For these past few months I've been what I would call the hardest working not working person out there.  I've posted a little over 50 insights, ideas, and opinions on Buff's Blog, well over 30 commercials on The Daily Interest, a slew of Content & Copy on Posterous, and read more than I can even imagine on advertising, social media, marketing, and web 2.0.  I've put all this work in to build my personal brand, to define myself online, and to network myself into a group of people within the industry I wish to enter into.  I've always said, a resume can only say so much about a person, and in my case, it doesn't say a whole lot.

The problem you run into in today's world of 24/7 news feeds, is the fact that a lot of messages get lost.  Sure I receive on average, 60-70 hits a day, but I've always envisioned it reaching a much larger audience.  The other problem you run into in today's digital world is the addiction that comes from having information constantly updated throughout the day.  It's become hard for people to let go of thier laptops and their cellphones.  Use me for an example.  I always want to be on Twitter, Facebook, and Blogspot seeing what people are doing, writing about, and posting links to.  It's a healthy obsession, but an obsession nonetheless.

In an attempt to restructure and reorganize my social media behavior, I have decided to try out a few new applications.  Hootsuite is the first.  On Twitter, I post everywhere from 20 to 30 tweets a day.  While this only takes about 20 minutes to do, the research behind some of the tweets can take hours.  Don't get me wrong, I think I am posting some of the most entertaining, interesting, educational, and relevant stuff out there, but I'm not sure who exactly is receiving it.  Hootsuite is an application that allows you to schedule your tweets.  Rather than post 20-30 up-to-the-minute tweets, I've decided to use Hootsuite to schedule 8-10 tweets a day.  It will allow me more time to gather information, sift through the relevant stuff, and will give my followers more of an opportunity to read my posts.  More or less, I've decided to rebroadcast and reinforce, rather than to be the first one to break news.  

As a writer and blogger you begin to get yourself into a bind.  You spend so much time writing an article, only to have it pushed to the back of your blog when you post something new.  I think the blogger dilemma can best be exemplified in the context of a band releasing music.  Ludo, one of the best bands out of STL, worked hard touring and releasing independent records in the Midwest for about 5 years.  They built a loyal following in this region over those 5 years, but it was their major label debut "You're Awful, I Love You,"  that truly put them on the map.   After two years of touring on that album, they decided to re-release their previous two albums because all of their new fans had never heard the music that got it all started.  That's kind of where I'm at in terms of my twitter and my blog.  I'm very proud of what I've posted and what I've written, but at the same time, it's hard to accept that there's probably only 10 people, my mom, dad, and girlfriend included, who've read them.

Anyways, just a little rant.  My spirit's are actually at an all time high right now.  I've got some great career opportunities on the horizon and all of them involve writing, social media, marketing, branding, and almost everything I'm looking for in a job. 

My twitter might be a little slow while I get things organized, but I'd love for you to check it out.  You can follow me at www.twitter.com/mbuffa.
We've seen a lot of innovation over the last 5 years in terms of marketing, branding, advertising, and the like.  An announcement today has just added more proof to the pudding that the advertising industry, despite decline in revenues, isn't going anywhere any time soon.  A new agency has just emerged out of Colorado calling themselves Victors & Spoils.  How have they differentiated themselves in an already crowded agency environment?  They've created the first, to my knowledge and theirs, creative agency based on the principles of crowd-sourcing.

What is crowd-sourcing you might be asking yourself?  The best way to put it is "distributed problem solving."  For example, if a company wants to design a logo, they can post a contest online asking people for their biggest and brightest ideas.  When I was in college, my business law professor was starting his own LLC dealing with restaurants.  He gave the class an optional assignment for bonus points to design a letterhead and logo for his business.  That right there is crowd-sourcing.  
A lot of agencies have been experimenting with crowd-sourcing lately.  Looking at the benefits, it's not hard to see why.  It's essentially one of the most cost-effective marketing solutions.  It can tap into a wide array of talent with almost no strings attached and can communicate a brand across an entire online community.  Sure, it can take jobs away from creatives, but I guess that is more or less the nature of the beast.  

