Sunday, June 1, 2008

My New Job Is Kinda Awesome

So, I'm doing an internship with Rockit Ranch Productions this summer, and I figured since I already started a blog, I'd start journaling about it. Don't worry RRP, I will remain loyal to my disclosure contract.

So anyway, here's some information on this new event that I've been personally working on. It's kind of a big deal.

The A-Team of The Underground, the same people who created some of Chicago's favorite venues like Le Passage, The Dragon Room, and Rockit Bar & Grill, are creating another movement that is bound to be huge. Premiering Thursday, June 12th, is The Rewind at The Underground. Every Thursday from 9PM to 4AM, The Underground will represent all things old school for our generation; everything you love from the 80's and 90's. That's all I can say for now, so come check it out and see for yourself. Who doesn't like to kick it old school every once and a while?

Again, here are the details:
The Rewind premieres June 12th @ The Underground
Located at 56 W. Illinois, between Clark and Dearborn
Every Thursday 9PM-4AM

See you there!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Oh, and one more thing...

We made a Chuao Wiki page! There's more to come!

visit the page here, I'm sure there will be more information to come as the company gets bigger and more successful!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

This one's for you, Kim Gregson

Hiya Kim, just in case you didn't see, there were blog posts based in April that I didn't get credit for because of the same problem as the rest of them-- in the middle of working my internet cut off and then wouldnt let me sign back in again. It's the one about SunChips and the one about new laws for viral marketing in the April section that looked empty.

Besides that, I've enjoyed your class alot, and I know everything that I learned will be VERY valuable in my hopes to have a career in buzz, viral, guerilla, and all things cool--marketing. Hope you're looking forward to the Chuao presentation, bring your appetite!


Sunday, May 4, 2008

A Semester's Reflections...

When I learned about my mandatory assignment of venturing out into the blogosphere to report on viral marketing, it was very intimidating because I didn't have any experience nor much knowledge of both blogging and viral marketing. But what I learned from this assignment is that both of these things are becoming increasingly important and influential in our culture and society.

I had just become familiar with the growing activity of blogging and gaining an understanding of its increasing influence on society. Elements of legitimate cultural reference such as TV, news, talk shows, magazines, etc. have been using bloggers as reference as well. This is when I realized that with the impact of the internet growing in our society, elements available via the internet would be increasingly influential as well.

This revelation was very inspirational to me, and I look at this phenomenon quite optimistically; by people recognizing and acknowledging "bloggers" opinions, they are simultaneously recognizing the opinions of the general public; the "average Joes and Janes"-- their opinions and thoughts are being broadcast to whoever comes across or searches for it, and by publicizing it on the World Wide Web, makes their opinion visible and recognized by everyone: newscasters, Steve Colbert, and plain Joes and Janes everywhere.

So although I was apprehensive at first to take the plunge into the very open, publicized world of blogging, this realization gave me another optimistic outlook about it; that my opinion could be heard and recognized by either classmates or respectable people in the very industries that I hold to a high regard and hope to be a part of. Enter my blog topic: buzz and viral marketing, two very important modes of advertising not only in the wonderful world of marketing, but to myself as well. I hope to make a career in attracting people to products, services, and/or establishments in unconventional ways that blow their minds. Viral and buzz marketing are two great ways to do that.

In researching current happenings in the buzz and viral marketing industry, I came across patterns, concepts, and themes that contributed to a so-called "how-to" manual of viral marketing that has been developing in my brain. The most evident form of viral marketing is the utilization of the web video, whose popularity can be credited to the web phenomenon YouTube. Many of my blog entries had to do with viral campaigns that predominantly consisted of webisodes or short web clips- like online TV advertisements- such as the AirTran campaign (my favorite concept), the tourism company webvideo advertising, the Tassimo webisodes, and another type of video viral advertising that is a trend in its own right; viral campaigns for movies.

Within the timespan that I've been writing this blog I have covered two viral and buzz movie campaigns, the Dark Knight and the Quarantine campaigns, which are among many others that have happened within the year. This new trend typically utilizes YouTube to post realistic videos relative to the plot of an upcoming movie (ones like the pioneering Cloverfield videos), and ties in movie characters and their own storylines through creating blogs and websites for the characters and/or elements of the movie plot.

