformers used to boost the lighting on a billboard in Auckland.

Branding Big Cinemas for the Globe
We have seen most movies come out as Dolby Surround and THX. Now you can add AdLabs to the list as this mode of entertainment has become a matter of branding when sounds are concerned.

Same Drug, Different Brand Name
Sepracor has long been known to be a developer and distributor of sleeping drugs to help insomniacs and sleep deprived people get better sleep. In the market, they are known as Lunesta but once they penetrate the European market it will be known as Lunivia.

"Elite Names" Can Get You Parole
One of the controversial things that has been around today is regarding serving time for murder or any misdemeanor that gets you locked up in prison. Convicted killer Claudio Teehankee Jr. was serving time for killing 16 year old Maureen Hultman and John Chapman in the Philippines and has been locked up since 1991.

Horlicks and Maggi Showing False Ads
While the claims of some products to boost purchasing power may seem harmless, they can also be deceiving. And once that magic word pops up, you know that you will be billed for false advertising no matter how harmless your tagline would be. Horlicks and Maggi are familiar brands today. While they are easily associated in the candy and food category, it does not exempt them from watching what they claim.

"Mr. Able" Leaves a Lot of Memories
Time flies and age catches up to us but one thing that we are sure not to forget would be the commercials that familiar faces like Mr. Able himself, Robert Lee Greiner Jr. Unfortunately, “Mr. Able” passed away last October 16 of lung cancer but the memories of all those local commercials continued to move on. Bob Greiner’s neighbor Larry Zaiger was used to seeing his friend show up in Able Auto Service television commercials late at night and during noontime news broadcasts.

Terrorist Twitterings?
The army has apparently done research to determine if Twitter is a terrorist opportunity waiting to happen. The report also talks about using VoiP and mobile phones with GPS and photo or video capabilities. The fear is that the terrorists will use Twitter and other real time apps to inform the others of police presence or activity. The use of camera and video imaging, combined with the GPS capabilities of many phones, will also allow them to follow along and perhaps stay out of jail.

New media and social media--what's the difference?
Social media seems to be the current wave everyone is riding these days. What with the advent of Twitter, YouTube and ____(fill in the blank with your favorite social media site) the digital world is awash with user generated content. So is this considered the same as 'new' media? What exactly is the difference between new media and social media? Out of everyone I asked, no two people could

Bloggers Breaking Bands
The music industry is in the midst of making a 360 degree turn and with it goes the way that bands try to become successful. The old goal was to try and get the attention of major record labels. Of course, this is still a goal for many artists and bands, but there is a stepping stone involved in the process that was not previously around. This step is getting your music onto blogs. Music blogs such as Stereogum, Aquarium Drunkard, and My Old Kentucky Blog all post mp3's of up-and-coming bands. Tons of music fans look to these bloggers to find out about new and hip music.

Medical Exhibitionism in ‘Facebook Era’
We now live in a Facebook era. Astonishing numbers of Americans put their lives on the Web. We live with blogs, and video cameras at every ATM and political rally. Off the record ends up on YouTube. What was once private, like depression or sexual dysfunction, is now cocktail chatter. Openness, social networking, crowdsourcing are the new norms. People put their own medical issues on Web sites like patientslikeme.com in return for shared information.

Lotte Brands Oozing with Melamine
There is another identified brand in the market that has been found to be made with melamine. Lotte, a known brand that distributes candies and snacks to babies no less, has been found to be filled with melamine and therefore being banned in the local market.

Reading The iSally
When I'm facing a challenge in my career I look for guidance from a higher authority.

One of the Most Brilliant Branding Ideas Ever!
Not much to say here, except to say that never before had I spent an HOUR browsing the website of a cereal manufacturer. If you can capture the interest of consumers by talking about cereal, and you can continually reiterate your brand positioning in that time, you have a sure-winner on your hands. So much that this has gone viral, and I was made aware of this via several others.

Giving a Ruined Brand a New Identity
Psssst. I'm going to tell you a secret. Remember Value Jet? A few years back (a few meaning "TWELVE"), they had some safety issues. A plane crashed. Ugly stuff. Media had a field day.

Nestle Introduces New Luxury Chocolate
You have to hand it to Nestle Chocolates. At the rate that economies are faltering, you would expect big companies to take precautions as far as introducing new product lines in the market.

You Learn Something New Every Day
For years, I have shared with my friends about the various legendary marketing and branding faux pas that companies have made.

Coke is Still IT!
Now this is not really surprising. If you are asked what brand is familiar to you, Coke is bound to be on the top of the list. This world-renowned softdrink has been around starting from small glass bottles onto cans and now plastic bottles, it seems that Coke has been there forever. So is it any wonder why it is a common by-word today?

Pedigree Cuts Ties With Abnormalities
One thing about products today is that you would hate to be caught in between especially when results from consuming a certain product would result into some deformities and thus defeating the claims that a product would have.

PSAs: Just What Your Client Needs in a Recession
“FREE”, yes that word that evokes a “to good to be true” reaction when you see it in an advertisement. But if you want to get the most bang for zero bucks on behalf of your clients communication needs, Public Service Announcements (PSA) are often an underutilized tool in your arsenal.