So what is Victors and Spoils doing to change the game?

They have created an advertising agency, a digital platform, and an online community for brands to interact with creatives.  They've brought to light the idea of the virtual creative brief.  Clients post a brief on their platform, and designers can compete for the brief by designing creative around it.  We're eliminating a lot of steps here folks.  It is scary, that's for sure, but it's also very smart.  If you think about the traditional agency, you have account coordinators who gather information, account planners who research, account executives who meet with clients, designers who make logos, and copywriters who make messages.  With Victors and Spoils you have a client, an agent, and an opportunity for thousands of creatives who not only know design, but also know copy.  

Their first brief since starting the company has been to have users design a logo for their company.  In this case, they are offering cash incentives for the top five designs.  In the future, the incentives could be almost anything.  

In a time when innovation and communication is key, I think Victors and Spoils is really going to make a name for themselves.  It also helps that the company is comprised of two CP + B veterans who bring a lot of credibility to the name.  As a recent graduate and young mind in the industry, this rapid change in the landscape of advertising can be a little scary, but I have to admit, it makes the industry as a whole look a lot more entertaining, interesting, and inspiring:  three things most ad men can't live without.

Comments and opinions always welcome.  I like this idea, but maybe I'm just running with the wrong crowd.

Find out more at the company's website
Victors and Spoils
All this debate about healthcare has me sick.  Not literally thank god, but it's getting pretty old.  Taking to my traditional stance of staying out of political debate, I've decided to take my interest in healthcare down a different avenue: The future of healthcare being social.  

I found an awesome presentation on the future of healthcare and all of the technological advancements surrounding it on a site called Fast Company.  It's a centralized website consisting of bloggers from all over the country writing articles on the advancement of design and technology.  The presentation on healthcare is what truly got me.

I've always been a big thinker, but more often than not, my thoughts are not within the realms of medicine.  My eyes are now opened though, and I'm ready to share my discovery with you.  Below I'll highlight some of the ideas presented on the future of healthcare.  These are big ideas that might not happen for a while, but it's a great conversation topic for those of us not quite ready to jump into the politics of it all.  

Too Busy To Be Healthy
In the near future, we may be seeing a rise in medical professionals.  We might even see the introduction of "family health managers" whose responsibilities will be to work closely with doctors and physicians to manage and maintain health records for families.  Sounds basic right?  Well, this is the future we're talking about.

These managers will be in charge of sending records to patients via social networks, mobile devices, and staying up to date with family healthcare on an almost 24/7 basis.  For example, in this photo below, two days after a leg scan for a sore knee, Susan receives a text message letting her know which stretches she needs to do and provides links with videos that will show her the stretches.  No phone calls, no emails, and an automatic solution to medical problems.

