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Archive for March, 2009

Cause Marketing Trend Watch

March 18, 2009 3 comments

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image via 

The happy union of social media and cause marketing is not by any stretch new news.  That said, there’s a lot of interesting stuff going on right now leveraging the considerable power of microsharing (I like this much better than “micro-blogging” and have Pistachio Consulting to thank for the coinage).  Witness the whirlwind of fundraising excitement coming out of the South by Southwest conference   (for non-digeratis, it’s a convergence in Austin TX of the music, entertainment and interactive worlds, “SXSW” if you’re a cool kid.)  

smackdown-logoThe program that seems to be generating the most buzz  (at least according to the non-stop chirping coming from my Tweetdeck) is the Social Media Smackdown, a challenge pitting power bloggers and celebrities against eachother in a race to raise funds for their respective charities.  Meanwhile in Cincinnati, our client P&G was involved in a smackdown of their own:  Digital Hack Night, a fundraiser for the Tide Loads of Hope disaster relief program (get the blow-by-blow from participant and master blogger David Armano here

Real money is being raised through these efforts — the Tide hackathon raised $50,000 in just four hours, which was matched by P&G.  Thanks to Twitter and other microsharing hubs, we can now fundraise at a blistering pace.  The donations and pledges that used to take weeks to gather (remember collecting signatures and checks with an old-timey sign-up sheet for walkathons and the like way back in the dark ages of the late 20th century?)  can now be collected in a matter of hours thanks to the exponential power of tweets and retweets.

I’ll keep watching this trend with great interest, and would love to hear about any other smart uses of Twitter in the fundraising space you might know of.

Parenting Tips, Nintendo-Style

March 15, 2009 Leave a comment

OK, I give. If I have to invoke the language of DS and Wii to get my six-year old to do what I want, I will. Sue me. Here are five easy translations of Mom-speak into Nintendo-speak (it works, believe it or not.) Please share if there are more you can think of!

1) Change your clothes = Customize character
2) Go upstairs = Advance to the next level
3) Pick up your things = Collect your studs and hearts
4) Hurry up = Use your turbo-boost
5) Watch out = Avoid items

Categories: Digital, Parenting Tags: , ,

Dancing with T-Mobile

March 10, 2009 1 comment


Advertising at its joyful, ridiculous best! How do I get to be a T-Mobile dancer? Maybe I’ll just start hanging out at Grand Central doing the mashed potato and see what happens. (and as one commenter on youtube points out, it does seem to be inspired by Food Court Musical which I posted about here: http://ssmirnov.wordpress.com/2008/08/13/bad-day-at-the-office/)

Much thanks to my pal Laura Freedman for sending this my way.

Happy 25th, Macintosh

March 9, 2009 Leave a comment


The Ridley Scott Superbowl spot for Macintosh is still electrifying, after all these years. Had never seen Steve Jobs’ keynote address unveiling the spot in Fall, 1983. Also electrifying. Was happy to have found this at Guy Kawasaki’s blog.

File this under “How to Present with Utter Command and Conviction.”

I’m Going Straight to Hell

March 6, 2009 Leave a comment


OMG. How is it that David After Dentist has not been a part of my life till now? I’m sorry…I hope I don’t go to hell…but I could watch this high-as-a-kite 7-year old over and over and over again. Best line: “Is this going to be forever?”

Categories: Digital Tags: ,

How to Lose New Business (but not your soul)

March 5, 2009 2 comments

The previously mentioned new business hooplah unfortunately did not end well.  This happens.  Ego aside (I hate to lose), it was probably for the best given this particular client but nevertheless…I hate to lose.  We got the news on a Saturday morning so I had all weekend and a bonus snow day to lick my wounds.  And find comfort unexpectedly on the Starz channel, in a terrific documentary about Pixar.   

Required viewing for animation and culture-of-innovation geeks everywhere

Required viewing for animation and culture-of-innovation geeks everywhere

I watched The Pixar Story through the lens of this new business failure, marvelling at how the studio succeeds again and again (sometimes against great odds) and gets back up again when they’re thrown a curveball. 

Was amazed to learn that Toy Story 2 almost got trashed before John Lasseter and team stepped in and rescued it — essentially turning the whole production around and getting the film to market in eight months.  Which is insane.  I also am inspired to see that in fact, mastery and genius CAN be replicated in teams – Lasseter has done it (cf. Brad Bird and Andrew Stanton.)  I am neither a master nor a genius but what I take away from this is a) you can get the crap kicked out of you and still come back with a big win and b) creativity and presentation “magic” must reside with more than one person on a team –  and that the sum of a team is greater than its parts.

Speaking of crap-kicking, perhaps the biggest lesson I learned from our new biz miss was that you must never – EVER — go into a pitch being anything other than the agency you are.  Do not hide your light under a bushel, as my mom used to say.  Don’t apologize for anything — your size, your history, your client roster, your specialties.  Be who you are, and you will win the right business.

And while it’s one thing to stretch and be courageous, it’s another thing to try to shoehorn yourself into the image of the agency you think the prospective client wants to see. 

So.  Who are we?  We are mid-sized.  Not a boutique, and not a big multi-office shop.  We have a luxury heritage.  An upmarket, style-informed sensibility informs everything we do, regardless of the category or distribution channel. We have a lot of big, iconic mass brands on our roster.  Not niche brands, not cult brands.  We do consumer PR really, REALLY well.   We will not try to convince you that we do lobbying, investor relations or public affairs. 

All of which is just fine.  Great, in fact.  We love our clients, and we love who we are.  When we allow that to shine through, we tend to win new accounts.  Good to remember this, and also very good to keep ego out of it because BOY is that not helpful.  (Unless you’re an Oscar-winning Pixar director, maybe.)

P.S. — for more on the Pixar culture, check out  Incredibles and Ratatouille director Brad Bird discussing it here, and an entire Harvard Business School case study on the topic here (fee required).

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