Monthly Archives: February 2009

Web 2.0 is Friendlier than Web 1.0

I enjoy Web 2.0 sites like Facebook and Twitter because they foster accountability and positive interactions.

Sometime ago, people with cryptic usernames like webspider hid behind anonymity when interacting online.  In the Web 2.0 world, people are claiming their identities (which is a great for other reasons given this trend) and using social media sites in a way that more closely mimics real life interactions.

Fraudulent activity in the Web 1.0 world of shadows has given way to a more trustworthy world in Web 2.0.  This trustworthiness is a double-edged sword, but at the end of the day I find the authentic nature of Web 2.0 to be a much friendlier place to visit. The accountability of real identities ensures friendliness is the norm and mitigates the unsavory activity that Web 1.0 anonymity bred.

SmilePositive interactions are commonplace in Web 2.0.  Visits to Facebook and Twitter are full of affirmation and empathetic sentiments.  Following my friend feed of birthday wishes and affirmative comments help keep me up with all the great things going on in my friends’ lives and puts a smile on my face.  Hooray for Web 2.0!

Winning Brands in Uncertain Times

As a follow up to my last post about the opportunities that abound in our depressed economy, I was thinking about what type of products and brands do well during these times.  In uncertain times, what type of products do you find solace in?

The products and brands that are winners to me are inexpensive and comforting.

Comforting Products & Services

It’s often the simple things in life that make life great.  For me, wireless internet and with a cup of coffee at my local coffee shop, Cafe Driade, or an inexpensive luxury like a 12 minute chair massage at the mall are cost-conscious comforts I enjoy.

pedegg

PedEgg = Simple Luxury

Simple pleasures like a $19.95 Snuggie, a $10 PedEgg, or  a $3 tube of Burts Bees lip gloss are winners.

This downturn is a fantastic time to launch new products and services.  And for companies with existing products, opportunities abound for you as well.  While others are cutting back on development and offerings, you could be offering a simple pleasure to your product or service line that will put a smile on your customer’s face and improve your bottom line.

Opportunity Abounds in Depressed Economy

When looking at problems, I try to ask myself how a problem I’m facing could be an opportunity in disguise.

The economic woes are certainly problematic – the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.  But for those who are brave enough to seize opportunities presented by the crisis may find see these woes the driver behind great things to come.

Opportunity Street

Opportunity Street

If you’ve lost your job, you probably have a lot more free time. So aside from trying to land that next job, what can you do?
Why not start a blog, start a project you’ve been putting off, or start a business?

By seizing the opportunity of starting a business during these depressed times, you will find talented people willing to work for less, government programs geared to facilitate your company’s success, and should eventually find pent-up demand for your services and products right around the time you and your company should be hitting their stride.

But how do you get started?  I’d suggest getting a group of recently laid-off talented people together and seeing if you and your colleagues can find an idea that succeed during the revitalization of America. Infrastructure, green technology, and other types of businesses well suited for these times and are waiting to be started.

You may psuh back saying that you don’t have the resources to start a business and I would say that may be true, but there are ways to run your startup with less money than you think you’ll need.  A group of entrepreneurs in New York recently met to discuss their Ultra Light Startups, start-ups that cost less by utilizing technology and support sustainable revenue models.

Also,take the time to beef up your web presence on social networking and social media sites and start building your social equity on Twitter and LinkedIn or any other appropriate site.  There are countless stories of people landing jobs through those they met through these platforms by sharing their knowledge and building up trust.

Think smartly.  Albert Einstein was a smart guy, and even he thinks there’s an opportunity for you when you face difficulty.  His quote “In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity” is right on target.

Heed Einstein’s advice and discover opportunity in the midst of difficulty and ride it to a successful outcome. The timing couldn’t be better.

Super Bowl XLIII Winners & Losers

Super Bowl Sunday offered a lot of entertainment on the field Sunday night.  The commercials off the field, not so much. If you missed them, you can view them here.

There were a few interesting commercials, but overall the quality and freshness that Super Bowl ads usually provide didn’t add up to the glitz and glamor most of us have come to enjoy.  The packaging of commercials seemed more like a promotion for NBC Television shows and their associated corporate entities.

The Winners:

  • Pedigree – You can’t go wrong with animals, and their Adoption Drive campaign endears me to their brand.
  • Doritos – I love that they ran another contest to give people nationwide the chance to shoot the Super Bowl ad.  Everyone can dream of genie, but not everyone can throw a snow-globe at their boss. With the Wish upon a Snow-globe ad,  crotch humor is alive and kicking.
  • Coca-Cola – Coke’s vivid imagery was engaging and well received by the Super Bowl audience.

On the Fence:

  • Hyundai – The Assurance campaign is winner in the sense it addressed the unemployment fear that is sweeping the nation.  The campaign is a loser in the sense that it doesn’t do much for its brand and it wasn’t unveiled Sunday night as I’ve seen it many times before.
  • Hulu – The counter-intuitive message didn’t make me want to go to Hulu and watch my stories.  Why would you make a case that watching TV is not a good thing when your service is the vehicle to do just that? However,  the Sponsorship of funneling viewers to Hulu in order to watch the Super Bowl Ads was extremely effective.
  • Monster.com & CareerBuilder.com – First the good: Both Monster.com and CareerBuilder.com had funny and relatable ads.  Now the bad: Neither commercial capitalized on what the people afraid of losing their job want to hear: Come here for new and plentiful job openings that will remove you from the unemployment lines.

The Losers:

  • Pepsi Max – There is a lot of buzz around the Pepsi Max campaign, I just don’t think it did anything to make its target audience buy it’s product unless getting beat up makes you thirsty for a diet cola.
  • Gatorade – Since ‘G’ already means so many things to me (think ‘money’ and ‘Warren’) it will never mean Gatorade to me.  The whole ad was more about of a question of what? Who is wasting money on this ad?
  • Sobe – Dancing around like last year’s ad isn’t new or effective way to sell what is otherwise a really good product.

What are your thoughts?  Are there any ads you liked or disliked that deserve mentioning?

Super Bowl Sunday

Super Bowl XLIII

For the 43rd time, two teams will square off in the National Football League’s Super Bowl – which means it’s time for 2-litter Coca-Colas and bowls of Doritos and Planters nuts, Pizza from Dominos, and wings lathered in your favorite sauces! 

While many longstanding Super Bowl advertisers like FedEx have pulled out this year, there still will be plenty to talk about this year.  In particular, it will be interesting to see some of the newcomers that fill the open time.  While Cash4Gold.com may not interest you that much, at least it may provide some much needed humor given the tumultuous times. Plus Hulu, the video service I’ve praised before, has a secretive spot this year. Pedigree is also new to the frey with their Super Bowl ad below:

The obvious choice for the most fruitful campaigns are CareerBuilder.com and Monster.  I’m guessing many people will jump onto these career services websites to scope out jobs with layoffs spreading across the country.

On the football field I’m picking the underdog Arizona Cardinals to prevail over the Pittsburgh Steelers.  Later this week I’ll share my winners and losers from the advertising field.  In the meantime, enjoy the game and happy ad watching!