Wednesday, September 30, 2009

TODAY'S FIVE FACTS ABOUT YOUTH MARKETS

-College students spend an average $57 per textbook, finds Ypulse Insights.

-Teen girls are more likely than teen boys to use text messaging lingo in their messages, while boys are more likely than girls to prefer to express themselves through repeated use of punctuation, according to University of Alberta research.

-Kids under age 13 account for 24% of videogame industry unit sales, reports NPD Group.

-51% of teens are interested in starting their own businesses, down from 60% who wanted to do so last year, says Junior Achievement.

-71% of College/University admission officers have received a Facebook or MySpace "friend" request from an applicant.

Monday, September 28, 2009

RETAIL PACKAGING AND THE BENEFIT OF DIGITAL



Product packaging is a powerful and effective means of communicating a product’s potential, promise and desirability to consumers. There’s no argument about that. However, we're relying too much these days on the realestate offered on our packge to clearly list features, instructions for use, safety information, consumer hotlines, and let's not forget the bar code. And all of this does not even include the other important stuff...little things like displaying your brand, and providing a very reason to buy this package - This has to be done better than every other product package within view.

Until recently, product packaging has been pretty much up to the task of delivering all that is asked of it.But, with bigger stores carrying larger assortments, packages need to shout louder to be heard over the competition. Also, let's not forget those items that don't even come in a package...things like bicycles or car tires.  If your product package can't provide a reason to purchase, there is no reason to buy it...it will collect dust.  Since we know most purchases are made in store, then we know the importance of a good package.

There is a solution to cut through all of this asortment of packaging clutter..."Interactive Media Systems".  These bring your product to life. It's been called the new mass media.  Video Games locked in display cases are replaced with on-demand trailers, searchable extended inventory and instant pre-ordering.

The popularity of digital in store media is growing.  More and more brands are using in-store interactive media, just walk into a Bell, Rogers or Sony Style Store.  This has become a big solution in providing support for overworked product packaging. Interactive touchscreens offer near-infinite real estate in a compact space, which makes it possible to provide in-depth information, technical info and  show product demonstration videos or simply tell a product’s story. I have seen some digital screens create great "aisle theatre," just the things to attract attention and cement purchase decisions.

Think of all the products in a store and the minimal sales people available to sell all of these products...most of us do not want to waite more than 5 minutes to get help from a sales rep...therefore without the help of a knowledgeable sales associate and only a shelf tag to do the talking, a store equiped with interactive screens are a dream! These assistive shopping systems guide consumers through the selection process and provide independent user ratings, product reviews, and even price comparisons. The trend toward these systems is growing creating an interesting and entertaining experience for consumers. Next time you walk into a Rogers or a Sony Stye Store, bring along some popcorn and enjoy the show.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

10 RULES FOR DEVELOPING A WEBSITE THAT COMMANDS AUTHORITY AND LEADS ITS FOLLOWERS

When developing a Bog, a microsite or a website, follow these 10 key rules and you shall go forth and conquer!


1: The Winning Difference

The winning difference has been a critical concept way before the web came along. And it’s been called a lot of different things over time in various contexts: a unique selling proposition; your position in people’s minds; your purple cow… and on and on.

Essentially, it’s what makes your story stick.

There are a lot of ways to differentiate yourself, but no matter how you do it, it’s absolutely essential to building an authority website. In many ways, it’s how unique your content is that sets you apart, and that’s why the winning difference is rule number one… and why all of the following rules support it one way or another.

2: Don’t Sell… Teach

Many people think the main barrier to online marketing success is a lack of traffic. But it’s really a lack of trust. People love to buy stuff, but they hate to feel sold. So despite the fact that you’re building a website that will build your business, you need to concentrate on delivering value that builds authority.

Educational, tutorial-style content works online. It attracts links, it brings traffic, it builds trust, and it causes you to rank for relevant keyword-phrases in search engines. And all the while, you’re decreasing sales resistance, because after all… what is effective selling?

Selling is simply educating people about the benefits of doing business with you.

3: Cornerstone Content

A cornerstone is something that is basic, essential, indispensable, and the chief foundation upon which something is constructed or developed. Cornerstone content reveals what people need to know to make use of your site and do business with you.

Beyond that, your cornerstone content should naturally rank for your most important keyword phrase (it’s what your site is about, right?). But to attract the links you need, your cornerstone content must not only be strategic—it must provide off-the-hook value.

Think about it this way: Imagine your ideal customer or client calls you on the phone. She’s got money and a problem, and you’ve got the solution. What would you tell her?

4: Headlines and Hooks

The process of building authority involves a constant battle for attention. When you’re an unknown just starting out, it can be tough. But when you’re well established, you’re often competing even for the attention of the faithful. Let’s face it… it’s noisy out there.