Although this approach is incredibly creative and interactive, I wonder whether progressive audience research methods could measure the amount of effectiveness and whether it decreases with the amount of movies that decide to copycat this type of viral advertising. If the opportunity just so presents itself in a job or internship I have in the future, I can utilize the knowledge that I attained throughout this course to find different modes of assessing the effectiveness and creating different types of viral advertising that may have the same effect on the target audience of these videos, but in a different way so as to not be repetitive and therefore receive negative reaction to the campaign.

One tactic of viral and buzz advertising that seems to be prevalent and successful is to keep the viewer guessing or moving along to find more. These movie campaigns always have a sense of mystery about them that makes viewers want to see other clips, visit other websites, and read blogs pertaining to the movie in order to find out more bits and pieces about the plot and to be immersed in the experience. Even a simple reference to a home website in a viral video or interesting banner will impact website traffic, which is the tactic used by Pepsi's Tava, AirTran, Tassimo, and even Hillary Clinton!

The last and my personal favorite and most important trend in viral and buzz marketing is humor. As referenced in fellow IMCer, and buzz and viral marketing blogger (with whom I share the same name) Kristen's blog, 88% of content that people send or pass on to others is of humorous nature. People are impressed and seem to warm up to stereotypically stoic businesses who have the capability of entertaining and getting a genuine laugh out of consumers. My personal theory is that these companies seem more personable, and especially when used in a viral campaign on a medium as personal and accessible as the Internet, they gain an affinity with the public that is otherwise virtually impossible to attain.

All of the trends that I have picked up in my time assessing the viral and buzz industry can almost make it seem like viral and buzz marketing is a trend within itself. The content is always up-to-pace, never dated, yet is so expendable when it comes to the next hot viral campaign. But what people, especially those in the marketing industry, must know is that the internet is not a trend, and it is here to stay. When covering the success of the online advertising regardless of an economic decline and the success of viral marketing, I realized that this is a piece of knowledge that I will carry on and utilize in my career in the marketing industry. What this blog and this class taught me is that the internet is the future. Technology is the future. Creativity and progression is the future. And I look at the industry and my contribution to it with these things in mind.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Seems as if traveling is this week’s theme…

Thursday, April 17th- last post of last week, blogger wouldn’t let me sign on.

I discovered another article written about the travel industry incorporating viral marketing into their advertising plans. Using the popularity of YouTube as inspiration, reported that tourism companies are incorporating viral videos into their websites in order for customers to better visualize the experience that their company’s services will provide them.

Apparently, this movement is incredibly successful. A 2007 report stated that a nationwide survey by Taylor Nelson Sofres found that over 75% of respondents said online video was as good as television for learning about advertisers, and more than 60% respondents said they had taken some action after watching a viral video ad.

There have been many success stores, one being from Sarah Robinson from a tourism company in Andalucia, Spain: "My conversion rate went over 20% today, I am so pleased. Having a short video on our website has enabled us to get a message to our audience that sound and pictures can do better than text on a page.”

Word-of-mouth has traditionally been the most effective mode of promotions for tourism companies; people tell others about their experiences, which encourages others to want to have the same experience. These videos are projected to be just as effective, but they are more expensive due to hiring a production company and the costs that ensue. However, a Sydney-based video production company called Authentic Holiday Films provides a “shoot-your-own-holiday manual” and they take care of the editing and post-production processes, which reduces the cost dramatically.

This is something, I hate to admit, that I’ve never thought of, but I wish I did. I know that while in Spain planning my weekend trips, these videos would have definitely strayed me away from decided to go to Lisbon, Portugal, during rain season, instead of Valencia, Spain. Oh well, maybe others will avoid my mistakes thanks to this new trend!

An airline has a Eureka! Moment

Wednesday, April 16th- again, my computer would not let me sign into blogger.

Ever since I have been doomed to delayed flights, lost baggage, and being treated like an incompetent child (aka FWC- flying while collegiate), I’ve always wondered—how come nobody cares about us?! The huge population of flyers who pay full price when they can’t afford it to run around to connecting flights just to go home to spend Easter weekend with the family?

