Exclusive is the New Cool

29 07 2013

It has been quite some time since I last posted a new blog entry and, from the comments that have been trickling in over the last several months, I thought it was time to resurrect the blog.  Admittedly this blog as started as a class project for a Masters course but there seems to be some therapeutic benefit from getting ideas, opinions and random thoughts in writing; but what really matters is getting feedback from you the reader.

With that, the topic of this post is about Facebook.  Facebook used to be cool and, with the news that early 20-somethings could care less about Facebook, I can now definitively say that with evidence to support it.  When I joined Facebook in late 2004, it was still cool because it was exclusive.  Only college students from select colleges and universities with a .edu email address could join.  Today, anyone can join and join they have.  My mother is on Facebook along with my older sister, mother-in-law and former high school teachers.  Even pets can have their own Facebook profile.  What’s changed?  In a word: everything.  It is no longer exclusive and Zuckerberg, one could argue, has sold out.  Facebook is now a $68.7 billion dollar publicly traded company.  The company seems more interested in finding ways to sell ad postings to large corporations and rewriting their privacy policy again (and again and again) than finding ways to enrich the end-user experience.

Facebook is destined to fail just like every other social network has failed to date.  Social networking, in its most basic and elementary form, is a fad similar to clothing styles.  Clothes, like social networking, will not become extinct but bell bottoms, stone-washed jeans, trucker hats and MySpace seem to be hot one season and then disappear the next.  Facebook is destined be the next jean jacket, corduroy pants or Doc Martin shoes where it inevitably becomes passe and users move on to the next fashionable social site.  Whereas fashion appears to be cyclical (loafers and Mad Men-style skinny neckties for example) with trends that come and go only to reappear, social networks die lonely deaths.  AOL and MySpace (in the case of MySpace this is despite the King Midas touch of Justin Timberlake) do not appear to be as lucky.

The reason?  Exclusivity.  When everyone has “something,” that “something” ceases to be cool.  Now, let’s be honest, Mark Zuckerberg could be suffering from insomnia right now, read this blog and laugh himself to sleep on his bed of money.  He could have a money bin, ala Scrooge McDuck,installed on his sprawling, palatial estate while I still eek out a living working my 9-5 gig.  In other words, he has made boat loads of money and can laugh all the way to the bank…or money bin.  The fact is this:  the same basic principles that fuel fashion trends also fuel social media.  The time and money that corporations have spent to build up their “Likes” and company pages, because they do not own the content (Facebook does), will be lost.  So, the question becomes, what is a Like worth?  Is it sustainable?  Is it a good investment of marketing and trade dollars?

Your comments are, as always, very much welcome.



19 07 2009

Over the past nine weeks I have covered a wide range of topics concerning emerging media.  As a recap, here is what I have covered:
1. Introduction
2. Hulu
3. Netflix
4. Ethics in trailblazing a new emerging media marketing
5. The “Sixth Sense,” a revolutionary, unorthodox media platform
6. Functionality versus Design for websites
7. Customer Service: Emerging media companies lead the pack
8. Corporate websites, the best-in-class version
9. Subtle Commercials, movie magic for marketing
10. Untapped Potential: Amazon’s media platform, the Unbox
11. Buzz Marketing
12. Word-of-Mouth Advertising
13. Facebook & Twitter Your Way to Political Office
14. The Power of Wikis
15. Online Communities and Product Placement
16. Social Networking – Video is King
17. New Emerging Media Platform – Streaming Online Radio in Passenger Vehicles
18. Ethics in Mobile Media: Horror Stories
19. Copyrights and the Internet
20. Wrapup

BlogAs you can see, this broad range of topics covers everything horror stories of marketing pioneering gone terribly wrong to copyright infringement, from new and exciting breakthroughs in media like online streaming music available in your car from coast-to-coast to the old tried and true method of marketing, word-of-mouth.

What does all this mean? Where do we as marketers go from here? The best advice for anyone in marketing that is wading in the untapped waters of media potential: Keep it simple. Don’t over think things just because the media platform for which you are using is unproven or has never before been attempted.