Your headline (or the title of your content) is what determines whether or not your effort even gets a chance. Think about this: On average, 8 out of 10 people will read the headline, but only 2 out of 10 will read the rest. Improve the odds with a killer headline.

A hook is the angle or the attractor that gets people interested in your content, no matter how dry the subject matter. It could be a great analogy, a pop culture reference, a historical intersection… whatever. It’s just got to be intriguing. Your hook not only helps you write a killer headline, it also keeps people glued to your content and more inclined to spread the word.

5: Win Friends to Influence People

Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People is one of the bestselling self-help books ever published, and for good reason. But as the web gets more social, winning friends alone can make you immensely influential.

It all goes back to that basic truth about building authority: What others say about you is more important than what you say about yourself.

So, make friends with influential people in your niche or industry who can vouch for you and your content. Make friends with social media power users who can promote your content on Digg, Reddit, and Delicious. Make friends with people on Twitter who can retweet your content to their followers. Once that happens, your own readers and followers will start doing the same, and the benefits of authority get truly sweet.

6: The Money’s in the List

“The money’s in the list” is an old saying from the direct mail industry. If the mailing list is dead on target, even uninspired copy sells. If you send a brilliant promotion to a bad list, it still bombs.

Online, buying a “list” of subscribers and followers is stupid… it simply has no value. But putting out great content for “hits” and page views alone may be even sillier.

The point is to get relevant visitors to your site to request updates every time you publish… whether by email, RSS, or carrier pigeon (okay, maybe not the pigeon). Getting people to opt-in and pay attention to you over time is the key to building authority… and to selling them something in the future.

7: SEO Matters

Pssst… here’s a secret. Search engine optimization is not that hard (at least in this context). In fact, I’m going to point you to free resources below that basically give away the farm when it comes to SEO for building an authority site.

The only mystery is why some online marketers neglect SEO. Some seem to think it’s somehow bad because it’s “gaming Google,” which is obviously in violation of local statutes, common decency, and the Geneva Convention.

It’s not. In fact, everything in this report is exactly what Google wants you to do. And if you’re doing the stuff revealed in this report, Google wants you to rank well. But you won’t rank well if you ignore SEO, and some jerk with shoddy content and a basic understanding of SEO will. And we can’t have that, can we?

Go to the following link to learn about SEO..you will not regret it.

http://www.seobook.com/bloggers

8: Code Google Loves

One thing some people who get basic SEO miss is the quality of website code. You can do everything else right, and still lose to other sites because of jumbled, poorly constructed HTML.

You’ll hear time and again that WordPress is the best way to build a site (whether you call it a blog or not), and that it’s extremely SEO friendly. And that’s true (with a few tweaks). But many of the free themes (designs) for WordPress destroy that search-friendly start with sloppy code.

Try the Thesis framework for WordPress. Lots of professional bloggers around use Thesis for their own sites.

9: Design Makes the Site

They say “clothes make the man,” and that’s because human psychology favors and trusts pleasing packaging. The same applies to the way you dress up your content with site design. Don’t be sloppy.

10: Tend Your Tribe

When you become an authority figure online, what you really become is a leader. And leadership involves great responsibility, because it involves great power.

Seth Godin has set the buzzword for online authority with his new book Tribes, and it’s because he smartly taps into that primal psychological need for people to belong and to follow the leader. The question is… what kind of leader will you be?

Remember: Authority is powerful stuff. Authority can be abused and it can definitely corrupt… but it can also build trust, admiration, and respect.

Treat your tribe well, and authority will serve you well.

Friday, September 25, 2009

RETAIL AND SOCIAL MEDIA

More retail merchants are on Facebook and Twitter than they are employing customer reviews and viral videos, according to a survey by The E-tailing Group. The E-tailing Group released the results of its first annual community and social media survey today. Commissioned by customer reviews platform provider PowerReviews, the study is based on a methodology and merchant list proprietary to The E-tailing Group. According to the report, merchants and brands are taking a "more aggressive" approach toward implementing social media strategies, driven largely by the intent to foster greater customer engagement. Surprisingly, however, newer channels like Facebook fan pages and Twitter publishing are being adopted more readily than older, more well-proven tools like customer reviews and viral videos, with community forums and product suggestion boxes coming in at the bottom.

The study surveyed 117 merchants and brands, with company sizes ranging from $20 million in annual revenue or less (29 percent of respondents), to over $1 billion (21 percent). Company types include:

The top social media and community tools adopt today are:

Facebook fan pages (86 percent);

Twitter publishing (65 percent);

customer reviews (55 percent);

blogs (55 percent); and

viral videos (50 percent).