As reported by Adweek, AirTran finally realized my dear market segment and has created a campaign dedicated solely to collegiate-aged folk- the “Fly free til you’re 23” campaign. The campaign started the week of April 9th; the company will release one 30-second and two 15-second viral videos featuring senior citizens posing as 23-and-under kids using fake ID’s and disguises in order to qualify for their new sweepstakes; a chance to win two round trips per calendar quarter until the winner turns 23. At the end of the viral videos, watchers are led to to register for AirTran's frequent flyer program, A+ Rewards.

The videos will be released on websites such as and, and has been featured in college town theatres and print promotions have been placed in college campus newspapers. The campaign is also in partnership with NBC on Campus, a concept incorporating NBC and University Network, which is a digital out-of-home company that broadcasts programming to 283 screens on 181 campuses.

People such as Henry Harteveldt, an airline and travel analyst at Forrester Research, are singing their praises about AirTran’s strategic approach; “Going after younger travelers is a smart approach, since most of them haven't formed brand loyalty yet” he says, "the promotion requires everyone to join AirTran's rewards program and it's a good way to build loyalty with customers.”

The promotion ends June 9th, so to all my fellow college students out there, get on and sign up! I did!

New Sony Movie continuing viral cinema marketing

Meant for Friday, April 11th- computer wouldn’t let me sign on

I guess I’m not the best YouTuber, because I just found out on the Wired blog network that there was a 40-second clip posted on YouTube in March of pure mayhem outside of an apartment building, sniper rifles and all. It was posted by “EricsVideoBlog” and he asks that people subscribe to his account in order to find out what happened in this clip which he mysteriously got his hands on…

…Turns out its just another viral hoax done by the people who seem to be doing it best these days- movie studios! It turns out that it was a viral marketing tactic created for Sony Pictures new film, Quarantine, which is set out for release all the way in October. The clip received at least a million views the weekend it surfaced, and at least 400 comments about the clip itself. They released the full trailer yesterday, and along with the first clip, have at least 2 million views.

Since the release of the first clip, “Eric” has created around 30 video entries asking people to theorize what happened in the clip. He has also referred to a new character in this viral marketing “story,” which has joined the investigation and spills about it in his “blog.”

These kinds of movie campaigns are very creative, and would seem to attract that same kind of people who are into alternative lives such as Second Life, since they are simulating an occurrence and getting the public involved with the story. My only wonder is; is this gonna get old? Are these campaigns going to turn off cynics such as I to going to see a movie that tries to trick people into getting wrapped up in it? Guess we’ll have to see what other movies and movie studios jump on this bandwagon.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Buzz marketers take note: laws are changing the biz in the UK

According to vanksenculturebuzz's blog section (cool website, check it out), on April 2nd, the British Institute of Practitioners in Advertising released a warning that will affect all buzz and viral marketing practitioners and internet advertising as a whole. The organization has launched a warning regarding the guidelines prohibiting unethical practices of viral marketing, buzz marketing, and word-of-mouth. Considering the rapid growth of these modes of promotion and advertising, this is a very well-needed and necessary step.

These guidelines will be featured in the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations that will be effective starting May 26, 2008, which already requires that any commercial message must be identified as such so as to not be deceiving to the public.

The following practices will be dubbed as illegal:

-Seeding positive messages about a brand in a blog without making it clear that the message has been created by, or on behalf of the brand.
-Using “buzz marketing” specialists to communicate with potential consumers in social situations without disclosing that they are acting as brand ambassadors.
-Seeding viral ads on the internet in a manner that implies you are a simple member of the public.

Punishments are to be in the form of heavy fines and possibly even prison sentences. So, if you have an online company or utilize any online advertisements or promotions for your products, whether it be an ad for a corporation or promoting your own album or clothing line, take note of these new laws, or else there is a big price to pay.

I hope that people agree with these laws, because we are all consumers, and nobody ever likes being duped.

Click here for the rest of the British Institute of Practitioners in Advertising’s summary of this movement.

Friday, April 4, 2008

SunChips going green?

Looks like SunChips is sticking true to its name; according to, FritoLay, the own of SunChips, will now be making their popular multigrain snacks (my favorite is Harvest Cheddar, mm), with the help of solar energy. SunChips will commence their eco-friendly production on April 21st, but until then, they have created a coinciding eco-campaign in order to promote SunChips going green.

