By Erika Kuzmicz | @Erika_K
The New Orleans Superdome’s 34-minute power outage during one of the most-watched television events in the world was definitely not a good thing… for sports, anyway. Among the many twitter jokes and memes that came from the Super Bowl Blackout, there were also many companies that jumped into action using the opportunity to market their brands and products further.
Below is a list of a few companies that used the disastrous moment in the eyes of sports fans everywhere to their advantage, all via Twitter:
- Walgreens stated in two separate tweets: “@Walgreens: We do carry candles. #SuperBowl” | “@Walgreens: …we also sell lights. #SuperBowl”
- @PBS gave us some quick-thinking advice: “This might be a good time to think about alternative programming. #SuperBowlBlackOut #WeHaveDowntonPBS”
- AMC informed us of what else was on TV: “@WalkingDead_AMC: Just want to point out, there’s a marathon of #TheWalkingDead on right now, too. Soooo…”
- “@Tide:We can’t get your #blackout, but we can get your stains out. #SuperBowl #TidePower”
- @Oreo released a tweet saying: “Power Out? No Problem…You can still dunk in the dark”
Many other brands (as well as fans) weighed in on the blackout and capitalized from the #SuperBowlBlackOut.
Which were your favorites?
By Gwen Fernau
What was your most memorable experience from the summer 2012 Olympics? For many American viewers, it just may have been an #NBCfail. After spending 1.3 billion on the rights to the Olympics, NBC undeniably needed to get their money’s worth from their coverage. But, how they went about doing so brought on intense criticism that left what should have been a triumphant NBC with a bludgeoned public opinion.
It began with the coverage of the opening ceremony. When the taped version from earlier in the day was finally aired in the States, NBC had cut it down, stuffed it full of commercials, and laid a tedious, irritating commentary over the whole thing. The network received specific rebukes for choosing to air an interview with Ryan Seacrest and Michael Phelps in place of a moving tribute to the victims of London’s 7/7 terror attack.
Throughout the games there were, of course, limitless complaints about the tape delay and spoiled outcomes. But you will find little sympathy for that complaint here. Tape delays happen every time the Olympics are in a different time zone, what were you honestly expecting? And to be fair, NBC streamed virtually every single event live online (including the closing ceremoniess - they learned their lesson).
The extent to which the 2012 Olympic games were centered around self-promotion and commercialism was, for this author, a sad sight to see. While an American network focusing on American athletes is understandable, it was taken to a regrettable extreme this time around. NBC’s lackluster responses to the wave of criticism included remarks about tailoring the footage to include things that would actually be interesting to American audiences. No matter what might be said about American’s self-fascination, it cannot be said that we would turn up our noses at a compelling human interest story. And many of the incredible athletes from around the world offered these stories, not just the reassuringly familiar Michael Phelps or women’s beach volleyball duo.
Take the instance of the South Korean fencer Shin A-lam, who was denied her chance to compete for a gold medal because of a controversial decision to include one second of extra time in her match, allowing her opponent the opportunity to score a touch and take her place in the gold medal match. Because of the rules of fencing, Shin A-lam was forced to sit on the piste for almost an hour while her appeal was considered, choking back the tears that were streaming down her face. Her appeal was denied and she lost her bronze medal match later in the day. The Olympic organizers went so far as to offer her a “consolation medal.” She justifiably turned it down, and went on to win a genuine Olympic medal with her team. If that doesn’t make for good television, I don’t know what does.
This year, the staggering power of social media was demonstrated once again, as NBC’s attempts to dumb down the Olympics for American viewers (read: potential marketing audience) backfired spectacularly. There isn’t even room in this post to go into the debacle with the closing ceremonies being cut short for the season premiere of some modern Dr. Doolittle remake (that’s what it’s about right? Whatever). Even without that cherry on the cake, NBC had already dug their grave for millions of viewers. Media critic Jeff Jarvis observed that NBC was trying to “hold on to old media strategies in a new media world.” Good thing NBC can rely on the opinion of every American with an internet connection to provide constructive criticism. Or at least just criticism…
So, what was your Olympic experience? Too much inane Andrea Kremer, or just enough?
By Clio V. Rourke | @cvrourke
Pepsi has launched a simple but effective strategy to gather and engage (young) Twitter followers: Pepsi’s social media campaign “Live for Now Music,” rewards consumers who follow the brand on Twitter and use the hashtag #PepsiMusicNOW in their tweets with free MP3 downloads. Music videos and “pop-up concerts” are also part of the campaign. The “Now” in the campaign is being generated by Twitter. As part of the partnership between Pepsi and Twitter, once a week “Pepsi will analyze the music-related Twitter posts of its American users and will publish a video commentary (also on Twitter) about whatever music people are talking about most,” reports The New York Times. The campaign’s pop-up concerts will be featured on Twitter as well, live-streamed, and Pepsi’s followers will be able to request songs through tweeting. “Live for Now Music” is part of Pepsi’s global ad campaign “Live for Now,” which launched earlier this month. “Live for Now Music” obviously aims at reaching younger consumers, whose brand loyalty is precious for soft drinks.