However, when asked which tools lead in terms of generating the greatest increase in sales, respondents ranked customer reviews as the most effective with 78 percent of 100 responses ranking it as number one.
Customer reviews, which by now is considered commonplace for most merchants, is no more than a few years old. However, with some of these things like community forums, they may have been around for a long time but retail hasn't necessarily adopted them." A few years may seem like an eternity given the speedy rise of tools like Twitter, which exploded from just 1.5 million users in 2008 to become the fastest growing Web property in history. The Wall Street Journal reported today that marketing research firm eMarketer raised its 12.1 million estimate to 18 million people who are expected to use Twitter at least once a month.

Despite wide adoption, merchants and brands are still plagued with concerns about social media, the top three of which are:

people can trash my products in front of a large audience;

I am using outdated marketing/merchandising techniques; and

customers might leave my site to find a socially-engaging site.

"People are realizing that if they don't get into [social media], consumers will leave,". Fear will likely dissipate in time. "The more you know, the more your comfort zone comes into play." Retailers have accepted the fact that consumer wants to engage through social media. Now they have to figure out how to make it "part and parcel of the shopping experience," Freedman says. Therefore, companies are struggling to put the right resources and finding the people to manage this side of the business. Nevertheless, merchants and brands taking a more of an aggressive approach toward social media (75 percent of respondents say that brands and manufacturers have become more aggressive in their commitment to social media in the last six months, over the previous six months). We're seeing evidence of social media's value from something as simple as an increasing number of companies including PowerPoint decks in their presentations detailing the number of followers they have on Twitter or fans on Facebook. Despite the fact that retail has historically been such a return on investment driven industry, the top reasons retailers are committed to social media are for:

greater customer engagement;

increasing brand loyalty; and

mobilizing advocates to drive word-of-mouth.

Beyond just the sale, the value of engagement will become so critical and apparent to the company such that, despite current obstacles surrounding immeasurability, "it will no longer be necessary to quantify [it]."

DIRECT MARKETING AND WEBSERTS. DO'S AND DON'TS

What's a Websert?? A websert is a text or graphic link that appears after an online purchase is made. From a direct marketer's perspective, a websert may be considered as a digital version of insert media.

Dos and Don'ts: Webserts
Do: Push for an integrated message across several platforms

If a site owner allows banner ads on a confirmation page and a confirmation e-mail, even though they may be different opportunities and negotiated separately, this can really help increase visibility. Repetition helps response. For example: after ordering from a particular Web site, a person may see an offer on the confirmation page, then in a confirmation e-mail and ultimately see a printed piece in their order package. These touch points are in a defined sequence and can be coordinated to give a third-party advertising partner the best chance for a successful campaign.

Don't: Forget that Webserts are a direct response channel for customer acquisition

One of the worst practices  — particularly with larger ad networks — is that the offers are less than compelling. The offer isn't selling the product, it's just making the viewer aware of the product. This is not a branding venue, it's a direct response venue. If the offer doesn't motivate the prospect to move to the landing page and if that landing page doesn't turn that person into a new customer, a lot of time and opportunity has gone down the drain. We've had a hard time converting offers issued through ad networks because generally they don't move a prospect to make a purchase. They aren't “closing” kinds of offers.

Do: Make it easy for the customer to convert from your ad

Publishers should make it as easy as possible for their customers to take advantage of their partner's offer. If you can negotiate a data pass — an agreement between the consumer and the Websert host through which payment data are transferred to the third party for a purchase — this more expressly endorsed offer will undoubtedly yield higher results. Be sure you are prepared to manage this more sensitive experience appropriately and from end-to-end from a customer satisfaction perspective.

Don't: Leave your customers scratching their head about the initiative

While there are many offers that can be broadly interpreted as relevant to each other, it's important that both the advertiser and the host are comfortable with the relationship. For example, jewelry is a great upsell to apparel, but maybe doesn't work for an online vitamin offer. All parties should also click through each offer to ensure all understand the full transaction process. Are there any upsells? Does everything work as it's supposed to?

Do: Keep it simple

If you start out just thinking of the websert as an online package insert, you take a little of the mystery out of it. You can certainly target a category based on your inserting. You want to be promotional, but you also need a great headline to get a clickthrough. The goal should not only be securing an order, but also collecting an e-mail address. Your creative and your copy are very important. Less is more. So many people look at webserts and they're afraid of them — but a lot of its principles are the same as offline, but you're doing it quicker, cheaper with instantaneous response.

Don't: Limit your testing

This is similar to offline inserting. What you're really looking for here, though, is your click-through rate. Your response rates are going to be determined by your Web site, so you need to get good volume from one program or decent volume in a number of programs to gauge your effectiveness. Make sure your landing page is consistent with the ad. Remember, order confirmations have a 90% open rate, which is even higher than an envelope in a package. It's a 90% chance of someone seeing your ad.