I personally think this ad campaign is genius. They are using a new slogan, "Live Brightly," which, according to prnewswire, is meant to focus on "the simple yet powerful idea that small steps can add up to have a positive impact on your life as a whole." Not to mention it goes quite well with the solar energy campaign; bright, solar energy, sun, SunChips, get it? I do, and I like it a lot.

So as a part of their new advertising campaign, they are utilizing, yes, online advertising, along with TV and print. On Earth Day, they will debut the very first solar-powered newspaper ad, along with a solar-powered billboard in the company's hometown of Modesto, California. Although this has not alot to do with viral marketing, talk about creating a buzz: eco-friendly advertising, wow, look where we're headed. I'm sure SunChips will get mouths flapping about how they created the first solar-powered newspaper ad and billboards.

In terms of online and viral advertising, they have created a new website,, which features tons of information on solar energy and ways and small steps for people to do to live a cleaner, greener lifestyle. It also has a link to add on a SunChips Get Green Facebook application, which is an amazing idea due to Facebook's popularity and its keen ability to drop advertisements into a website with very high visibility.

Visit the website, check it out. Two progessive movements combine: viral and buzz marketing, and going green. I like the sound of that.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Even being "green" is going viral

According to, an alternative energy company appropriately named, has hired viral marketing company YouCast to further develop the company's viral marketing efforts and ideas to promote their company and its causes.

On April 1st, the company has announced that it has developed its own comedy web series hosted by Chuck Roy, a "Last Comic Standing" semi-finalist, that uses humor to address the need for alternative energy sources. There will be three episodes per week that will be featured on the company's website.

Along with the webisode series, YouCast will promote's News, "Green collar jobs," Products, Social Networking and the new Comedy and Education features. The viral promotion campaign will start with music artists Right On Dynamite, Hung, The Knees, Fewn and Vonesper along with pin-up girl Jennifer Korbin plugging the company on their own Web sites. Jonathan Cohen, founder of YouCast, explains that "the opportunity to inject the online community with a positive message in a fun, engaging way is the YouCast approach and we're elated to spearhead the effort with"

CEO of Doug Schiller is equally as enthused about the partnership and the adoption of a viral marketing strategy in stating "with our comedy series, YouCast's marketing to musician and celebrity sites and an amazing new education section, we are well positioned to become the leading Alternative Energy web portal," This is just the beginning. We will soon introduce even more content."

Saturday, March 29, 2008

The Dark Knight buzz marketing campaign version 2.0

Although I briefly discussed The Dark Knight buzz campaign earlier on this month, I didn't go into great detail about how meticulous not only the buzz campaigning is for this movie, but how extensive the viral marketing is as well. The second phase of The Dark Knight buzz and viral campaigns are now in action, and there are many different elements that are involved:

There are several websites dedicated to the characters of the movies and the ongoing theme of main character Harvey Dent's campaign for district attorney of Gotham City, such as There is also an online newspaper created as a part of the viral campaign,, that features stories about Harvey Dent's campaign as well as other hints about the movie's storyline. An extension of these viral publications that was unexpected are Web sites dedicated to other stories from The Gotham Times, such as and more websites based on articles from The Dark Knight's viral newspaper, click here).

Not only are there websites dedicated to Harvey Dent, but there is also a Web site for The Joker (from other Batman movie fame) as a viral marketing tactic. The Dark Knight followers can not only be followers of the Harvey Dent campaign, but can also team with the Joker, starting by visiting his website, . In order to become one of the Joker's "henchmen" there are games to be played on the website, and now that the campaign is in it's second phase, it has expanded past the internet and has gone where not many, if any, viral and buzz campaigns have gone before: text messaging.

Fans can email to begin getting texts from "the Joker himself" with obscure hints about how to get deeper within this buzz and viral marketing campaign. According to, the first texts went like this:

"Hey clown! Long time, no crime spree! Well, put on your floppy shoes and answer this question: are you ready to get to work? (ReplyY/N)"

Fans that responded to the Joker with a 'Y' will get the following message:

"Glad to see you're still alive and kicking. I'll be in touch before Poisson d'Avril.

It was projected that the Joker's "henchmen" would receive another text around April Fool's Day.

