AMC Scares Up a Halloween Hit with Social Media

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With the buckets of Emmys taken home a few weeks ago for their big hits Mad Men and Breaking Bad, AMC’s original programming is certainly on a roll. It can’t be denied that the little station that used to play old movies like Summer Stock at 3 a.m. has morphed into a power-hitter in the world of cable television. While its programming choices have been savvy, the other thing AMC does with pinpoint perfection is promotion. Mad Men and Breaking Bad have been pushed as must-see shows that are to be viewed if you want to be considered cool by your coworkers. With sleek ads and interactive social media marketing, the series’ are synonymous with quality in the same way HBO was once upon a time.

Now the marketing for AMC’s new horror series, The Walking Dead, hopes to bring in a slightly younger audience by first becoming a social media hit.

The show, which won’t even premiere until Halloween night, already has more than 14,000 fans on Facebook while igniting message boards across the Internet. The Walking Dead made a huge splash at ComiCon this year in hopes to get the fan-boys and fan-girls drooling over the zombie-riffic series. It worked. Now the next promotional tier in The Walking Dead domination plan involves the release of three heart-pounding trailers. Scary, mysterious and thrilling, the trailers were released online last week and since have been posted on nearly every pop culture blog on the web. While the spots don’t exactly hand over the plot goodies, they effectively let you know that this is another required-viewing series if you want to keep your hip TV viewer status. On Facebook and Twitter, the spots are being linked and pushed while interviews with the show’s creators are posted with behind-the-scenes footage.

The Walking Dead couldn’t happen at better time. Not only are zombies the new vampires, but with Lost and other nerdtacular shows no longer on the air, the moment is now for the show to catch fire. AMC effectively has tickled our curiosity using smartly-played social media moves. We can’t wait to see The Walking Dead – and what the network has up their sleeves next.

3 Biggest Business Blog Blunders

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Much like a gallon of milk past its prime, a business blog that fails to excite can be sniffed out immediately. We notice in a matter of sentences if something just isn’t right. It smells bad. It seems stale or awkward. The first few sentences ring phony. The point of the piece seems jumbled. In order to create fresh and tasty blogs, we need to examine the blogging bacteria that cause our content to curdle.

The biggest offender in business blogs is bunk content. We find that content suffers usually from one of two problems: Either it is so dry that it reads as if it was written by some 93-year-old biology teacher, or the content is so scattered it fails to be coherent. Nobody says that you can’t be both informative and entertaining. In fact, we encourage this kind of behavior. Good business blogs unleash the details of your latest services and products while revealing some of your personality and warmth. Brands that people go crazy for speak distinct languages consumers respond to.

The second fatal business blog mistake is not being in touch with the audience. Too many blogs have zero interaction or response with their readers. This is a shame because comment sections, although often littered with spammer nonsense, can provide insight into who the folks behind the receipts really are and what they want. By encouraging conversation on our blogs we are opening an invaluable door to customer contact.

Finally, our third blogging snafu is the common problem of updating. Staying current with content is an issue which nobody wants to cop to but one we’ve all wrestled with. The task of blogging every day in theory seems exhausting and too large. But staying up to date and fresh is the key for growing a readership. Plus there are solutions to make sure your blog doesn’t turn into a one-man band. Easy ways to take the load off include infusing your blog with guest bloggers who have an established readership, posting videos which are relevant and entertaining for your audience and enlisting the help of content professionals (like the good people at Brandsplat). Blog freshness takes small daily tasks that pay off big over time.

Now we want to engage you, savvy readers. Tell us your blogging secrets in the comments section below!

5 Things You Might Have Missed List

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Whew! What a week, huh? It’s been a whirlwind of wacky advertising, mysterious packages of gum and bizarre media moves. With all of this hubbub, you’d think we would be too tired to seek out any further web and marketing goodies, right? Well, you would be wrong. We managed to find another 5 things you might have missed. We do it because we care.

1.) Tip-Ex Lets You Rewrite Their Ad: Courtesy of I Believe in Advertising (one of the best ad blogs on the planet, if you ask us), Tip-Ex’s new interactive ad puts the viewer in the center of the action by choosing whether a hunter shoots a bear. Users get to re-write the outcome and watch as the bear and hunter play out their choice on YouTube. But what if your ending doesn’t fit with Tip-Ex? There’s a custom error message that is just as hilarious and clever as the rest of the ad. It’s the top pick of the week because it takes our love for comedy and viral video and wisely integrates the product being sold. Also, it doubles as an awesome at work time killer. Or so we hear.

2.) Riding Virgin America & Loopt’s Taco Truck: This promotion is so genius yet so simple: Loopt users could check in at LAX or SFO or at a variety of taco trucks around town and receive two-for-one tickets to Mexico on Virgin America. And tons of people responded. It’s the kind of geo-location promotion we knew was coming and we’re happy to see people responding in droves.

3.) Social Media’s Hits And Myths: Oh My Gov! ran a week-long series of debunking social media myths. It’s a fascinating read even for marketing types who think they know it all. Plus it’s another great series from an always though-provoking blog worthy of a daily once-over.

4.) Lingerie To Di For: Stick this one in your WTF file: China has had a successful line of underwear named Diana for quite some time, but it made news because the anniversary of Princess Diana’s death was this week. A tasteless way to remember “The People’s Princess” or advertising camp at its finest? You make the call.