Networked Devices | Healthier Communities
Through connected network devices, individuals will be in constant connection with family, pharmacists, healthcare providers, friends, and any individual who needs to be in-the-know on healthcare issues.  For example, in the picture below, Joey is sick and with the click of a button, the mother's work, Joey's teacher, dad, the doctor, and the pharmacist can all know of his illness.
Devices That Gather Data For Us
Rather than attend routine checkups, we will wear a monitor during activity and weigh ourselves on a scale weekly.  The information gathered will be digitally entered into our healthcare database and can be viewed at any time by our doctors, our physicians, our healthcare manager, or us as individuals.  Any imperfections or abnormalities will automatically be detected as to prevent concerning issues.
Improving Healthcare Dynamics
As you'll see in the picture below, there are certain healthcare dynamics that can be improved upon.  For example, if you wake up sick, why should you immediately have to call the doctor.  Instead, pull out your at-home strep test, swab your tongue, and follow the directions from there.  It would save time for those who don't have a serious sickness, and provide guidance for those who do.
Making Sense of the Numbers | Learning Over Time
Imagine having a mirror in your house that determined all of your vital signs just from standing in front of it.  Risk of melanoma?  The mirror will monitor your skin condition and report results to the healthcare manager.  Not a day will go by with something unnoticed.  If the risk of melanoma goes away, you can take that off of your records and the mirror will no longer monitor it.  Overweight or obese?  Stand in front of the mirror and it will measure your body fat percentage and monitor it day to day.  The healthcare manager will be alerted if anything becomes concerning.  The list goes on and on.
Finding Meaning & Strength Through Social Groups
Swapping healthcare stories between friends and families can now be done in real time.  Charts and diagnostics can be shared amongst whomever you'd like to share.  People with certain ailments can be connected via private social networks.  There will be an "openness philosophy" that states, "When patients share real-world data, collaboration on a global scale becomes possible.  We have much to gain from information and from each other.  In the example below, Sharon is not only getting satisfaction in sharing her story with others, but she is also learning by comparing her statistics with other people of the same diagnosis.  For example, if she is diabetic, she can log into a social network of others just like her who post recipes, articles on the disease, and provide insight on how they live their lives to the fullest despite the condition.
Monitoring Leads To Changing
This is the one technology that is already being tapped into today.  Group exercise through social technology.  Imagine you're diagnosed with a heart condition.  You must begin exercising if you want to get back to a normal state.  You can be recommended a virtual workout partner with the same condition who can help you stay on track with exercising.  In the picture below you can see two partners running virtually with one another.  They can then go home, track their stats, and communicate with one another via an online network.  All of this information can then be sent directly to the healthcare professionals to monitor any positive or negative health changes.  This can already be seen with the Nike + performance chip that can be placed in shoes.  A great idea to keep individuals motivated backed by a virtual  community devoted to exercise.
I'm not getting involved with the Healthcare debate.  It's just not my interest.  What I am interested in is the future of healthcare and the social technologies being built to support it.  These ideas I've shared with you today are just the beginning.  It's going to take years to invent and implement these technologies, but it should prove to be well worth the wait.  

I hope this was as interesting to you as it is to me.  I don't visit the doctor enough to know the ins and outs, but I can imagine the possibilities for those who do.  As usual, I'm always open to comments, questions, ideas, and opinions.   I think this is brilliant stuff, but I might need my head examined. 

Original Article by
Jennifer Kilian
Creative Director, frog design
Barbara Pantuso 
Director of Health Care Innovation, frog design

Future of Health Care Is Social PDF

Moms are taking over Facebook. Have you realized this yet?  Everyone I tell that to is stunned.  Heck, I even think it’s weird that my mom is on Facebook.  Fact of the matter is, they are the largest growing population on the platform.  Look at a quick stat here from a 2009 study done at iStrategyLabs.  ”Facebook’s 35-54 year old demographic segment not only continued to grow the fastest, but it accelerated to a 276.4% growth rate over the past 6 months. That demo is DOUBLING roughly every two months.”  Scary huh?

To top this off, I just recently came across a Whitepaper put together by Mr. Youth and Repnation, two leading market research companies out of New York.  The title of the piece read “Why Millennial Moms Are the Most Connected & Technology Dependent Population.”  It briefly explains some of the psychological reasons behind why this segment of middle-aged females is growing so rapidly.

The four main reasons they came up with for Millennial Mom’s to be on Social Networks are as follows:

1.  They’re multi-tech, multi-taskers: Allows them to streamline busy lives and enables them to do more in less time.

2.  They build communities to ease tension: Online communities provide support and information through different life stages.

3.  They crowdsource decisions: Peers are sought out to for advice over experts and celebrity endorsements.

4.  They’re masters of the overshare: Curtains are peeled back and information is made more public.

In the study, it was found that 65% percent of moms utilize four or more technologies per day including blogs, videos, and cellphones and the same percent use online photo albums over traditional ones.  They are quickly realizing that in order to stay connected, one must move past traditional means of mail and telephone and embrace emerging media platforms.  They also, unlike their male counterparts, want to stay connected all the time, especially with family members and friends of the family.