This viral and buzz campaign is absolutely incredible. The amount of creativity in order to create a campaign that is so cunning and cutting-edge is unseen in other circumstances. The Dark Knight movie campaign, I predict, will go down in history as the most extensive and progressive marketing campaign to date, and has certainly raised the bar for all buzz and viral marketing campaigns to come. The tactics and tools they created to get fans so deeply involved in the movies promotion creates an even greater amount of anticipation than could be expected using any other marketing campaign. I can't wait to see the outcome in the fan's reception and the box office numbers to see if this genius campaign really pulled it off as greatly as I expect.

Friday, March 28, 2008

The First Ever Official Viral Film Festival

As posted on the Viral and Buzz Marketing Association website on March 12, The first ever Viral Film Festival will be happening April 28th as a part of the BEFLIM The Underground Film Festival in New York City. It will take place at the Dolby Screening Room located at 1350 Avenue of the Americas. The event is produced in partnership with, a video-sharing website. This will be the 5th annual Underground Film Festival to date. The deadline to submit video entries was March 22nd, but I have some projections and hopes for what this festival should bring to the table...

This film festival could provide so many opportunities for the marketing industry. People in the marketing industry should attend this festival in order to observe trends in viral video production and themes. People interested in video production and marketing, I hope, made submissions to this festival to get their name out into the industry to catch the interest of marketing companies and advertising boutiques who are looking to get an edge on the viral marketing strategy.


I suppose that because it is the event's first year, that some flexibility will be made-- maybe they didn't have the budget? maybe they didn't have the staff? But i believe that if there was more marketing efforts, especially in the realm of which the festival is honoring, it would be much more well-known and the pop culture circuits would take a liking to this new celebration of art.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

My hometown shuts down successful viral marketing campaign? I'm ashamed.

Okay, so I know I haven't said too much about the viral and buzz marketing campaign for the movie, The Dark Knight, solely because it is so complex that I have yet to get the whole grasp on it. According to the article from, the main character of the movie, Harvey Dent, runs for district attorney for Gotham City, which is the central concept of the campaign. The buzz marketing campaign is designed like a political campaign, with the tagline "I believe in Harvey Dent." Fans of the yet-to-be released movie act as participants in the buzz campaign by setting up "campaign stations" in cities all over the US. There is a campaign bus called the "Dentmobile" that brings the campaign to each city.

On March 12, when the campaign stopped in my lovely hometown of Chicago, there was what I would like to call an "Aqua Teen Hunger Force Fiasco"-- yup, the cops broke up the promotional campaign. The campaign, was planned to run from 8 to 10 a.m., but the Chicago police broke it up within three minutes flat. Talk about a buzzkill.

To check out more photos from the campaign, check them out here.

To find out if the Dentmobile and the Harvey Dent campaign will be around your neck of the woods, check out the campaign site here.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Pepsi's new product and new marketing plan--excited about both

According to a UTalk Marketing's March 14 article, Pepsi will be releasing a new no-calorie, caffine-free carbonated fruit-flavored soft drink called Tava. Pepsi is targeting women ages 35-49, but is going through an untraditional route, especially for this demographic; they're using viral and buzz marketing to reach this target audience, which will be an interesting approach of which I'm excited to see the results of.

They are using viral campaign techniques such as creating its own website,, and creating banner ads. What I believe to be Pepsi's most clever tactic is sending out samples to employees of companies that are considered opinion influencers such as Google, MTV, and Apple. They are also utilizing buzz marketing by giving out samples at hip festivals and entertainments and through some businesses on the trendy Lower East Side of Manhattan.

Frank Cooper, vice president for flavored carbonated soft drinks at Pepsi-Cola North America, justifies his decision to use these up-and-coming marketing techniques for this particular demographic by stating although this isn't the typical tech-savvy market segment, "There’s a group in that category that’s ‘reborn digital.’ They’ve lived through the change and learned to adapt to it... this consumer spends significant time online, although what they do may differ from the younger consumer. They’re not I.M.-ing their friends; they’re looking at e-mail or looking up information about travel, music, food.”

Looks like Pepsi knows what it's doing, and I predict successful results.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Alert: Viral Marketing Trend Watch

While searching through blogs to find new sources, I came across Nial McFadyen's post on Today's post was about five different marketing trends of viral marketing that McFadyen has observed and predicted will come to a front this year.

