5 Things You Might Have Missed

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From flying chipmunks to feisty cats, this week’s list of five things you might have missed is a regular menagerie! Enjoy — but don’t feed the animals.

1.) Hipmunk Soars: Without a doubt, Hipmunk was the most-talked-about site at SXSWi, but somehow got lost in the post-festival shuffle. This cute little chipmunk mascot and the travel search site he represents makes tops our list not just for being a great product with fantastic marketing but because Hipmunk is an amazing business model. Hipmunk founders and former Reddit owners put the emphasis on a simple and reliable system and on their users rather than showy CEO personalities and flashy tech innovations. In the Zuckerberg/Jobs era, Hipmunk is downright revolutionary.

2.) Beauty, Pores and All: Talk about revolutionary: Makeup Forever’s latest campaign is turning the cosmetic industry on its flawlessly Photoshopped head. The company has said no to the industry standard of retouched photographs of its models in favor of natural shots. Will this rebellious take on beauty sell a billion blushes? Who knows… but it’s already made headlines and created a PR flurry.

3.) The Cat’s Meow: This great blog at Social Media Penguin looks at the dominance of felines in social media. From Icanhazchezzburger to the new smash viral hit by Cravendale, kitties get posted billions of times on Facebook walls and tweeted about all day long. Marketers know that if they’re desperate for hits, stick a cat in it.

4.) The Truth In Lying: This series of Comviq ads via Creativity-Online hilariously depicts the little white lies we tell our friends while using the phone. Funny and truthful, lying has never been so smartly executed.

5.) Take Me Down to Social Media City: Men’s Health made the blogs this week as it came out with a list of the country’s top social media towns. The list makes our list because it is inspiring to see towns like Salt Lake, Denver and Atlanta embracing the social media and social media marketing. It’s further proof that social media isn’t just for the big city folk anymore.

5 Things You Might Have Missed!

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From the purveyors of bodacious blog content and sexy social media marketing maneuvers comes our weekly list of five things you might have missed!

1.) Art with a Purpose: Among the many online fundraisers for Japan, we’ve been particularly impressed by those of the design and artistic communities. Great prints, one-of-a-kind t-shirts and cool posters have been created by some of the net’s most innovative independent artists. These artists are using the web and social media to raise much-needed funds while their works show that compassion is something everyone is capable of.

2.) The Must-have Mouse of the Year: We rarely jump for joy and geek out over the latest tech gadgets, but the Celluon evoMouse Pet deserves a good geeking. The little creature, adorable in design, helps your computer function like a touchscreen. Click, drag and even draw with your finger on any flat surface with the evoMouse to control what happens on your monitor. We predict this supercool super-mouse won’t only be on the top of every freelancer’s tech toy wish list but it will propel Celluon to brand superstardom if it lives up to the hype.

3.) Doing the Soda Pop Drop: When sadness and the overall blahs of today’s world overwhelm us, a silly viral hit like Sun Drop soda’s ad is a welcome change of pace. This goofball hit that has garnered nearly 330,000 YouTube views since its release last week while putting the formerly cult status soda on the beverage map.

4.) Blame it on Tweedeck: This stupid story makes the list for its sheer ridiculousness. Remember the social media marketer from Chrysler who dropped the f-bomb on Twitter? He’s now blaming that infamous Tweet on a Tweedeck malfunction. We smell a trend for gutless social media professionals here – one we hope doesn’t catch on.

5.) This Water Tastes Like Rihanna: As lame as the concept of celebrity bottled water sounds, the Tap Project’s Celebrity Tap is designer H2O with a purpose. Stars like Rihanna, Selena Gomez and Taylor Swift are bottling water from their homes in customized bottles for Unicef’s Tap Project, which provides water for children around the world. The star-studded water is given away in a fundraising drive that starts on March 20. The worthwhile project makes the list because a story that involves celebrities and beverages that doesn’t involve a car smashing into a tree is simply refreshing.