YOUR SUCCESS IS DETERMINED BY ONE THING - "SEARCH"

I know this is going to ruffle some feathers, but right now your marketing initiatives, your social media efforts, your email campaign, your DRTV campaign and more- all of it will rely on one thing in the end. Consider the following scenarios:

You are going to launch a new product. You build a website but how are you going to drive people to the site? How do they find it?
You launch a new product with a new company, that no one has ever heard of before, how will people find out more about you, your company, and your product?
You launch a new social network, how will it grow? How is it found? You start a new blog and you want people to read your kick-ass content? How will they know you’re out there? You join a new social network, how do you meet others?
You launch a new brick and mortar business, how do you drive business? Newspapers? Radio? Magazine? What is a person’s first knee jerk reaction to your advertising?
Your reputation? Where can you find it? How can you find it? Do you know if anybody is talking about you, your company and your product?
Your friends? Your family, How do they find you? Old friends? How do they find you?
You need a new job. How will you get your next one?
I could go on. But I think you get the point. Everything. and I mean everything that you do revolves around…SEARCH


Think about it.

FIVE FACTS ABOUT MARKETING TO WOMEN

58% of women keep the TV on as background noise, finds Glamour.com.

22% of men give lingerie for Valentine's Day, while only 2% of women want to receive it, according to Ipsos.

70% of adult children would prefer their elderly mother move in with them over their elderly father, reports More magazine.

Women change their bra size an average seven times, due to factors such as pregnancy, weight, and birth control methods, throughout their adult lives, finds Women's Health.

Moms are least likely to allow their children to have a snake as a pet (70%), followed by a ferret (13%), iguana (6%), and hamster/gerbil/guinea pig (5%), according to parenting.com.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

FIVE ENTERTAINMENT FACTS

Hope these Marketing Facts that I send you from time to time offer some assistance to whatever it it that you do:

-As many as 114,000 people in North America competed simultaneously in 1 vs. 100, the Endemol-created trivia game show, during its release this summer as an Xbox Live videogame, according to Microsoft.

-DVD sales fell 13.5% to $5.4 billion during the first half of 2009, but disc rentals rose 8.3% to $3.4 billion, while digital sales and rentals increased 21% to $968 million, says DEG: the Digital Entertainment Group.

-Ringtones are headed for their second consecutive year of decline, with IBISWorld predicting a 15% drop from 2008 to $750 million in industry revenue in 2009.

-18-34 year olds listen to an average of 21.5 hours of radio each week, according to Nielsen.

-Internet users have spent most of their time online this year (42%) at "content" sites offering entertainment, news, and information, reports the Publishers Association.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

OZZY OSBOURNE AND PUPPIES STAR IN NEW SAMSUNG AD



Figure I would post this, not because I like the commercial, in fact, I am not really quite sure I do, but it certainly is different and thought it deserves a post on my blog.
Puppies are adorable! Ozzy Osbourne well is Ozzy Osbourne! Together they make for a great expletive bleeped commercial for the new Samsung Rogue. Sadly the commercial does not really tell you what it is, but it has puppies and looks good in Ozzy’s manicured hands.

Check it out...what do you think? Is it the best f#$%$ing thing you have ever seen?

EXAMPLE OF A BRILLIANT AD.

Don't Spend Your Life Cleaning - VIM



I know we have all seen this commercial, but if you are a Marketing/Advertising Geek like me, then you'll see its brilliance.
-2 actors
-one location
-one camera on a dolly
-30 second ad
cheap, cheap, cheap...brilliant message, you know exactly what they are selling!
Wish I was the brains behind this one.

FOUR FACTS ABOUT YOUTH MARKETS

-54% of teens believe they are getting the right amount of exercise, says Scarborough Research.

-60% of 8-14 year olds believe it's easy to maintain good grades in school while playing sports, report SI Kids and C&R Research.

-The largest increase in mobile phone ownership among teens occurs at age 14, according to the Pew Internet & Life Project.

-Fifteen-year-olds are more than twice more likely to have visited a library than museum during the past three months (62% vs. 24%), finds Best Buy

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

COMEDY AND SOCIAL NETWORKING



















Since this Blog is dedicated to Social Networking and Comedy, why not have an article about the two. Makes sense…no?

Life got you a little down? – I got just the cure you need. It is called Constant Comedy, a social comedy site. To think it’s been around since 2007 and I’ve just stumbled across this little gem. It’s exclusively for comedians and comedy lovers.
It’s a great example of people taking advantage of the power of targeted social networking sites to promote their passion…cooking, dancing, acting, sex...wait a minute, did I say the “s” word? Let me back up…...oh well guess I did. Let me take my mind out of the gutter for a minute so I can finnish this log ;).