5.) Pepsi Refresh Serves Another Round: The already awesome Pepsi Refresh Project, which gives millions to causes championed via social media, increased its donations for the month of September to $2.6 million. Pepsi’s good deeds also are great marketing and branding from a company who has really rocked social media lately.

Beck’s “The Blaze” Fizzles As A Brand Name

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At Brandsplat, we’re all for anybody becoming the next online multi-media maven. The great thing about today’s landscape of digital media is that anyone can launch his or her own blogs and newsfeeds. With the right amount of promotion and gumption, these little blogs can become widely read and forwarded brand names in online media. So it struck us as odd when Glenn Beck, he of the ridiculously high rated Fox show and of the recent rally in Washington D.C., announced with his usual red-faced fanfare that he was launching a website a la The Huffington Post to serve as “news and opinion” (and by opinion he means his opinion) called The Blaze.

Beck, agree with him or not, is trying to establish himself as a brand name in conservative journalism – and he has the flock of sheep to prove that he’s capable of doing so. Our issue here is not with his politics but with the utterly whack name of his new website. To prove how uninspired a name The Blaze actually is, we’ve collected a few other, longer-established websites and media outlets from the Interweb that were called The Blaze first.

The Blaze, as it turns out, is a super popular moniker for radio stations. Country, alternative, hip-hop and classic rock stations all seem to favor the name. Poor Beck’s fans might be in for a surprise if they accidentally visit the wrong Blaze and wind up listening to the latest hit by T- Pain. From Tyler, Texas, to Chico, Calif., we dug up at least four radio stations dubbed “The Blaze.” Strange that Beck’s marketing folks didn’t catch this, especially seeing as he was discovered on morning radio. The biggest chuckle in the bunch definitely comes from down under, where The Blaze is a popular gay and lesbian news website. Visitors to this Blaze are greeted with a distinctly un-Red State view of a man’s behind in black underwear. And it doesn’t end there. We found a head shop, a strip club, a barbershop quartet newsletter (?) and we fondly remember it as the name of the school newspaper on the original 90210 run by that pesky Andrea Zuckerman.

We’re certainly not in the business of politics here at Brandsplat, but the lesson from The Blaze is a good one everyone, regardless of his or her field. Choosing our website and brand names is an important move that needs to be mulled over with careful consideration. Beck omitting his own name in the title somewhere in the website is a big mistake. Beck is a brand name already and leaving it out of the equation is a definite fumble. It is important to have consistent branding and thoughtful company names, especially in the era of mass Google confusion.

Now you tell us: What website names fail to hit the right marks? Blaze up our comments section below!


Increasing Our Good Online Marketing Karma

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“Like gravity, karma is so basic we don’t even notice it.” – Sakyong Mipham

That little golden rule of treating others how we would want to be treated is a simple yet revolutionary concept in our current era of beating celebrities and politicians to a pulp in blogs. In media and marketing, we stand in line to hop on board the latest bash fest of whatever product or person has made a bad judgment call or seen better days. This little billboard campaign out of Denver made headlines this week for making fun of Domino’s. Domino’s? Really? While it provides some chuckles, the old “kick the big money competitor in the groin” tactic is pretty exhausted at this point. Nevertheless, our current snark-as-default-setting climate got us thinking about using our marketing powers for good. After all, small businesses rely on positive word of mouth and feedback, so shouldn’t we take positive actions to insure good marketing karma?

The road to marketing enlightenment is one paved with little, selfless acts of kindness that over time prove your company has heart, integrity and a good sense of humor. For instant karma in action, take a look at Twitter marketing. On Twitter, by re-tweeting blogs in your same industry, you’re giving props to your comrades while winding up in their newsfeeds. Things like “Follow Friday” and mutual following are other ways to get good Twitter juju. Another great way to perhaps gather more followers is by doing an old-fashioned Twitter shout-out. The shout-out consists of naming an author of a blog or an entrepreneur who has posted something worthy that deserves more than a simple retweet. By name checking folks with big followings, I have found almost immediate retribution wherein the person in question either follows me in return or returns the name-check in a separate tweet. Think of it as tweeting how you would like to be tweeted.

E-mailed newsletters are another outlet to increase your marketing brownie points. Slipping a quick customer questionnaire into your newsletter that in turn offers free goods or discounts is a nice way to reward your readers while gathering their thoughts about your company. It’s another old-fashioned mutual back scratching technique that also builds goodwill.

You also can show that your business gives a damn by providing links to causes and non-profits that are important to you on your website and social media pages. No, we can’t all be Bono – but we can do little things to help out fellow do-gooders. Plus partnerships of this kind are PR gold that almost always yield new customers.

With all of this spreading of happiness around, let’s not forget to have a laugh, either. Infusing (ahem, clean) humor in your Facebook pages, website and blogs is doing a good deed. First off, everybody loves a good laugh. Secondly, posts with humor and the “you gotta see this” factor get forwarded like nobody’s business. This can be in the form of a great video or weird news story – whatever. Have fun with it and your readers will, too.

Now it’s your turn to tell us, gentle readers: How have your acts of kindness helped your business? Enlighten us in the section below (and increase your good comment karma)!