Moms often live in what technologists refer to as a virtual village.They don’t want to read books, they want to refer to friends and family.  I notice this with my own mom as well.  The study found that 49% of women read blogs and participate in social network discussions about parenting.  More and more blogs and sites relating to this are popping up because of the increase in interest.  I even follow a blog called “Two Mims” profiling different “Mom’s In Marketing” and how they manage their personal and corporate lives.

It more or less comes down to the fact that moms realize they have access to millions of other moms and they are just a click away.  They trust and respect the opinions of other moms over that of a marketer, a man, or a college student.  Advice from a friend, a coworker, or another mother tend to be “highly influential” in the decision-making process and this advice is often found throughout blogs and social networks.

Lastly, moms love to talk. They are “the masters of overshare.” They no longer have bumper stickers that say “my son is an honor student,” they have Facebook status’s and tweets proclaiming it.  They share photos, keep journals, and fill everyone in on the lives of their children and grandchildren because that’s what they care about.  They don’t live much for themselves, rather the happiness they get out of the lives of friends and family.

What does this mean for marketers?  Well it means a few things need to change:

Platforms need to be built that allow moms to interact and engage with one another.

Conversations need to be started with this demographic, not campaigns directed at them.

Provide honesty and action over entertainment.

This is the future of social media as we know it.  College kids and millennial moms.  Two different target markets, same media platform.

Are we ready for the madness?

I was having a conversation the other day with a man who was having trouble sleeping.  After staying overnight at multiple research facilities, having about every test done you could imagine, he said his problem still persists, although now he has a much more throrough understanding of why.  He briefly explained to the me the different levels of sleep and how each relates to the brain cycle.  His brain was stuck in the first three stages, also known as Short wave sleep (SWS) when a deep sleep isn't reached until the sixth stage, known as Rapid eye movement (REM).

I guess the marketing part of my brain started to kick in during this conversation and I immediately decided to write down some notes on this topic.  I thought, market strategy is all about different stages, can I apply them to this?  With a little stretching, and a few plays on words, I decided, this most definitely applies to the industry.  

In a conversation on sleep, SWS can be used to describe short wave sleep, but when we're talking advertising, let's talk "Safe Work Solutions."  I always read articles about brands taking the safe way out.  I even wrote a blog on the idea that the client, more often than not, gets in the way of a good idea.  My proposal is that the client, in his/her best interest, in an attempt to get the best possible outcome available, needs to strive for REM, or in this discussion, Realizing Emerging Media.  

What do I mean?  Well, I'll give you a brief example.  About a month ago I met with an entrepreneur who had just started a real estate company.  The company has a website, a wonderful location, and a team of agents ready to storm the St. Louis area.  What were they missing?  Word of mouth, publicity, buzz.  Safe Work Solutions (SWS) were used in the form direct mail pieces, press releases, and a newsletter, but the full spectrum of affordable and necessary advertising hadn't been realized.  A month later, what has happened?  The company has successfully Realized Emerging Media (REM).  

The company posts listings on Twitter, Facebook, has a Linkedin profile promoting network connections, has a blog posting relative creative content, and professional pieces of editorial profiling the experience of the real estate agents and venture capitalists.   They've moved past the first stages in the marketing process and have made significant steps towards REM. 

What happens after REM?  The perfect strategy.  The point where traditional, unconventional, and new emerging media come together to create a relevant, cohesive, deliverable market strategy.  Just like we all strive for the perfect sleep, business should strive for this perfect strategy.  

I think I've got a decent analogy here that all of us sleep lovers and sleep deprivers can relate to.   Do I see the light or do I just have sleep in my eye.  You be the judge.  Comments are always welcome.
Today marks the end of a wonderful ride.  I just celebrated what some may call my "golden birthday," the day when your age coincides with your day of birth.  Well for me, I turned 23 on October 23rd.  An amazing weekend was had by all.  My girlfriend did what girlfriends do best and planned a surprise party for me.  My best friends showed up to have a couple drinks and it turned out to be one of the most fun nights I've had since living in St. Louis.  