Constant Comedy describes itself as “a website catering exclusively to comedians and comedy lovers. Whether you are a rookie, a seasoned pro, or just love watching comedy, its goal is to provide you with a stage.

One of the most awesome features of the site is the Constant Comedy Live section. You watch a video live with other users, give it the thumbs up or down, and depending on what the other users do, the performer receives a live rating of good or bad. Hey, it’s better than throwing tomatoes and eggs at a live performance. You can also add comments while watching the act and then finally give it a star rating at the end. Got to be honest some of the videos had me practically wetting my pants with laughter, and if you give it a few minute, it’s worth browsing through the rated videos for a good laugh. Take a 10 minute brake at the office to relieve some stress by going on this site, you’ll be more productive when you get back to work and you’ll have a smile on your face.

Here’s the link again http://www.constantcomedy.com/ try not to laugh too hard!

Monday, September 21, 2009

MARKETING IN A BAD ECONOMY - WHY I DISAGREE WITH WHAT THE EXPERTS ARE TELLING US.


Yes, the economy sucks..we know that and to be quite honest I think most of us are tired of having it rammed down our throat every single day since this B.S. started. When I worked for Rogers Wireless promoting products and services to the Business segment the Powers that be suggested that our campaigns do exactly what the so called "Marketing Elite" are telling us to do. What is that you ask? It's bringing attention to our market niche who is obviously affected by the economic down turn (because no one is immune) and capturing their attention by using statements like, "in these tough economic times, you need to save money more than ever. So have we got a deal for you!", "No time for down time during these tough times", we have what it takes to keep your business moving"….and so it goes.
Frankly if you're like me and that is, "not a marketer in this case" but a consumer, then I am sure you are tired of hearing about this pathetic economy and how big businesses (who are in the business of making money) are telling us they have the solution to save us from this wretched economy.
People aren't that stupid, especially business people who fork out a crap load of money every month to a service provider to keep their business moving. Most of us prefer it more open and more honest. "You got a deal for me? Tell me what it is." "You say it can save me money, how much money?" These are statements most of us want to hear throughout our adult lives. These consistent and honest messages are what's made us a customer all of these years. Don't tie in the pathetic economy, unless you want to ruin my mood....you're not going to bail me out of this economy and the $5 savings I will be getting from purchasing your service is not going to even put a dent in my current financial situation....just give me the facts and skip all the other bullshit. People have a lot of things on their minds these days, the last thing they need is another reminder of how awful things have gotten. It's that simple.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

HOW TO MAKE A VIDEO GO VIRAL


I have been getting a lot of positive responses from friends and strangers about a video I put together regarding a serious issue, the attacks of 9/11 on the twin towers.

You can see the video in one of my earlier posts, you can also view it on youtube just type in 9/11 a story about the twin towers and you'll find it.

That said, I thought to myself, perhaps this is a video I might want to put forth the effort in making it viral. So I had to ask myself, "are there any real “strategic” part of making a video viral these days...first thing I thought was Subject Matter and Conent.
However , many video’s (and posts) do go viral with content that totally weak...dare I say sh*t.

So obviously there is something else to it. So I did some reading, and some secondary research (yes that means I browsed the net;) and here is what I came up with:
Part 1: Content/Subject Matter.

What do you want to say and how can it be said creatively...but like I said, sometimes the Gods surprise us and some of the worst videos go viral.


Part 2: Outreach
Here are some best practice techniques:
1) Multiple names
Try uploading it with different names – use a different headline to make it more appealing for the surfer who goes by the title
2) Get onto the most viewed page
Blogs: reach out to individuals who run relevant blogs – be clear who you are – state what you are doing, tell them about why you are did the video and ask them to post our embedded videos.
Forums: Start new threads and embed your videos. Be clear who you are and start conversations about the subject – sometimes, this means kickstarting the conversations by setting up a new account on each forum. Yes, it’s tedious and time-consuming, but if done well, it can have a tremendous effect.
MySpace: Plenty of users allow you to embed YouTube videos right in the comments section of their MySpace pages. Take advantage of this. As above – remember to be clear who you are
Facebook: Share, share, share. Be part of relevant groups on Facebook and share the video with the entire friends list – this can have a real impact. Other ideas include creating an event that announces the video launch and inviting friends, writing a note and tagging friends, or posting the video on Facebook Video with a link back to the original YouTube video. Needless to say (and I am being repetitive – but don’t spam anyone and be clear who you are).
Email lists: Send the video to an email list – making sure this list knows who you are and are happy to receive mails from you. Depending on the size of the list (and the recipients’ willingness to receive links to YouTube videos), this can be a very effective strategy.
Friends: Make sure everyone we know watches the video and try to get them to email it out to their friends, or at least share it on Facebook. Again, be clear as to who you are when doing this.
3) Thumbnail Optimization
Change the picture – pick the most interesting bit from the video and make this the photo on the thumbnail
4) Comments
Make comments – be clear who you are – do not have comments with yourself.
5) Tagging
Make this video easy to find. Ask yourself what would you type into Google to find this and then ensure these tags are used.


