Every now and then Perez Hilton has a nice zinger. Yesterday the "Queen of all media" posted a story about how Dr. Pepper had fallen a bit short on their promise to buy everyone a free Dr. Pepper if Guns N Roses ever released, "Chinese Democracy." Well, on Tuesday, the most notoriously delayed album of all time finally saw the light of day and the mad rush to DrPepper.com shut the drink's website down.
It's almost 2009, do websites still get shut down when they get too much traffic? As Seth and Amy say on Saturday Night Live, "Really!?!"
I'm not sure what is worse, pissing off the people looking for a free can of DP or pissing off Perez. The boy has power. He called Dr. Pepper "Liars" and DP sent Perez this note:
Just saw your story about our giveaway of free Dr Pepper. We've been working all yesterday and today to live up to our promise. But ya gotta know that with a big line at your door there's gonna be a bit of a wait. We ask that DP fans be patient and keep trying to reach us today either through the site or our 800 number, we'll honor the request.
But seriously Dr. Pepper, I know you had the best intentions. I think you missed some great opportunities in addition to garnering the wrath of this diva blogger?
Think of all the lost emails you could have used to interact with your customers.
Where was your press? How come I didn't see commercials on television or video ads on YouTube touting a free drink the day Hell froze over and Axl finally delivered his masterpiece? (Of course this only works if your website stays up.)
What is next? How about a free DP if NSync reunites? Give me a call, I'll help you plan how to maximize that one. We've got time to build a great Facebook app!
A week ago one of the most powerful organizations in America shut down an ad campaign. This is the same organization that used to terrify the country's largest corporations with their letter writing onslaughts:
For over a century, moms have proven that the pen is indeed mighty. But the pen has been replaced by the tweet. What used to take months now happens in a weekend.
Ad Age reported that an ad campaign for the pain reliever Motrin struck a nerve with moms everywhere and the mommy blogs screamed loud via their Twitter accounts, ultimately resulting in the removal of the campaign.
The power of social media is indeed strong. But what I personally am most intrigued by are the steps that Motrin (and its parent company Johnson & Johnson) took to deal with the problem.
First, the moms united over the weekend and before it was over, Motrin had pulled the campaign.
Second, Johnson & Johnson took responsibility.
Third, Vice President of Marketing, Kathy Wildmer, immediately started apologizing to bloggers via email.
The power of moms’ use of social media removed this campaign, but let's not forget how Motrin used that same social media power to squelch this issue and show that they are a company that cares and listens to their customers.
This might just be one of those "all press is good press" moments.
If Motrin was hurting people, then utilizing social media to provide crisis management would not have been able to restore any public confidence in the short term. But this was a careless choice of words in an ad campaign, and although offensive, not harmful and not the direct result of a faulty product.
Moms: there is no doubt you are powerful. Nice work flexing your muscle and showing Motrin that you don't take kindly to their words.
Motrin: kudos to you for acting quickly, taking responsibility, apologizing and making it right, immediately.
Ok, in all honesty, I wrote that blog a week ago. But there was so much written about it that I pulled it. It had started to be called "Motrin-gate," a sure sign that this thing had reached a level that was on par with... Nixon??? A bit too much if you ask me.
BATAVIA, Ohio (AdAge.com) -- At first glance, it looks like Johnson & Johnson's Motrin was chastened by the power of social media when it yanked a Motrin ad campaign pilloried by mommy bloggers on YouTube and Twitter.
'Motrin-gate' proves the power of social media for marketers as well as how quickly marketers can be forced to buckle to a relatively small but vocal minority of people.
But as it turns out, J&J might have been a tad hasty in pulling down its ad. In doing so, it bowed to a vocal flash mob that represents a tiny fraction of moms, and Twitter, which itself attracts about 0.15% of the world's internet users each day, according to Alexa -- by the most generous possible estimate based on that data, about 1.1 million people in the U.S. And despite a storm of media attention, the ad -- together with a YouTube video put together by a mommy blogger on the controversy -- received less exposure than one 30-second spot on a cable news network
All I can say is to read this article. It will show you that yes, the power of Social Media is strong. But maybe a bit too strong!