Think of it in terms of feeling, emotion or impulse. These feelings and emotions are what consumers base 80% of their sales on while only 20% of sales are practical purchases…again, keep it simple with the tried and true 80/20 rule!

It has been an honor for those of you loyal readers of my blog to “serve” you new content and ways to ponder marketing going forward. If you have enjoyed my blog, post a comment! I would love to hear some feedback.


16 07 2009

Copyrights are a big deal and not just for the surface view of keeping your stuff as, well, YOUR STUFF! People make their living by creating images, stories, music, taglines, etc., etc. This to them is their livelyhood. It’s how they put food on the table and milk in their kids cereal.

In this week’s discussion most people were for copyright and property laws but a couple people brought up the idea of a free-for-all, everyone-shares mentality. While certainly this view has its merit and an argument can be made for it, to me it’s a bit more Utopian than practical. I have never written a book, never put my voice onto tape (or CD, whatever) nor have I ever had to worry about someone stealing my images. BUT…I do relate to individuals that are essentially self employed that go out of their way to be different, to create new and innovated material. The last thing in the world someone like that wants or needs is for another individual to lazily steal that material and use it as their own.

CartoonIf material is “shared” and nobody has intelectual rights to any given item, where is the creativity fueld from? If “this picture is my picture, this picture is your picture, this picture is made for you and me” mentality is applied to everything on the web, what is the incentive for me as a graphic artist of photographer to do anything new? How does one challenge oneself to create when he or she can just Google a new image and slap their name on it and call it a day? To me, that is taking a major step backwards.

As Paul Harvey once said: ”

Why should anyone aspire to be a common man, an average man? Do you realize what it means to be average? That means your the best of the lousiest and the lousiest of the best. Now if we demand more and more for producing less and less, while the have-not nations encourage and inspire, and indeed require hard work and maximum effort – if we deify the common men while they encourage and reward the uncommon ones – Well, the end result of such a lopsided race as that is too obvious to require elaboration.


16 07 2009

Old School As if radio stations didn’t have enough to worry about with satellite radio picking off their listeners, a struggling economy gouging their advertising revenue, and a plethora of other advertising mediums companies can choose from besides radio, they now they have one more thing to worry about. Carmakers are now embarking on suiting cars up with online streaming radios, similar to Rhapsody, as an optional or even standard feature in future cars. 

According to an article that appeared back in 2007, the anticipated date for this feature in some car models was 2010.  With GPS navigation systems nearly perfected this seems like the perfect time to add online streaming radio. 


The reason?  Selection.  Anyone that has used Yahoo’s LaunchCast or Rhapsody can attest to the fact that being able to program your own radio station that plays songs based on your musical taste is a definite plus.  Say your favorite band is the Rolling Stones.  Players like Rhapsody will allow you to rank songs, bands, or even styles of music which then leads to other music of similar styles to that which was just played. 

One of the first to actually begin manufacturing and installing these radios in cars is Blaupunkt. “The beauty of Internet car radio is the customized user experience,” said George Parthimos, Founder and CEO of miRoamer said in a press release. “Today, users want to jump in their car and go – no pulling out third-party devices or plugging in cords to access their music and information. miRoamer’s development with Blaupunkt is the first seamless Internet radio solution. Now, with the simple push of a button, users can access AM/FM stations or Internet radio’s thousands of music, entertainment, news and talk stations from around the world, all from the same car stereo.”

Why is this important?  Because it gives advertisers a new medium to connect with their target audience and perhaps an exclusive and more pinpointed way.


Blaupunkt's miRoamer


14 07 2009

ScreamFrom Adam Snuka at AdLaw:  “When Laci Satterfield’s son answered his mother’s cell phone in the middle of a cold January night in 2006, he heard the following message: “The next call you take may be your last.” Seconds later, when a text message arrived to the same number promoting Steven King’s newest horror novel, The Cell, Ms. Satterfield decided that some advertiser had crossed the line. Simon and Schuster (“S&S”) was that advertiser.