McFadyen's first prediction is that branded games will become the most as the most effective technique in social network advertising. It may be that the rest of the public is more in touch with the online gaming industry (I think of it as one less procrastination tool for me), but I don't think I will be one to jump on this bandwagon. Yes, I believe that it will become more popular and effective with a particular demographic, but out of the web- savvy population, I'm not sure they'll be reaching many 20-something females. But who knows, maybe a company will find some way to strike our fancy, I'm not one to underestimate.

McFadyen also predicts that internet will be integrated with other modes of media such as TV and game consoles (in which the Web has already been integrated), and electronics and other devices will be designed to accomodate to this integration. Word on the street is that many said products are in development, and as long as they're marketed well, I have no doubt that this prediction will be verified.

Third prediction: Kid’s toy manufacturers will incorporate the internet with their toy concepts, following the success of Webkinz. I will admit, my siblings love Webkinz, and when kids love something, they can't get enough of it. Remember Tomagotchi's and GigaPets? Word to my Webkinz team in Park: take this trend into consideration, how is Webkinz going to deal with the competition?

According to McFadyen, "the improvement in targeted and local search will increase the number of small businesses that advertise online. This increase in advertising will slowly spread beyond text based search advertising and into social network advertising as well as online advertising networks that can deliver results." I, for one, agree that this trend is already in movement. My friend works for a local search engine in Chicago called Fave, and it hasn't stopped growing, and is actually the fastest growing search engine in the Chicago area. There's all sorts of local advertisements and information, and seeing that this site is becoming incredibly popular, I have no doubt that search engines for other areas would as well.

The last prediction is that small business will increasingly start creating low budget marketing initiatives based on free internet services like blogs or Facebook pages. It's becoming an increasingly popular alternative because businesses don't have to spend the cost of website design and hosting. Also, free online video sites like YouTube will continue to be used as an alternative to TV advertising, and in my opinion, commericials will become even more popular in searching since there is more flexibility for content and creativity on these sites.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Our country is in recession, but the World Wide Web is still booming

As reported in this article written in Wired's blog site by Betsy Schiffman, it turns out that while the rest of America's economy is nearly in recession (see this article that Wired references for further information on our economy's demise), online marketing companies report absolutely no effect on the sales of online advertising space. In fact, according to Jon Kelley, president of online advertising and marketing firm Sure Hits, "The trend of online advertising growth is stronger than economic recessionary trends." Nice, this is what I like to hear. According to CEO of Sharpe Partners Kathy Sharpe, the industry has been growing at 25% for the last five or six years.

Wired spoke to numerous online marketers at last weeks Search Marketing Expo, and they were hard-pressed to find people who were in disagreement with Kelley and Sharpe. Rich Kahn, CEO of search engine and ad platform eZanga, bragged that he has even doubled his sales force as of this month due to increase in demand for online and viral advertising.

The cause of this constant increase is the fact that businesses realize, in increasing numbers, that viral and online marketing can't be beat in cost-efficiency and its effectiveness in ignition of word-of-mouth. T. David Akindele, senior sales executive at Pop Labs, embellishes by stating "The internet is one of the most effective way to reach a ready-to-buy customer, with the exception of word-of-mouth. Advertisers need to be online."

So it looks as if people are getting the hint. The internet is the medium with the most potential for development and the most amount of flexibility and creativity in marketing techniques. Can't wait to hear more about some really viral and buzz marketing campaigns coming up soon.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

SlipStream shows us how it's done

On February 22nd, in a press release shown on, Slipstream Video, a company specializing in online videos as marketing tools, announced their launch of an interactive video streaming website, The website exhibits how adding video to a website or in representation of a company or brand can significantly increase product sales.

The new site focuses on the skills that SlipStream has developed in order to successfully reach a client's target demographic, provoke interest, and influence a consumer's purchase decision; something that many companies, being in-house or boutique, have yet to accomplish. What's great about SlipStream and their concept of an how-we-do-it website, if you will, is that it doesn't hide their expertise like a secret weapon, but makes the information available to other businesses to use as a tool in improving and updating their marketing techniques.

Not only does the website provide how-tos to online marketing, it also reveals elements of SlipStream's very own internet marketing strategy, which employs social networking, mobile technology, search engine optimization, "e-blasts," blogs, and viral marketing. This incredible online marketing resource of strategies is accessible to any company, and business transactions can be done through email.