I keep trying to put down the November 11 issue of Business Week that spawned my previous post about Personalization, but I can’t. I keep finding things that pique my interest like this article called, “How to Sell Luxury to Penny-Pinchers.” What grabbed me was the continuation of the previously referenced theme of Personalization.
The point of this article is that as we curb our spending, it is becoming harder for brands selling high-end products to get our attention. One example was about GE selling their new Profile washer-and-dryer set, which retails for $3,500. Can you imagine paying $3,500 for a washer and dryer right now? I had to buy a new set this year and it killed me to spend $1,500. What on earth could a $3,500 set do that my $1,500 doesn’t? It better pull the dirty clothes out of my hamper, wash them, fold them and put them back on the closet shelf. And make me dinner too!
I jest. I know exactly what it does. I looked at it before I bought my LG from Best Buy. I just couldn’t justify spending $2,000 more. And according to this article, I’m not alone.
But related to the Dell article, GE is banking on the personalization factor. This set is cherry red; the kind of device that would scream “Hey look at me” in anyone’s laundry cabinet. I get it. GE has created the mack daddy of all washer-and-dryers and now no one can afford them. So their angle is to go for the style-conscious consumer, or as Paul Klein at GE calls them, the “iPhone consumer.”
The iPhone consumer!
Is that what I am? Well, I do own an iPhone, so I guess it's on point. Now I can add that to my list of titles: CEO, Generation X, iPhone Consumer.
I’m on an airplane bound for Boston and I’m finally getting around to reading all those Business Week magazines that have piled up around my bed, office, kitchen, living room, and yes, bathroom. It sure is hard keeping up with everything I have to read around me. I get this particular magazine weekly, along with Rolling Stone every other week and Wired, Fast Company, Conde Nast Traveler, and Travel & Leisure on a monthly basis. Plus I get the LA Times newspaper on my doorstep daily along with a cavalcade of emailed news publications, blogs and newsletters that come, what feels like, hourly. Oh yea, and I knock down a book or two every month as well. I’m not complaining, I love to read and as you can tell, my interests are quite varied.
I’m drifting quickly to a complete online solution and I’d guess I’m about 2 years away from everything coming into my Google Reader, my iPhone, or my Kindle (haven’t bought one yet, but eyeing it closely) and saving the lives of a few dozen trees. Now if I could just figure out how to erase my name from the databases of the catalog companies!
Back to Business Week, November 10th issue. There were two articles that caught my attention. The first was about Sony Electronics. Specifically how a few years ago, CEO Howard Stringer stole senior Apple innovator Tim Schaaf away from Steve Jobs in an effort to make Sony cool again. The article goes on to talk about how Sony’s various companies don’t get along and how they’ve struggled to capitalize on their seemingly related slew of electronic and content properties. I remember hearing from the Sony Music New Media folks a few years back that it was easier to partner with Xbox than it was with PlayStation. According to this article, things haven’t changed much.
Basically the article states that Schaaf is making some headway, but it seems that the expectations of a much quicker turnaround are falling short. The final quote in the article is what got me typing this post:
“Apple is the Sony of the 21st century. In the past two years Sony has had plenty of time to come up with an iPhone. Why hasn’t it?”
I ask myself that all the time. How is it that Apple is the only company to tap into the public’s psyche? Why are they the only company to make us feel like they are making products for us? How is it possible that another company hasn’t made a product as fantastic as the iPod? Or as turnkey to use with iTunes? Sony could have done this, but they blew it. Now they’ve closed up their content delivery port, Sony Connect, and they are partnering with Microsoft. Microsoft? Using Windows to power their phones and their MP3 players. Hmm. Does that sound smart? I don’t know anyone that owns a Smartphone that utilizes the Windows Mobile format. But I’d say 80% of my friends and family have a Blackberry or an iPhone.