5 Things You Might Have Missed

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It is Friday – which means little or nothing to freelancers, workaholics or unemployed creatives. But around these parts, Friday means it’s time to share with you 5 things you might have missed. So read ’em and weep!

1. PepsiCo Goes Fossil Fuel Free in U.K.: Okay, sure”¦ it’s not happening right away and it’s not happening in the United States, but we’re surprised this wasn’t a bigger story. By pledging to become a “zero impact brand” by 2023, Pepsi is clearly not only responding to consumers who have environmental concerns but changing the way the soda pop game is played worldwide. The effort has already been criticized as greenwashing and others wonder if the company will actually follow through. Nevertheless, it’s an ambitious move and one we think more companies will be making to keep their brands relevant in these hyper-aware times.

2. LivingSocial Rocks Amazon Deal: You probably didn’t miss this one, but did you pay attention? 1.4 million Amazon vouchers were sold this week on LivingSocial, beating out Groupon’s record-breaking Gap deal. The moral of the story? Social media and online marketing strategies for retail, dining or entertainment clients have to now include online discount websites.

3. NPR is Well Liked on Facebook: For the often mocked and playfully teased National Public Radio to achieve mega-Facebook status is something of a miraculous feat. NPR has 1.4 million fans who talk and relate to the network’s top news stories – something no other news outlet has been able to pull off. NPR has hit social media and digital marketing hard over the last three years and it’s paid off”¦ to the tune of a staggering 4.5 million pageviews a month.

4. Making Headlines: When it comes to killer content, you have to have a great headline. This copyblogger.com series reminded us of how essential reader-grabbing headlines actually are. According to the site, 8 out of 10 readers will read headlines but only 2 will read the rest of the post. In addition to reading the whole series, we’ve added headlines to our list of things to improve in 2011.

5. Inside the VW Academy: Volkswagen has created a series of online videos that give viewers an inside look at the company’s latest models. Yawn, right? Not so fast. What makes these videos list worthy is the appearance of SNL’s Bill Hader and the witty writing.

5 Things You Might Have Missed

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Just like a beloved old friend or a rash you can’t get rid of, Brandsplat’s weekly list of five things you might have missed is back! Here now are a quintet of items, videos and articles from this week that may have passed you by.

  1. Corporate-sponsored Creativity: This excellent post at Gods of Advertising turned the spotlight on Google Labs. Google Labs is the given name for when the creative staff at Google gets together one day a week to create whatever they want. That’s right – the big time search engine knows what most companies fail to understand: If you give employees the chance to actually be creative instead of just talking about it, new innovations are bound to reveal themselves.
  2. The Most Amazing Press Release Ever: In a week packed with stressful moments, this press release via Tech Crunch is a ray of sunshine. It intentionally mocks the silliness of PR and unintentionally made us realize how dated traditional press releases have become.
  3. The Big News That Wasn’t: Everybody yammered on and on about how Verizon carrying the iPhone was going to change everything. But in actuality, as pointed out by Andy Pilgrim’s Marketing Blog, the iPhone shuffle will barely affect marketers. Sure, more people not wanting to enter an abusive relationship with AT&T will jump at the chance for a Verizon iPhone. But in the end, the “story” was just a giant, overhyped non-story – as well as a public relations homerun for Apple.
  4. And Speaking of Creativity: We thoroughly enjoyed this spot for the Art Institutes which hit the web this week. By making creative parts of the world a blank canvas, the ad encourages aspiring artists to fill in the empty spaces around them.
  5. Sensitivity Makes a Comeback: After last weekend’s horrible events in Tucson, we think it’s time for online journalists and marketers to elevate their content and act respectful. This horrible billboard from (surprise!) Rush Limbaugh is exactly the kind of garbage marketers and writers need to wash their hands of. Sure, we’re here to sell stuff and have a laugh”¦ but we think we can all do that without adding fuel to the fire.

5 Things You Might Have Missed

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5 Things You Might Have Missed

Here’s our weekly roundup of social media nuggets, techie tidbits and advertising gems you sure don’t want to have missed.