By Erika Kuzmicz | @erika_k
Yesterday, Twitter saw an influx of President Barack Obama mentions after his historic declaration, “I think same sex couples should be able to get married,” in an interview with ABC’s Robin Roberts. Nationally trending topics for the day included “Same-Sex Marriage Should,” “Mr. President,” “ABC’s Robin Roberts,” #MarriageEquality and “Log Cabin Republicans,” among others.
According to Topsy Labs, a social data company, Obama’s Twitter sentiment was in the negatives as of Wednesday morning. After his announcement of support for same-sex marriage around noon, the president’s sentiment sky-rocketed to an 8 on the Topsy scale (normally a 3 on the scale is seen as a very positive score).
The below tweet by President Obama’s twitter account was retweeted more than 30,000 times just Wednesday afternoon alone and is now up to almost 60,000 retweets. “Obama,” was mentioned a total of 192,433 times in the hour (12 p.m. – 1 p.m.) following the interview yesterday.
So how does this compare to other political events that were largely responded to on social media, such as Twitter? The 2008 Presidential Elections drew in a total of 1.8 million tweets on Election Day and for Obama’s 2012 State of the Union address, there were 800,000 tweets sent out. During President Obama’s speech regarding Osama bin Laden’s death, 306,000 tweets per minute, adding up to over 5,100 tweets per second.
With more people talking about the social issues of our country, such as the legalization of same-sex marriage, rather than the economic, it is clear that this is what the people want to hear from their leaders. With the increasing amount of political action being discussed right on our social media platforms, it’s hard not to wonder if it will dictate the direction of the 2012 Presidential Elections campaigns.
By Elaina Robinson
Beyond the waters of the Boston Harbor lies a great big world waiting to be explored. With all the communication tools and social media channels available to us today, it is easier to always be connected. This ability to connect allows us to gain a deeper understanding of, and relate to people of all cultures in a different way – across the world and around the globe. Social media is bringing together real opinions from real people – displayed in the real world. These types of experiences are likely to continue to increase as we become more globally “social.”
This week Castle principal Sandy Lish is in Cape Town for the Public Relations Global Network (PRGN) annual meeting, where Agency owners from 42 worldwide organizations come together to share – best practices, ideas, tools of the trade, insight into a different culture, market knowledge, economy, business opportunity, etc. that help us connect our Clients and friends wherever they need to be around the world. During the meeting, many of these topics are shared through social media – twitter, blogging, Facebook, etc., making our network an important driver of international social connection.
How are we different? How are we similar? We thought this would be a perfect time to look beyond our shores for ideas and inspiration. We will explore everything from pop culture, superstitions and politics to travel and television in the US and abroad.
If you have yet to connect globally, it’s time. Grab your “social” passports and read on.
We can’t talk about all things international with out mentioning social media. From Twitter to Pinterest and Foursquare – it is clear that social media is quickly dominating the way we interact across the globe. Tweets and posts seem to appear on feeds faster than it takes a crew member to punch a ticket on the train.
Did the audience really like that rendition of What a Wonderful World? Who thought that dance was a little sloppy? Thanks to social media on competition shows worldwide we don’t have to wait for the answer. Tune into The Voice any Monday and find #TheVoice hashtag staring back at you encouraging conversation. A live Twitter news ticker that runs across the bottom of the screen offers a more personal interaction. If that weren’t enough, the show even features its very own “social media room,” where Twitter trends are discussed and hashed out (no pun intended).
Across the pond, Britain’s Got Talent, employs similar techniques of cutting-edge social engagement. The show’s iPhone and Android app allows users to access exclusive back stage footage, browse never before seen photos, read the shows latest stories and share opinions and ratings. The app also allows fans to participate in the spin off show, Britain’s Got More Talent.
In Australia, social media is surreptitiously taking the country’s performing arts scene by storm. From backstage status updates to a sultry Cha-cha-cha, performers and viewers are interacting on a more personal level than ever before. The annual Sydney Festival has attracted a record number of Twitter followers, who can’t wait to discuss their favorite performances and give their recommendations. The contestants in Dancing with the Stars, Australia use their Twitter presence to connect directly with their fans, thereby hoping to gain more votes.
Next to Simon Cowell, there is no other person or thing that has more influence on the worldwide reality competition circuit than Twitter. Forget the judges, from now on winners will most likely be decided by the court of social media opinion.