Meanwhile the Kindle has stolen the thunder from the eReader. I have a friend that has an eReader. He likes it, but doesn’t love it. Truth be told, he got it for free. My sister showed up at my house a week ago sporting a brand new Kindle. She and her husband bought one a week earlier as a gift to themselves and they LOVED it. She couldn’t wait to show it to me. I’d seen one about 2 months earlier and it was like I’d been allowed to view the Hope Diamond because they have been so hard to get. How does Amazon, a non-electronics company create a device more exciting than Sony?
The whole point of this is not to bash Sony. I am sure navigating a company that large with that many billion dollar branches is next to impossible. I just find it hard to believe that companies like Sony can’t make products that we want.
Which ties in perfectly with the other article, it was about Dell. In the magazine, there is a photo of one of Dell’s chief designers, Ed Boyd in front of a wall of laptop covers that looks like a collection of paintings. This photo got me so excited; I didn’t even have to read the article to know what it was going to say. Dell is finally going to make laptop computers visually interesting… on the outside.
What took so long? Over a decade ago Apple started producing home and business computers and monitors with color. Remember the aqua blue and the orange? It was so cool. And no one on the PC side made a move. They just kept churning out the black and the gray.
Laptops are booming. Thanks to wireless connectivity, I can sit in front of my television and surf the Net. I can type this blog as I sit on an airplane. Yes, functionality is the priority. But when I pull out my laptop at a meeting, I want it to say something. If I have a Macbook, it says that I’m creative, forward thinking, cool. If I have a Lenovo, an HP, a Sony, or a Dell, it doesn’t really say anything about me at all. I’m not knocking those computers; they just don’t make a statement about me.
Now what if could design the cover of my own laptop? What if, like my Google homepage, I could choose from a thousand great art pieces? Would I do that? I’m telling you right now, I would. And I don’t think I’m alone.
The article says that Dell is on the pathway to do just that. Today you can choose from several designs to cover your laptop. Tomorrow, you may be able to design one yourself. That is awesome. Think of the businesses that would sprout up. I have a friend who is a fantastic designer. I bet people would pay her to make custom patterns for their computers. One day I might ask her to create a custom Fanscape design to be used for a slew of laptops that I would buy for my employees.
I’m excited about the personalization. Please, make me products that make my life easier; that fulfill my needs; that make a statement about me. I’ll pay for it. Maybe not right this moment while I watch my finances, but soon.
A Friend of mine named Mike Mac has been slaving away, learning the ups and downs of record production for the past few years. Mike, while very young suffered a horrible injury. Here's how he described it on his blog:
Before I became a musician (Music Producer) I was a high level basketball player. I played against Professional Athletes at a young age as well as being part of club teams and street ball clubs.
Basketball was my life and continues to play a major role in my life to this day. However, when I was 15 years old and a sophomore in high school in California, I suffered a career ending and severely traumatic injury.
During a high school basketball game I was going up for a layup when I was low bridged. I fell on my back extremely hard and was not able to brace my fall. From that fall I tore two ligaments and suffered a blood clot on my spinal cord from C7 (Cervical 7) to T3 (Thoracic 3).
I became PARALYZED from my chest/arm down to my feet Jan. 13 2003. I was told I would never walk again and never be able to be independent. At 15 it was way tough to hear this. But when I did, all I could do was stay positive and work hard...
I did, and 3 months of intense rehab and a extremely positive fighting attitude I was able to walk out of the hospital on fore arm crutches. Since then, I have continued my success in rehab just like music. I work hard for results in every aspect of life and take every moment serious, because it could always end up being your last.
I live by the motto "Cant Stop Me" because the only person in the world that CAN stop me is myself and I will never let that happen.
As you can see, Mike has already been through one of the worst experiences imaginable. But the story doesn't end.
I met Mike about 3 years ago. His mother was my Junior High School Spanish teacher. She tracked me down through the beauty of Social Media communication (aka The Internet!) and sent me a wonderful note. She told me that she still considers me one of her favorite students. I had to laugh at that. I can't imagine anyone considering me one of their favorite students. Most annoying maybe. But favorite?