I AM GOING TO PUT ALL OF THE ABOVE TO THE TEST WITH THE VIDEO I MENTIONED AT THE TOP OF THIS ARTICLE....I'LL KEEP YOU POSTED ON MY PROGRESS!!


Recommended reading for other good ways to make a video go viral:
Marketing Pilgrim – How to Make A Blog Post Go Viral with Social Media
Web Ink Now – 8 tips to make your YouTube video go viral
Social Networking – Tips for Viral Success For The Online Social Networker
Technorati Tags: , , , ,

Friday, September 18, 2009

FIVE FACTS TO CONSIDER WHEN MARKETING TO WOMEN

A friend of mine passed these facts along to me about Marketing to Women, thought they were worth posting:

1. The largest number of women say their top makeover choice is to get a new haircut or style (27%), followed by new makeup (26%), new hair color (25%), and new clothes (24%).

2. 84% of men look for wife potential in a girlfriend, says AskMen.com.

3. One in three moms say their college freshman's worst bad habit will most likely be to forget to clean his or her room, while 15% predict their child is likely to blow off studying.

4. 70% of moms believe they should be able to select their child's teacher, finds Parenting.com.

5. 42% of women say they would sleep better if their husband was relegated to the couch for the rest of their married life, says parenting.com.

With respect to point number 5...guess that is why my marriage seems to be working, my wife hoggs our King size bed while me and my dog sleep on the couch regularly. Well, I usually fall asleep alone but wake up to his smelly breath snoring next to me.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

This Weeks Entertainment Fact.

A clip of Kanye West's snub of Taylor Swift at the Sept. 13 MTV Video Music Awards has garnered more than four million views this week at MTV.com, according to the site's counter.
Now that's what I call viral!

9/11 Eight Years Later

The attacks of 9/11 had a huge impact on me and the world at large for that matter. It has been 8 years later and I still feel traumatized by the entire event. New York is my favourite city in the world and a huge majority of my friends are Americans and live right in the big apple. That said, I have a strong opinion on the attacks on 9/11, more so now with the new Obama Administartion..so I would like to use this opportunity to talk a little about it.

There are a few things that have concerned me recently with the new Obama administration. While I agree Obama symbolizes a refreshing change and has given hope for a brighter more prosperous future to all Americans, rumour has it the Al Qaeda does not give a rats ass! Al Qaeda cares so little that is has vowed that the next attacks they have planned will greatly exceed the casualties of 9/11. We know from history that the Al Qaeda are patient, so only God knows when the next attacks will happen, could be today, could be a month from now, 5 years, 10 yrs...Who knows?
Thing is, had the machinery that the Bush administration put in place which kept the nation safe been respected and augmented, I would feel more confident that my friends in the US would be safe, but who can feel confident with Janet Napolitano heading the Department of Homeland Security? Napolitano cannot even bring herself to say the word “terrorist”....perhaps I should say it for her "terrorist! terrorist!, terrorist!. To top it off, the Obama administration has gone as far as expunging the phrase “war on terrorism”. Some of you might think, Tony you're a Canadian...what do you care?? Well I do, and if the greatest city on earth could be attacked "New York" then an attack on a Canadian large city like Toronto would be a cake walk for the Al Qaeda.

I guess my last biggest concern with the Obama administration is that they seem to have lost their focus, instead of capturing or killing terrorists, they seem to be more content on dragging former Vice President, Dick Cheney, and dedicated CIA operatives before the dock to prosecute. It is eight years later and I do not feel one bit safer. Do you?

If you are interested I put together a little story about the Twin Towers and the attacks on 9/11, Here it is, hope you take the time to watch it.



video

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

BUSINESS AND LAUGHTER, WHAT A BEAUTIFUL COMBO


If you make me laugh–odds are I’ll do business with you or if I am lucky I'll work for you. It’s not scientific nor is it intentional but as I look back at the largest business transactions in my career as well as the people I enjoyed working with and for the most they were a result of somehow making someone laugh along the way and vice-versa! There are plenty of successful people that are serious and rigid...Lord knows I have worked for a few in my day, so I figure there’s room enough for someone like me. I guess I’d say my challenge to marketers and sales people everywhere is–if I’m laughing, I’m buying so make me laugh!