By Clio V. Rourke | @cvrourke
When “Bully” opened nationwide last Friday, the movie’s initial R-rating had been changed to a PG-13 rating. The R-rating, which the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) had defended with the movie’s strong language, had been widely criticized for keeping Bully’s target audience, middle and high schoolers, from seeing it in the theater. That the MPAA eventually agreed to change the movie’s rating, after having denied a first appeal, is the result of a passionate social media campaign by filmmaker Lee Hirsch. Here is how Hirsch and his team achieved their goal:
To create a successful campaign, Senior Vice President of Marketing Bladimiar Norman at The Weinstein Company spent hours on researching the bullying phenomenon. According to Norman’s interview with Mashable, he “quickly realized the alarming level of bullying that occurs every second, every minute and every hour in our schools.”
Because bullying affects such a great number of students, Norman new that in order to turn #BullyMovie into a trending topic on Twitter, he had to base his campaign on the movie’s message that “13 million kids in America will be bullied this year, and 3 million of those kids will be absent from school due to the bullying they endure.” For the social media campaign “Anti-Bullying Twitter Tuesday,” Norman therefore created a call to action in form of the tweet, “RETWEET PLEASE Did u know 13 million kids get bullied every year? I support @BullyMovie. Let’s make it a trend: #BullieMovie.”
In addition to asking especially teenagers to support the campaign, The Weinstein Company reached out to celebrities asking for retweets, thereby creating even greater awareness for the issue of bullying through celebrity endorsement of the campaign. Among others, Ellen DeGeneres, Anderson Cooper and Kim Kardashian showed their support.
Katy Butler, 17 and former bullying victim, saw the potential of Bully to instigate social change when she watched the trailer. To make the movie accessible to younger students, she had started the campaign Change.org when she learned about the Twitter Tuesday campaign. Butler began to support the campaign with her Change.com petitioners, nearly 500,000 at the time, creating additional impact.
At this point, The Weinstein Company sent Bully to the MPAA for another rating round. Thanks to the massive support created through Twitter, Bully finally was rated PG-13.
As Hirsch told Mashable, “It was not just about beating the MPAA — it started the conversation about bullying and gave people a way to talk about it.”
By Nicole Gandia, The Belles of Beantown | @ngandia
Remember the old adage “It’s not about what you know but who you know”? Well, if you live in Boston, haven’t mastered the “who you know” part and agree with Paul Graham’s well-written article on cities and what drives their ambition, then you can find comfort in Boston’s high valuation of the “what you know” too. Either way, if you are in the market to build your “what” or your “who”, then Boston is the ideal city for you. With one of the highest conglomerates of universities and students, many thriving businesses and a myriad of professional development organizations that span across multiple industries, Boston has – at its fingertips – ample resources and opportunities for professionals (and especially young ones) to build their business acumen, grow their network, build lasting relationships and stand out.
Here are the 3 tips you should pay attention to in order to stay connected to your current network and to expand it in Beantown:
(1) Become Involved with Your Alumni Network: If you went to school in Massachusetts, tap into your school’s network, and if you didn’t, look for your school’s local alumni chapter. Get involved in an alumni organization (there are so many positions waiting to be filled!), start one and recruit your friends to help, become a mentor for current students, join your school’s social media networks or simply attend an event and reconnect with your classmates. Your return will depend on how much you invest! If you do, trust that great opportunities will come your way.
(2) Engage with Social Networks: Boston loves its social media. Use local networks to your full advantage. Build a rapport with likeminded professionals online, tweet/post about what you’re doing or are interested in – chances are somebody will be interested and will want to connect.
LinkedIn: Join a group on LinkedIn, participate in discussions and don’t be afraid to reach out to someone you want to build a closer relationship with. For instance, join the Boston Networking Club on LinkedIn and start to connect with professionals on the same wave length.
Twitter: Create a strong Twitter headline about yourself and your interests, tweet about what you are doing, follow those who interest you and above all – engage. This will help you keep track of what’s going on in your field, what you want to learn, who you want to interact with and where you can do this. One resource you can use it Twtvite, which can help you find Boston tweet-ups based on trending events. The people you meet there will also be business-minded connectors interested in growing their network(s) and helping others do the same.
Facebook: Use it to stay in touch with friends and let them know what you are up to. Relationships are always evolving and it’s good to stay on top of what your existing network is doing and how you could help or partner with them.
(3) Attend a Networking/Educational Event and Join an Organization: In spite of the large role social media can play in growing your network, face-to-face interactions are still crucial and Boston has networking events for everyone. Below are a few of the best Boston networking resources. These can help you find the right professional organization(s) for you to network and/or become a member of as well as educational events to fit your particular needs. For a more extensive list of resources, visit this website.