  1. LEGO’S Latest Online Film: “The Brick Thief” is a whimsical short film from Pereira & Odell and part of LEGO and LEGO Click’s online video campaign. The visually fantastic film features a man with a memorably-large mustache who discovers the fun just a few colored bricks can provide. If you’ve been bogged down with work since returning from the holidays, take a break with this nifty movie from a brand that continues to do it right.
  2. PandoProjects: The trend of empowering folks to do something for their communities using social media is one we’ve seen more and more of over the last 2 years. PandoProjects is the latest campaign to help empower individuals to make changes. The concept is simple: The website serves as a platform with online tools to start local activism while giving aspiring do-gooders the chance to fundraise and grow without mountains of red tape. The Beta site doesn’t launch until February, but PandoProjects has already piqued our interest.
  3. Popcorn, Indiana is on the Map: The indie snack food company from New Jersey has been popping up all over the place. First the brand was featured on The Apprentice when contestants had to cook up an ad campaign for the company. This week, Popcorn, Indiana’s Munch Better Contest got press when it enlisted the help of amateur videographers to come up with a popcorn commercial superior to those featured on The Apprentice. Not too shabby for a brand nobody had heard of a few months ago.
  4. Death to Ed Hardy: Like most people who have eyes, we are totally tired of seeing sparkly Ed Hardy t-shirts and embroidered trucker hats. So when we found Super Top Secret, we jumped for joy. Send Super Top Secret your Ed Hardy or Affliction t-shirts, and the organization will donate your clothes to the homeless and give you a new shirt in exchange. As its website says, “You get some rad new gear and at the same time help bring this gaudy, glittery, gold-flaked trend down to its base function as a shirt.”
  5. Amazing Movie Posters, Meh Movies: As we pondered this list of last year’s best movie posters, we were blown away with how stunning the images in film advertising were last year. Yet we couldn’t help but notice how many of 2010’s films themselves were not that fantastic. Regardless, we’re happy that awesome movie poster art has come back strong.

5 Things You Might Have Missed

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It is, they tell us, the most wonderful time of the year. If that is indeed true, we have no idea why you’re sitting in front of your laptop. But because we care, here, just as reliable as Santa himself, is our weekly list of five things you might have missed list!

  1. A Very Snoop Christmas: Nothing says “happy holidays” like Snoop Dogg – and Pepsi seems to know that. Pepsi Max tapped the Gin and Juice sipper to tell his version of the Christmas Story. It’s the kind of viral silliness and online branding we’ve come to expect from Pepsi over the past year and Snoop does it just right.
  2. Tito Jackson. Period.: This commercial went viral this week and after one viewing, you will surely see why. Imagine, a political ad featuring a catchy R&B song with the politician’s name sprinkled throughout! I mean, they rhyme “Tito Jackson” with “man of action!” What’s not to love?
  3. Edgy isn’t always the answer: We’ve seen lots of brands and nonprofits this year cling to subversive or controversial campaigns hoping to generate headlines. Many times, however, it comes off as phony. Take this “edgy” campaign from the American Red Cross, for example. WhyshouldIgive.org is a faux apathetic website in the vein of WhatTheFuckHasObamaDoneSoFar.com. Only problem is that with the Red Cross, the whole in-your-face thing just seems fake.
  4. Knitted Toyota Cozies: As part of its Prius Projects campaign, Toyota enlisted the help of renowned knitter and artist Magda Sayeg to knit a giant, snuggly cozy for the car. The result is super-cute, DIY goodness! It’s another creative move from a brand on the rebound.

5. You: Yes, you. You’re probably low on quality personal time and feeling a little crazy. So sneak away from the family with a mug of hot cocoa and have some “you” time. After all, we think you’re pretty awesome. Thanks for reading us all year and happy holidays!

5 Things You Might Have Missed

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Here is another edition for our five things you might have missed list, jam-packed with online marketing scoop, interesting tidbits, fascinating social media factoids, wacky ad stuff and even a spiffy way for you to contribute.