Something about the traditional birthday has changed though.  It's a lot less personal than its ever been, but it's also a lot more fun.  Why?  Facebook, that's why.

The birthday has always been regarded as one of the most looked forwarded to days of the year.  I guess this changes a little bit as you get older and birthdays start to become more of a feared event than a welcomed one, but nonetheless, it has always been a special day.   It's a day when everyone feels like a king or a queen, the most important person on earth, and someone who deserves all the attention.  Social media has allowed us to tap into this feeling and get a lot more out of it than we ever have before.

What am I talking about?  I'm talking about the number of people who now know when your birthday is.  There was a time 5 years ago where I could count on my hand the number of people's birthdays I knew.  Now I have a rolodex of about 300.  Not only that, but we're alerted every day, sometimes weeks in advance about the next person in line to celebrate.

Talk about a confidence boost, and I'm sure most of you can relate, here's more or less what my Facebook looked like pre and post birthday.

October 22, 10:00 PM:  Six People Have Written on Your Wall
October 23, 9:00 AM:  Twenty-Four People Have Written on Your Wall
October 23, 2:00 PM:  Forty-four People Have Written on Your Wall
October 23, 11:15 PM:  Thirty-Nine People Have Written on Your Wall
October 24, 10: 00 AM:  Nineteen People Have Written on Your Wall

Needless to say, I, as I'm sure many of you can relate, felt like a million bucks. 

A lot of individuals negatively associate Facebook and birthdays.  The most typical argument I hear, and one I'm guilty of using myself, is the argument that Facebook takes the intimacy out of the birthday.  It allows anyone: friend, family, foe, enemy, acquaintance, oddball, stalker, or total stranger equal playing ground.  

After this past weekend, I tend to not use that argument anymore.  Sure, some of my best friends called me, some texted, and some wrote on my wall, but I say, it doesn't matter the medium, it's the message that matters, and I appreciate any and all comments I received.  

I'm turning over a new leaf.  Too many times have I neglected the opportunity to give a shout on a birthday.  Do I think birthdays are huge deals?  Not at all.  Do I think people really care if I write on their walls on their birthdays?  Not one bit.  But I do know that on a birthday, people should feel like a million bucks, like they are on top of the world, and like they really do matter.  A lot of the time, all it takes is two simple words, 24 characters, and the click of a mouse, "Happy Birthday."  

Many thanks from everyone who made me feel special on my day.  I hope that when your day comes, you'll pop open Facebook and feel exactly what I'm talking about.

Here's to another year.
So a new game has emerged online called Foursquare.  Well, it's not really new and it's not really a game, but nonetheless, it's here and it's creating quite the buzz around the internet amongst addicts like myself.  What is it?  Look no further than the developers description:

"Think: 50% friend-finder, 30% social cityguide, 20% nightlife game. We wanted to build something that not only helps you keep up with your friends, but exposes you to new things in and challenges you to explore cities in different ways."

Alright, time to do some translating.  Foursquare is a social media platform that uses your mobile phone as a human GPS device.  You check in at various locations around St. Louis, and earn points with each checkin.  It not only tells your friends where you are, but allows you to compete against them to become the "king of the streets."

For some of you, this might be a tough sell.  But I've come prepared with examples.  Everyday, I go to Club Fitness off Manchester Rd.  Each time I go, I check in on foursquare through my iPhone.  This tells everyone where I am at and gives me a point for leaving the house.  Later on, I may go to Starbucks or Bread Co off Brentwood.  When I check in there, I get more points for hitting another location, and it once again tells my friends where I'm at.

What's the point of this?  Well, there's multiple theories.  For starters, this is an application that allows your friends to know where you are at all times.  It also rewards you for getting up and getting out of the house.  What else?  It allows you a greater opportunity to get out and explore the area you live.