AIG Finally Makes a Good Move
Embattled insurance company, American International Group (AIG), has recently retained Burson-Marsteller for PR services. "We have hired Burson-Marsteller to help us respond to the huge volume of requests for information we have been receiving from customers, employees, and the media," Tulupman said in an e-mail to PRWeek. "We have more than offset the cost by canceling advertising and sponsorships." I believe that this is the first smart decision AIG has made in a long time. Read more here about their plans.

Is the Blogosphere attacking PR?
"PR has really been taking it on the chin in the blogosphere over the past couple of weeks, some of the charges include PR being too controlling and unnecessary. Especially, if a company has something interesting and wants to launch it. PR may be obsolete, one other prominent blogger suggested. We are too sensitive to criticism as an industry, another chimed in." I am shocked at this! I have never heard/read anyone blasting PR! Have you? You can read more about this here.

Carlsberg Making a Run at Globalization
Carlsberg Beer had a good run in the 1980s and it is just surprising to read that they will be making another line of brands for globalization. You have to wonder what happened to Carlsberg through the years although it is obvious that they took a conservative route by serving their local market. Furthermore, you may want to wonder why they chose now to be the time to make a run at globalization.

Burt Reynolds Endorses Microsoft’s "You’re in the Movies”
If you want to really promote your business, getting the best talent in the market is the best way to go. And for Microsoft Corporation, nothing comes better than getting a popular star of all seasons, Burt Reynolds, to help promote its interactive game called “You’re in the Movies”. Reynolds has been around. He may not be as active as he was in the 80’s but make no mistake about it, he can still rack it in.

Clickz Layoff Tracker
To support the difficult economic times and wave of "right-sizing" efforts by digital corporations, ClickZ is providing a layoff tracker for all those who aren't worried enough about their own jobs. I suppose it can give some a sigh of relief that they're not on the list. It will be interesting to see if a decrease in spending on marketing dollars will mean a shift in spending to digital or if the downsizing and layoffs will begin to impact the agency side of things as well. What do you think, Agencies are next or they'll weather the storm due to increase dollars from the traditional side?

‘Anyone Who Can Type’
Just days after Garry Trudeau treated web logs to his painfully honest humor, hapless U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann continues to show us the powerful upside of blogs. Trudeau’s “Doonsebury” has fictitious Washington Post correspondent Rick Redfern attempting a private, profitable blog after having regretfully accepted a buy out from the newspaper. Through Redfern's frustration, cartoonist Trudeau zeroes in on the painful early development of new media:

Social networking as a business application
Most of us have used Twitter. Or maybe our site of choice is FriendFeed. Either way, these are excellent ways to keep in touch. Socialcast is a hybrid between Facebook and Twitter, but it's designed to help keep employees in touch with each other. It's a way to ask quick questions and report interesting finds or problems. This works using a feed for

Virtual crimes leading to real life arrests
There is a report today of a woman in Japan, killing her online lover's avatar. She apparently had been divorced, in game, and decided retribution was called for. The woman, who is jailed on suspicion of illegally accessing a computer and manipulating electronic data, used his identification and password to log onto popular interactive game "Maple Story" to carry out the virtual murder in mid-May, a police official in northern Sapporo said on condition of

Making You Remember
Remember the Oscar Meyer bologna song? What about the Big Mac jingle?

Deanna Russo: Personal Branding via Playboy
To many people including yours truly, Deanna Russo is a virtual unknown. But when you attach to her name that she is a former Playboy model, expect eyes to roll and take notice. To go with that, you may be surprised that she even has a role in the latest Knight Rider movie, portraying the role of Sarah Graiman, Knightrider’s girlfriend. Russo has also appeared in several commercials such as Axe, Ford and Disney. She posed for Playboy in December 2007 as “Babe of the Month”.

Jill Long Thompson has a Video Campaign Ad too!
Yesterday, we tackled how Democratic Assembly Candidate Alyson Huber released her 2 30-second ads. Now another candidate, Jill Long Thompson or JLT will be airing her TV campaign ad commercials as well starting Monday. This will be her first TV campaign ad and it is quite intriguing to note what she will use as her campaign platform.

Dunkin' Duels Starbucks With Taste Test
Which is your favorite? I am personally a Starbucks junkie - so much so that, I refuse to taste Dunkin’ Donuts Coffee just on principle. Seriously though, which do you prefer? Which tastes better? Dunkin’ Donuts is so sure its coffee is superior, that they are unleashing a blind taste test against Starbucks.

What's in a Name?
The agency formerly known as Avenue A | Razorfish is now shortening it's name to Razorfish. The agency decided that the Razorfish name had enough brand equity to put Avenue A to rest. The move happened with a quiet news release a new site launch. I wonder as agency consolidation continues and digital tries to become a leader in marketing, will more brands go by the wayside. Does your brand name have enough equity to survive in the long run?

GPS and Digital Advertising
NYC buses are testing the use of GPS to determine their location and then deliver a targeted ad. Interruptive marketing continues to find ways to innovate. I'm curious to see if these perform well enough to drive adoption in other markets. You really don't need GPS to find a starbucks, they're practically on every corner anyway. Compli