Of the many new elements of the website, a"Customized Solutions" video has been uploaded which showcases SlipStream's ability to design, update, and improve websites and provide e-commerce and search engine optimization strategy. There is also a gallery of SlipStream's previous work to see the product of their skill.

I think it is very important for this company to be in the Rolodex of any business, small or large, because of their knowledge of the transition in the involvement of technology in marketing. And if a business can't afford to hire an out-of house firm, to at least take some tips from these guys; thanks to their new website, information on this new marketing tool is readily available.

To learn more about SlipStream video, go to

To learn more about the release of their new website, click here for the entire press release.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Coffee + Internet= my typical day... and a new ad campaign!

Earlier today, The Hollywood Reporter, well, reported, that Kraft and Ogilvy & Mather;s branded entertainment group are teaming up to create a viral marketing campaign of a series of webisodes circled around the Tassimo, a hot beverage maker, which is a sub-brand of the Kraft family. This is Kraft's first webisode marketing campaign ever. They have hired writer/producer Jim Biederman, whose previous acclaimed work includes The Kids in the Hall" and "The Whitest Kids U Know."

The webisode series is titled "Who Hired Bob?" which is set in an office and centered around the misadventures of the main character, obviously named Bob who is fanatically obsessed with the office's Tassimo machine. Currently there are already two webisodes released, which have three acts per webisode, that can be seen on Each act has two possible endings, so the viewer can select the fate of Bob after each act. There's also a contest where people can send in their own versions of Bob-like situations and the winner will be have the next "Bob-isode."

Concerning Kraft's marketing strategy, Joseph Frydl, the director of Ogilvy's branded content and entertainment group, states "Creating original, entertaining content gives Tassimo both cultural currency and permission for further conversations with consumers." I couldn't agree more. Coffee and office life are two symbols in American culture, and to pair those two elements of our pop culture into a progressive and influential cultural icon of the internet is a recipe for popularity and buzz.

Frydl expects that the webisodes well receive 70 million hits or acknowledgments over the span of a month, and I wouldn't disagree with it!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Viral marketing is getting political

Apparently viral marketing has a new use that is as strategic as the people who thought of it: viral marketing is now being used as a modern, effective edge for political campaigns. The Boston Globe caught up on this new trend, and by writing an article about it, is really expanding this phenomenon and making viral marketing a more public and mainstream element of our culture.

Campaigns are taking advantage of what the Globe calls "the first-ever broadband-fed presidential race" in a variety of ways. In a more forward, gung-ho competitive approach, Republican Mitt Romney's campaign released a video directed towards competitor John McCain dubbed "The Democrat's Favorite Republican" that highlights certain criticisms and damaging footage about McCain's agenda and beliefs. On a lighter note, Democrat candidate Hillary Clinton created her own web videos, including a spoof on the Soprano's finale in which she "reveals" her winning campaign song. What's great about presidential candidates and their campaign creating their own videos featuring themselves is that it is a great humanizing quality; their videos are on YouTube next to kid's dance recitals and teenage pranks.

The beauty of releasing this type of video on the web is that there is no time limit (compared to the TV limit of 1 minute), there is no restrictions for content, giving the campaigns more leway and enter a level of riskiness that campaigns haven't had before. The biggest upside to viral video? It's free.

Whether or not the videos persuade voters to lean one way or another, one thing is for sure: they are undeniably visible. The Pew Internet & American Life Project found that almost a quarter of the US population has seen a campaign-related video online. That quarter of the population consists of about 41% of people under 30 and 20% of people 30 or older. Considering that these age groups, particularly the under 30 demographic, is more politically-conscious and influential in the election than ever before, these numbers are incredibly significant.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Google is fueling the creative fire

Google has created an awesome contribution to the advancement of buzz and viral marketing-- the company developed The Google Online Marketing Challenge. It is a contest, which is open to any student in any part of the world, to participate in creating an online marketing campaign for a local business, and the winning ad team will receive a trip to the Google Headquarters in Mountain View, CA, with a 7-night stay at a 5-star hotel in San Francisco. Question to Park administrators: how did all of these people in the world (look at this Google Map to see 'em) know about this, but we didn't!??!?!?