She asked me if I'd meet with her son. She didn't even mention that he had such a tumultuous history, only that he was looking for some advice regarding a future in the music business. Now I do this all the time. I will happily give advice to anyone that will listen about how to navigate the music business. Usually I'll tell them just to avoid it all together, but no one ever listens to that!
Mike came to meet me at the old Fanscape building. He was waiting for me upstairs and we sat and chatted for about an hour. I connected with Mike instantly. He had such a glow about him. He was so positive. He told me he wanted to make music and that he idolized the great hip hop producers. He wanted to learn. He would do anything to realize the dream of producing music, the dream that had replaced his someday playing for the NBA. I couldn't help but be moved and inspired by Mike.
Over the past few years Mike has stayed in touch. He has sent me copies of his music (or as Mike calls it, "his beats.") Mike really does have talent. But he's in an incredibly competitive field and he has bumped into some VERY shady characters. And each time he hits a road block or experiences a setback, he soldiers on.
Today I opened my inbox and Mike had sent me a link to a feature on ESPNmag.com. They profiled him and showcased him and his remix of the USC Fight Song.
I'm so proud, I just had to write about it.
We'll be seeing a lot of Mike Mac in the future. I guarantee it!
Yay, it's over. Not yay in the sense of relief, like, oh that was an awful election. But yay in the sense that change has happened. We can breathe a little easier. Well, we can't breathe that easy because the financial outlook is still devastating. But there is HOPE. And that is what Barack Obama touted, HOPE. Right?
Not 100% true. The image of HOPE didn't actually come from Obama or his brilliant campaign team. It came from the street.
Shepard Fairey created the image with the slogan HOPE. The same guy who created the GIANT / OBEY icon a few years back. If you live in LA, you know what I'm talking about. But that colorful HOPE image you see above made it's way beyond Southern California and spread around the country. In his words, "The Internet allows these things to travel far and wide very quickly."
It is pretty amazing that an image so iconic came from the people. The consumers. And that is the world we live in. today. A world where Social Media can truly inspire change. HOPE. If you are a brand and you don't embrace the voice of your customer, then you are in trouble. Because they will speak. And what they say won't always be good. But let them speak. The upside is that they will sometimes say something positive. Shepard didn't create an image bashing McCain or the Republicans. He created an image of HOPE. He used his voice and his art for good. To help one brand vs. hurt another. And it inspired.
As I have mentioned before, I do not like politics. I hate what it stands for. I hate that on your way up you become indebted to so many people and parties that ultimately even if you have the best intentions, you had to sell your soul to get where you are. And I'm sure Obama has had to do this. And he'll make mistakes, he'll be ridiculed and parodied. But it was time for a change.
Something strange happened on Wednesday. I stepped out of my house and I could feel change. I could feel HOPE. People smiled at each other. There were people wearing Obama t-shirts at my local breakfast spot. Everyone was talking about the election. The old was out and the new was in.
Obama has the impossible task of cleaning up a massive mess left by his predecessors. But for one morning, maybe a whole day, no one cared. Change had come. HOPE had come.
All my hatred and even ignorance of politics aside, I can feel it. And I am reveling. I can feel the HOPE.
I see much in life as a possible business. It is exciting, but also torturous. I just don’t have enough time. A new idea often sends me into hours of thought, research, and ultimately deviation from what I really need to do in a day. I believe that the Internet has made it easy for anyone to create a business. I believe that the Internet has made nearly everything in life easier. I believe that trying to impact the masses is a tough notion, but finding a group of people similar to you, is at your fingertips. I believe that music is free, and that is not a good thing. I believe that life is a collection of experiences and that every day I learn something new and forget something slightly new.
I have learned that the toughest part of running a business is inspiring your own employees. I have grown to understand that you have to show your family at least as much respect as your customers.
I went to college at the University of California, San Diego and majored in Economics and minored in Literature/Writing. I wish I had majored in Literature and only taken the one Economics class that taught me about Supply and Demand.