Networking is about developing symbiotic relationships built on trust – and beyond that, it’s about leadership and career development. I hope that after reading this post you start to get out there to get your “what’s” and your “who’s” on! GOOD LUCK!
Castle team networking at a Meeting Professionals International Event
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By Clio V. Rourke | @cvrourke
Madonna has never been one to let a major trend pass her by; instead, she takes it a step further and turns it into a creation of her own. For the promotion of her new album “MDNA” (#MDNA), released this Monday, Madonna naturally turned to Twitter and Facebook — and only to Twitter and Facebook! Comedian and talk show-host Jimmy Fallon was the lucky, only one who got to interview Madonna on the occasion of the launch. The interview was being streamed live — only on Madonna’s Facebook page. Only users who “liked” the page were able see the interview, and only fans who joined the “special Facebook event” could submit questions for the “special Facebook Q&A.” Once they were “in,” they could post their questions on the event’s wall. To save her fans precious time, Madonna was kind enough to post a link to “MDNA” on iTunes, where everyone can download the album (not for free, though). The Facebook interview was followed by a less exclusive but live Twitter chat via the account @MadonnaMDNAday. Nonetheless, the chat was “one-day only.” Questions for Madonna could (only) be submitted using the hashtag #askmadonna. “Madonna is launching her new album on Facebook because it allows for effective word-of-mouth on a massive scale,” Justin Osofsky, Facebook’s director of platform partnerships told the Wall Street Journal. The “social only” strategy is the first of its kind, which creates additional buzz. And considering that Madonna “only” has 8 million Facebook fans, plus 12,061 followers for @MadonnaMDNAday 8 hours prior to the chat, “social only” doesn’t seem too risky.
By Clio V. Rourke
Coupons are so yesterday. At least for American Express card owners, who can now load savings directly to their card by syncing it with Twitter. Instead of downloading or even printing and cutting out coupons, American Express Tweeps receive discounts for using special-offer hashtags. Offers are already available from a number of retailers, like Best Buy, Virgin America and Zappos.com (you can view current offers on the Favorites list on the American Express Twitter profile).
The biggest risk for the American Express Twitter campaign is that followers might get annoyed by too many promotional hashtags in their feeds. “Peanuts” for Mars, whose Snickers UK Twitter campaign was reported to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) by British consumer groups for being deceptive. The campaign had the same concept as the Snickers Super Bowl commercial “Logging:” Participating celebrities sent four uncharacteristic tweets, followed by a fifth tweet explaining “You’re not you when you’re hungry @snickersUK #hungry #spon.” The problem: the first four tweets “were not marked as ads in any way.” ASA ruled that, since all tweets were part of a series, #spon (for “sponsored”) was enough, but @snickersUK never made it past the under 1,000 followers it had before the campaign (995 to date).
So what’s the lesson here? Hashtag marketing is coming, but appears to still be in it’s trial and error stage (see the cautionary Twitter tales created by McDonald’s or Qantas). Even a good idea can backfire. Before you launch a campaign, research, research, research. And don’t brainstorm hungry.
By Stacy Wilbur
A couple of months ago, I was having dinner with two friends and they were discussing this new social media platform – Pinterest – and were encouraging me to join. My friends were very quick to pull out their phones, and show me all the things they had “pinned” over the past couple of days. In a mere 5 minutes, I learned how to make the perfect grilled cheese in conventional toaster oven, received a recipe to make delicious brownies, and found new ways to organize my closet! While I found this all very helpful, I said the last thing I need is to worry about another social media platform.
I finally gave in to the Pinterest craze two weeks ago, and decide to create an account. I was lucky to get an invite from one of my friends, and begun to explore the site. While I have not been “pinning” as much as others, I do find it interesting and fun to search through the site. I have found some great recipes and ideas for my home, but who knows if I will take any of my “pins” and utilize them.
Lastly, the pr person in me was very curious if this is a platform avenue should suggest to my clients. I recently came across data compiled by RJMetrics on Pinterest; here are some of their findings:
Pinterest is retaining and engaging users as much as 2-3x as efficiently as Twitter was at a similar time in its history.
Pins link to a tremendously large universe of sites. Etsy is the most popular source of pin content, but it only represents about 3% of pins.
Over 80% of pins are re-pins, demonstrating the tremendous virulence at work in the Pinterest community. To contrast, a study done at a similar time in Twitter’s history showed that only about 1.4% of tweets were retweets.
The quality of the average new user (as defined by their level of engagement and likelihood to remain active) is high but declining. Users who have joined in recent months are 2-3x less active during their first month than the users that came before them.
In conclusion – I say pin and have your clients pin. This social media platform is not going anywhere and is only going to get bigger!