Deep down, foursquare isn't about telling people where you are.  That's one of the perks, but it's not the main point.  Another component to foursquare is adding venues and writing your own "tips."  For example, I added Plaza Frontenac Cinema as a venue and gave the tip, "Head to Plaza Frontenac Theater, grab a glass of wine, and enjoy a limited release film with your girlfriend."  This is then forwarded to everyone in the St. Louis area.  Someone can see this, and add it to their "to do list."  For example, I looked at the "tip list" and someone said, "Go to Maggianos Little Italy and enjoy the huge pasta plate."  I added it to my to do list, and when I actually check in at Maggianos and complete the task, I'll get points.  A really interesting premise.

I could go on and on about the potentials of foursquare.  You really have to experience it for yourself to truly understand it.  It's one of those platforms, even more obscure than Twitter, that tends to be a hard sell for individuals who aren't deeply rooted in social networking.

i will give you this - if you join foursquare, you will find out a lot about what people are doing and what places you should visit in your area.  You're getting tips from the very people who go to these places.  You're not getting reviews, your getting objectives.  The possibilities are endless.  I'm now going to run over to Blueberry Hill, order a cheeseburger, and borrow Scrabble from the bartender while I enjoy the delicious meal.  Then I'm going to go to Ted Drews and get a concrete.  I'm going to ask them to flip the cup upside down before they serve it.  Why am I going to do all this?  Don't ask me, just trust the users on foursquare.

Visit the site here.
People say some smart things on Twitter. I'm noticing a lot of the time that people are posting quotes from seminars, business meetings, and pitching strategies and ideas through twitter.  I thought it might be a good time to take down some notes and expand on these "140 Characters or less" tweets.  Here's just a few I nabbed last week. 

#1 reason clients give me for absence from social media: lack of resources. 
This seems to be a pretty common observation.  It takes a lot of work to maintain a digital brand.  Heck, I even find myself having a hard time managing, maintaing, and marketing my own sites and blogs, I can't imagine a small business or a large corporation.  The problem?  It's GOT to be done.

My family has a personal friend who runs his own web design firm.  I took a gander at his "career opportunity" page just to see what was available.  Surprisingly enough, he wasn't looking for any developers or designers, he was looking for messengers, copywriters, and public relations people.  Sure, he can make a company a great website, but if they don't have anyone to give him the message, the brand, the headlines, the titles, the history of the company, and this mission - how good of a platform can he create.  

Lesson learned?  Don't ignore the neccessities.  A good design without copy is like a good brand without an identity.  Don't let lack of resources come in between your company and your consumers.  There are good writers out there, wink wink.

It's important for you to have an online presence. The first place I go to check out a potential job candidate is linked-in.
Obvious? A little.  But this is probably the single most important advice I could give to anyone right now.  Sure this works for brands.  In fact, it is imperative for brands, but it's also important for everyday individuals like you and me.  Why?  Because anyone can find anything about everyone.  Confusing I know, but it's the power of the world wide web.  If information is going to be out there, why not control it and cater it towards how you wanted to be perceived by others.

The world is Digital. A lot of people simply need to accept it.

This couldn't be more true.  I think marketers and advertisers, and interested people like myself are the first ones to kind of adopt this theory, but slowly everyone is starting to realize.  Everything we do is dominated by technology.  Sure their is an older generation that still reads the paper every morning, sits outside and reads a book, but I'd imagine they also have a television, a cell phone, and some sort of computer knowledge.  

We could have a discussion about Twitter for hours and never come to a conclusion on it's popularity in the future, but nonetheless, I guarantee in 20 years when our kids no longer have textbooks and do everything on their mobile/computer/smartphone/kindle hybrid while they're flying to school in their automated vehicle, they'll be learning about it's effectiveness in 2009 as a driving force behind the "digital revolution."

The more ideas being associated with your brand, the more conversation will surround it. 