So anyway, the contest works like this: student teams from academic institutions (who must register for the contest prior to students being able to participate) are given $200 US dollars worth of free online advertisting with Google AdWords. AdWords (see right) are links to a company in a column on a Google search result page labeled Sponsored Links. These AdWords pop up when a person types in a word (which to advertisers, is a want or need) that coincides with the company's product or service.

Students use this $200 to work with their local business of choice (which must be under 100 employees and has a website BUT does not use AdWords) and create their own AdWords account within a competition time span of three weeks. The team must submit a competition report before the competition begins, and one after the three week campaign has ended. The teams can compete in any three week period between February 10th and May 24th of this years. The campaigns are judged by an international smorgasbord of professionals and the winners will be announced this June.

Google explains this opportunity and challenge to interested students as "great opportunity for you to gain practical, real world online marketing experience and gain valuable skills that potential employers are looking for. And for all of those loyal to the mom-and-pop stores, "It's also a great way to help local businesses and your community by supporting them with your online marketing knowledge."

As a person who's enthusiastic about both causes, I give Google serious kudos for seeing the potential in the intellect and talent of the upcoming generation, promoting the increasingly important mode of viral marketing, and supporting small business. That said, when can Ithaca sign up? Guess we'll have to wait for next year...

Friday, February 8, 2008

It's true! "Chatter Does Matter!"

According to the Adotas website, a NYU study revealed on February 7th, 2008 concluded that viral marketing is economically effective marketing strategy.

NYU's Stern School of Business professor Vasant Dhar, along with NYU student Elaine Chang, released their study in a research paper titled "Chatter Does Matter." In the first few months of 2007, the researchers followed a sample of 108 albums four weeks before and after their release and tracked the amount of online chatter in blogs, social networking sites, and other online communication tools, and measured their amount of influence on each album's success. This is the first study of its kind to measure the economic influence of viral marketing on the music industry. Dhar, who specializes in the strategic implications of information technology, found that the amount of blog posts regarding an album prior to its release significantly and positively affects the album's success.

The study revealed other results, which can be found in NYU's faculty archive. Dhar and Chang also found that social networking sites have an impact on the popularity and financial success of an album; the amount of "friends" a recording artist accumulates week-to-week on the social networking site MySpace prior to the album's release has a weaker, yet still positive correlation to the artist's album's success. Lastly, the study reaffirmed the traditional promotional tactics; albums released by larger, mainstream record labels and are reviewed by well-known publications such as Rolling Stones will tend to have significantly higher record sales.

Dhar and Chang's work has a significant influence on the marketing industry as a whole, especially for the music marketing industry. The World Wide Web is like having an entire population at your fingertips; by looking at the amount of online reception regarding an artist's upcoming album, music executives can now predict how successful the album will be.

Just another step in discovering the potential that the internet has for the marketing industry... it's a regular buzz machine.

The entire research paper on the study can be found here.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Volvo wants to get its buzz on

As I was searching around for what companies are developing buzz and viral marketing campaigns (which in my opinion, couldn't be a smarter move; traditional marketing is just like traditional everything else-- IT'S GETTING OLD!), nothing shocked me more than seeing an article in DirectNews about Volvo's new marketing strategy to create a viral marketing campaign in order to connect with a younger audience.

It's no secret that Volvo doesn't have the youngest, hippest image out of all of the car manufacturers. However, their decision to put more efforts into buzz marketing, as Volvo's marketing director Anita Fox tells Precision Marketing, "We want to create a campaign that creates 'buzz' marketing, as well as something that's relevant to the target market... we want the brand to have more 'talkability' to put Volvo on a lot of people's radars and show a more human side to the brand."

Volvo hopes to connect with their younger target market by portraying themselves as a brand focused more on having fun than they're traditional focus on their safety and functionality. They hope to create "buzz" through using social networking sites, mobile marketing, and simultaneously with the release of the new, sporty C30 model, will incorporate email marketing and banner advertisements.

Volvo is definitely taking the appropriate measures by using not-so-traditional marketing for a not-so-traditional target market, however, I think it will take more than naggy emails and Web site banners to transition the brand's image-- perhaps a little more delving into the internet marketing world and more consideration of other alternative marketing methods would make the brand's new marketing strategy more effective, but any big move takes babysteps.

Thursday, January 24, 2008