How did S&S obtain Ms. Satterfield’s cell phone number? Several months earlier, Ms. Satterfield enrolled as a user of Nextones, a company that sells custom ringtones, to obtain a free ring tone. During the registration process, she clicked on the opt-in box with the following adjacent message, “I would like to receive promotions from Nextones’ affiliates and brands.” Soon after the events described above transpired, Ms. Satterfield filed a class action lawsuit against S&S, claiming that S&S violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.”

SPImagine if the message had been a bit different, a bit more dodgy perhaps? The story could have taken on a much more serious tone and may involve jail time for the perpetrators. Such was the case with an adult website that thought they were targeting men who had subscribed to an affiliate adult website. The man, who was indeed subscribed to said site, also had a family plan through a small mobile phone carrier in Nebraska. The message was accidentally sent to the man’s 12 year old daughter for whom the man was assigned as the owner since he owns the family plan. 


Such stories, while sounding like marketing horror stories, can be a wakeup call for marketers looking to cash in on the emerging media and wireless internet capabilities of today’s “smartphones.” As more and more consumers choose cell phones over land lines and mobile internet versus PCs, the rise in mobile advertising will follow.


6 07 2009

We live in a somewhat contradictory world today, one that appreciates the spoken word over the newspaper, video games over books,  Tweets and texts over picking up the telephone.  What do all those newer forms of communication have in common?  All are accessible, fast, convenient and relatively new.  Snap bracelets were at one time cool too, so let’s not get carried away with Tweeting just yet, nevertheless, it is interesting to understand these trends so as marketers we can potentially capitalize on the next fad, the next Twitter, the next Facebook or YouTube. 

If we understand one thing it is that people enjoy videos.  The top ranked video today (as of 6:00 PM Central) on YouTube is of a cat riding on a Roomba vacuum cleaner.  So clearly the complexity of the content is not as important as the entertainment value of said video. 

Viral videos are a very interesting phenomenon in that essentially the recipient or viewer of the video passes it along to those the person deems appropriate (and in some cases inappropriate with dubious REPLY ALL button!).  Regardless of who in that network the person sends the video(s) to, the act of passing it along needs to be fully understood before one can go about trying to capitalize on this viral video phenomena. 

 Take the Smirnoff Raw Tea viral video from 2006.

This is a video that has been viewed, as of July 8, 2009, a total of 4,995,575  times.  But why?  Well, it is funny for sure but it also has a catchy tune and the video quality is quite good for a viral video.  Obviously the production quality is there but is not too over-the-top to seem pretentious.  In short, to paraphrase from another commercial, it’s quality not quantity.   


3 07 2009

2nd LifeThe explosion of web communities has caught the eye of even the most traditional companies.  The benefits of corporate participation in these online communities have executives playing follow-the-leader and anxious to enter these markets.  Given the right branding and marketing and the right strategy is implemented, there are definite benefits from these online portals.  Communities can be used to engage your customer base in a natural and unabtrusive fashion.  One of the first video game manufacturers to enter this world was Old SpiceEA Sports back in the early 2000’s.  In a marketing deal with Old Spice and Pontiac within EA’s “NCAA” franchise, the user would be treated to seeing the “Pontiac Game Changing Performance” or the “Old Spice Red Zone” during play.  While certainly noticeable it was still nonobtrusive and, after a while, just became part of the game.   Communities can strengthen the bond between company and consumer, creating loyalty through personal investment.  Old Spice certainly benefited by using this platform to revitalize and bring youth into what was quickly becoming and aged brand and to reinforce/revitalize their brand image. 

In what could be compared to product placement in movies, online product and brand placement is not directed or manipulated by the movie director.  If a person playing an online video game sees a product placement within their gaming, they may want to check that product/brand and spend a bit more time looking at it.  BTHFThe ‘Back to the Future’ movie trilogy featured Pepsi for example yet the viewer only saw brief snipets of the brand whereas if they were playing Second Life, they could spend a bit more time seeing the logo and the product all at their own pace.

How effective is this marketing?  While research is inconclusive the sheer number of users of these games lends credit and legitimizes the expense of advertising dollars to this venue.