1.) The Social Media & Brand Romance is Real: Empathica Inc. published a quarterly version of its Empathica Consumer Insights Panel which found six in 10 social media consumers said they followed at least one brand. This study, which was conducted in the United States and Canada, confirmed our ever-deepening love affair with brands on social media. Even more enlightening, Empathica discovered that 40 percent of those who admitted to following brands said they did so for coupons or special deals. What’s more: One in three consumers follows suggestions made on sites like Twitter and Facebook. The study gleefully affirms that yes, Virginia, your social media strategy really is a good idea.

2.) Save as a WWF File and Save a Tree: The World Wildlife Federation has come up with another clever and Earth-friendly campaign, this time encouraging computer junkies not to press the “print” button. The organization has created the WWF file and software that works like a PDF but cannot be printed therefore potentially saving millions of trees. It’s smart and accessible activism from an organization that keeps coming up with interesting ways to spread its message.

3.) Beat-boxing Cupcakes: Duncan Hines’ Amazing Glazes came out with a series of YouTube-only commercials. Each is pretty entertaining, but we’re particular fans of the spot featuring the hip-hop cupcakes.

4.) Tired of Treasure Hunts: This week saw coverage of two online treasure hunts sponsored by Wrigley and M&M’s. Which brand did it better? Who cares? We’d like to propose 2011 be the Year of No Treasure Hunts. What started out as a fun social media promotion has turned into an overused gimmick, exhausted by marketers. We *heart* social media games, don’t get us wrong. But it’s time to let the treasure map stay buried for a while.

5.) 5 Things We Might Have Missed: We want to create a special edition of this list and we want you to contribute to it! E-mail smahoney [at] brandsplat [dot] com five things you think we should know about. If we love it, we’ll publish it in a special reader-created list and give you a shout out!

Our Five Things You Might Have Missed List

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Here’s our weekly list of juicy social media marketing tidbits, fascinating advertising oddities and inspired ideas that might have flown past you this week. Read, enjoy and pass it on.

  • Salvation Army Attacks with Surprise Catwalk: Here’s a bit of genius guerilla marketing from Norway. During Oslo’s Fashion Week, Fretex, the country’s secondhand clothing store chain that benefits Salvation Army, set up a surprise catwalk at the exit of a busy subway station. Unsuspecting commuters were turned into models and thrust onto the runway. The models were rewarded with gift cards to Fretex while fashion show attendees were encouraged to donate to the store. This is the kind of campaign we can get behind – stylish, smart and sustainable.
  • The Agony of No Tweet: We had our doubts about the Digital Death Campaign launched by Alicia Keys and other celebs in honor of World AIDS Day. The movement, wherein celebs silenced themselves on social media, failed to bring in big bucks or any interest. While the idea from Keys and Co. was a daring one, perhaps we care less about the tweets by stars than they thought we would. Regardless, any money raised is a good thing and the initiative taught us that Twitter fundraisers have a long way to go until they rake in the cash like the traditional methods do.
  • Fire and Bling-stone: It’s been awhile since we’ve found a truly whacked out local advertisement. Thankfully, the folks at The Consumerist hooked us up with this gem. Please note the utter lack of irony in this commercial for LTD Jewelers as Larry Falter pretty much says the end is near but here’s 50 percent off of all our jewelry.
  • A Florida Pound Bites Back: Here’s a nonprofit social media campaign that does work. Down2Zero, which promotes Jacksonville, Florida’s Animal Care and Protective Services, is a gutsy campaign that is trying to get all of the facility’s 100 adoptable pets into homes. And thanks to an aggressive social media presence and clever marketing, the plan is working.
  • A Viral Video Love Letter: Maybe it’s the holidays or maybe we’re just feeling gushy, but when we read this story we couldn’t help but say “Awwww!” Director Walter May teamed up with indie band The Daylights to send his long distance girlfriend a video love letter she was to find on her own. Thanks to May’s Twitter efforts, she found the video and the band has received massive publicity, too. It’s a romance made in marketing heaven.