I decided to do some secondary research on laughter in business...yes that means I browsed the interenet:), and found a firm that actually hires themselves out as laughter coaches. Heck, I want that gig! Here are some of the results companies that engage in laughter therapy promise. And while I don’t need scientific facts for my conclusion, I liked what I read about their claims for laughter:
Reduces mental and physical stress
Increases energy levels & productivity
Increases emotional intelligence
Improves communication & teamwork
Improves leadership skills
Enhances innovation and peak performance
Stretches muscles, burns calories and serves as a natural energy booster

Let's face it today’s business demands have put a tremendous strain on our global workforce. Longer hours coupled with fewer resources are pushing more and more management and employees to their breaking point. Combined with the need to achieve work-life balance stress is taking a tremendous financial and personal toll on Canadian business profitability:
-employee is paid out for stress-related compensation claims
-workers go on stress-related disability
-most doctor visits are for stress-related conditions
-Eight of the top 10 prescription drugs marketed today are for stress-related conditions
-Stress is directly associated with depression, anxiety, asthma, alcohol/drug addictions and other conditions that affect the nervous and immune systems.

Job stress has become a common and costly problem in Canada and I am sure the US workplace as well, leaving few workers untouched.
So if laughter can prevent some of these illnesses or at the very least reduce stress, why aren’t we laughing more? THAT I don’t know the answer to, but here’s my call to action–let’s start laughing. Every day at noon you put a reminder on your calendar to pop up and say, “remember to laugh.” Then you’ll have permission (and an appointment) to laugh. Or smile or something to change wherever your mind might be to a softer, happier place. If you need someone to make you laugh, heck give me a call (416-357-7974), it would be my pleasure:))
I’m am certainly committed. I am flagging my calendar right now every day for 30 days; the only time I won’t laugh at high noon is when it would be inappropriate (example: the restroom, mass, funeral…you get the idea). If I’m at lunch with a client, at an interview or with a coworker, I promise to laugh. I’ll report the results in a future post, but most importantly I encourage each of you to conduct your own experiment in laughter. It can’t hurt…unless of course you do so much your sides ache.
Bottom line, if laughter is good for your mind and body it has to be good for business. And in these times ANYTHING that’s good for business is, well, good for business!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Social Networks - The Winds of Change

Can social networks change the world? Yes, they can, in the words of Barack Obama's election campaign. That campaign itself provided evidence that the tools of "Web 2.0" - the community-driven web - can really make a difference.

I read online that Tim O'Reilly founder of O'Reilly Media, challenged the Web 2.0 community to come up with something more productive than time-wasting Facebook applications - singling out "Superpoke" (got to agree with him...I hated getting superpoked), which invites users to interact with their friends by throwing imaginary sheep or is it goats at each other (among other things).

After this challenge was issued, the Obama election campaign launched the Obama '08 iPhone application. The application organised and prioritised contacts in key battleground states, "making it easy for campaigners to reach out and make an impact quickly".The application also showed how the user's call statistics compared with the national average - this would make those campaigners feel like they're part of something bigger.

There is certainly one network site that I can think of off hand that would satisfy O'Reilly's challenge. That site is Accesscity, for example, it is a social networking site through which a community of Londoners are helping to identify the simplest routes across the city for those with mobility issues - be it pushing a baby buggy to carrying heavy bags.

'Goodwill points'

At the other end of the spectrum, there is a social network (sorry the name eludes me right now) that has helped people around the world to meet up in 20-strong groups to share thoughts on the leading economic issues of the day. The site provided a counterpoint to the G-20 back in April, when finance ministers and central bank governors from the world's leading economies met in London. This site aims to draw solutions from the community discussion, rather than relying on politicians to lead the way. If anything, it at least gives people a voice.

One social network that deserves a mention and is already beginning to deliver on its aims is Zimride. Zimride is a carpool scheme powered by Google maps, a social network and, according to the Zimride site, a "ride-matching algorithm". Since its inception in 2007, Zimride claims to have enabled some 300,000 users worldwide to carpool who might otherwise never have met. Could be a great way to meet a potential mate as well:) Social media applications like this one might be the way of the future. Facebook users might one day compete to see who can gain the most "global good will points", - working for the greater good, rather than for their own amusement.

Art Sucks….It really does.


Sarah Anne Johnson - The House Fire (Winner of Grange Prize 2008)

It may seem strange to read that an artist thinks art sucks, but there you are. It isn’t because there isn’t anything interesting to be done in art, it’s just that nobody cares if it is interesting.
Instead of interesting, it seems that people want something a bit more pedestrian, and that will be declared by the art gods to be genius-level work.
I finally settled on this point by looking at a big shot art site, seeing who is being proclaimed the latest genius of art. The work I saw there was jarring to me. It was plain, flat and cartoon-like. It was very much like the stuff I was doing when I was ten years old. Close enough that if I sent one of those paintings to the hot professional art web site and said it was done by this guy, I’m quite sure they’d put it on their site as another example of the great man’s genius.
But I’m decades beyond that now, and here this guy is the new genius of art?!? Maybe I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. When I was ten it was “not bad for a kid” and probably if I still painted like when I was ten nobody would care.
So I realized that people are just randomly declared to be some sort of genius. Like another artist who paints red squares. That’s it – that’s the big work of genius. Oh yeah, she calls them things like A Dozen Roses – never mind that they look like the same red squares she called Carnations, it’s GENIUS! I should be grateful for even getting to see her work.

Yeah. Now do you see why I have said that art sucks? That and the fact that art is mostly useless. 99% of art is either bullshit like this or mindless wall candy: Pretty waterfalls and barns with lots of yellow light – bright and shiny and signifying nothing.
That said, I have finally distilled the essence of success in art: Being good or doing something nobody has ever done before will get you exactly nowhere. To be a genius in the art world, you just need to have the brass balls to put a dot on a canvas and call it God Speaks To Abraham or whatever. So now we know the whole secret of modern art is to be an artist with unmitigated gall and completely full of shit. Nothing else. Although a complete lack of ability to produce anything recognizable also helps.. as long as you make sure to give your work some pompous name, that is.
I’ve done the cartoony work of the great genius trumpeted by the art mags, and left it behind long ago. I’ve done impressionism, abstractism and photorealism. I’ve semi-settled on figurative impressionism because it represents the greatest challenge next to doing something original in expressionism and it takes a lot of skill and talent.
If you missed my many discussions on this point, impressionism uses simplified shapes and color fields, to create images that rather clearly are representational. It is unreal realism, and that is what I love about it.
I use impressionism to play with the minds of viewers at the neural level, and to present my personal agenda to reform the direction of civilization. I trust that is not too much to ask. And I still love expressionism and even abstract impressionism for its free flow from the animal, subconscious mind to the canvas. Canvas is canvas, paint is paint, the don’t need to pretend to be otherwise, except perhaps to impress the dull witted.
Either way, the art world isn’t going to care.

If you are interested in great art, visit the following link to see a compilation of my paintints: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kIX3T8xai0k

The 15 Creepiest Vintage Ads Of All Time

What do murder, pedophilia, suicide and a baby tiger have in common? They have all been used to sell stuff in these amazingly disturbing vintage ads!
These are real, untouched advertisements from the good old days. It doesn’t matter if it’s lovely ladies or adorable clowns, somehow these old-time ad wizards found ways to traumatize us while pedaling everyday products.
Enjoy them now, call your therapist later!


15. White Bread Demon
“Bread is swell, but what I’m really excited about is eating jelly made from the blood of the innocent!”


14. French Suicide Sausage
It’s enough to make you want to eat Kosher forever.


13. A Girl Around The House
It’s nice to have a girl around the house… especially if you are a psychopath serial killer who makes women into rugs!


12. Chubby
Who needs self-esteem when you can have a free fashion book for chubbies? Also, proving that advertising weight representation has always been screwed up, the girl pictured is totally not chubby.


11. Christmas Weapons
The family that guns together, has funs together.


10. Eye patch. Shirt. Baby Tiger.
Sexy?


9. Chase & Sandborn Spanking
She totally deserves it. Seriously, what kind of woman doesn’t “store test” for fresher coffee?


8. Fry’s Chocolate Nightmare
Nothing wants to make consumers buy chocolate more than 5 faces of a sickly kid looking 5 different shades of miserable.


7. Root Beer Baby!
Mama, please DO NOT give your baby another glass of Root Beer. It is clearly doing something horrible to him. He is terrifying.


6. Locked Out
You better wash out your privates with Lysol, or your husband will install cartoon locks on the door.


5. Pears Soap Disaster
“Pears Soap- now with such a soothing lather, you won’t notice that your baby has gotten into a horrible accident!”


4. Postage Meter Murder
“Is it always illegal to kill a woman?” This is a truly important question and makes us want to buy a new postage meter.


3. Shave Yourself
The old man baby’s gonna sing karaoke into a razor! Hooray!


2. Baby Soft
JonBenét Ramsey, eat your heart out. (Too soon?) This ad makes us want to scream, gouge out our eyes and then barf.


1. Chocolate Poulain
Drink that cocoa, or this clown will murder you in your sleep.