When I think about new campaigns for new brands and new companies, I always think big.  My belief is it's better to pitch 10 ideas and have the client like 1, than to pitch 3 ideas and have the client like 0. The more companies and brands do to deliver a message, the more conversation this causes. 

Look at a recent movie "Paranormal Activity."  They made the movie with an $11,000 budget and made 20 million opening weekend.  They created buzz online, made crazy trailers, hosted parties for movie buffs who attended midnight screenings.  Sure, the reviewers wouldn't like it, but draw buzz in your target audience and get conversation started.  It's no longer about advertising, it's about interaction.

We are what we repeatedly do. Marketing, then, is not an act, but a habit.
A last little piece of advice.  When done correctly, marketing shouldn't bother you, shouldn't annoy you, and shouldn't be something that you have to hide from.  It should be something you welcome, something you enjoy, and something you embrace.  It shouldn't be an act, it should be a habit.  

Pretty interesting stuff hugh?  As I've said before, the bird truly is the word.  Feel free to leave comments, insights, opinions, advice, ect.  Have any of you ever encountered any inspiring tweets?  I'd love to hear from you.
I think advertisers have been getting a lot of slack lately for creating platforms and campaigns that go against traditional media standards.  There will always be television, radio, print, and the like, but now, there is also room for new ideas and new emerging media platforms to change the way consumers learn, think, and act.   

The current debate that I’m constantly reading about is the argument over the creative approach and what ideas pass the “client approval test.”  Even on the last episode of Mad Men, I distinctly remember Don Draper stating, “Most ad men say that the client gets in the way of good work.”  Whether or not you believe this to be true is debatable, but the question remains, how creative is too creative? 

I recently read an article that made a lot of sense to me.  It talked about the fact that marketing and advertising shouldn’t be all about creative solutions.  More importantly, advertising should focus on being surprising, relevant, consistent with the brand message, believable, and different.  What does this all mean?  Well, let’s look at a recent example. 

I’m always trying to think of the big idea.  I think everyone in the industry is too.  I’ve talked a lot about digital media, augmented reality, and integrated consumer platforms. Often times it is easiest to apply these new mediums to glamorous consumer based campaigns.  For example, everyone can think of advertisements for Apple, Coke, and Gatorade. I think it’s a great starting point for amateurs just getting their foot in the door.  In fact, most of what I study and write on tends to be big brands: Subway, Little Caesars, Axe, and Old Spice.  The fact remains that these types of thinking, out-of-the-box, untraditional, and ultimately creative, can be implemented across all brands and products. 

Let’s look at Proctor and Gamble’s new platform for teenage girls.  Ultimately, this was a platform designed to increase the sale of feminine products.  The client originally thought, we can’t do exciting, innovating advertising because we’re selling one the most unglamorous products on the market.  Wrong.  Sure, social media wouldn’t be a great way to spread the word about the newest way to stop leaks.  What could work though?  A site called BeingGirl.com that allows girls to “Learn and share about growing up and puberty while having fun playing girl games and listening to the latest teen music.”  

What does the campaign consist of? Conversation, not promotion.  

This is the key trend we are seeing in advertising right now.  It’s no longer about pushing a product.  It’s about listening to consumers and allowing interaction between product users.  Why do I think this is such an effective promotion?  Because it deals with the fundamentals of marketing with a new, consumer focused approach.  Everything the site communicates has a purpose.  It provides essential information for its target market.  It contains strategic content that leads to bottom line results.  Lastly, it targets the consumers exactly where they are - online.  

What it comes down to is this.  Let your ideas shine through.  Creativity is no longer the end-goal. Let's not forget about perennial thinking and the importance of an undying message.  Gone are the days of immediate reward, welcome to the time of indefinite consumer initiatives.

Inspiration provided by:
Earning Fans vs. Buying Eyeballs
I Hate Creative, and You Should Too
www.adage.com/smallagency/post?article id=139628

There's a lot of breakthroughs taking place in advertising and marketing right now.  It's hard to keep track of the changes because of the pace at which things are coming and going.  I feel like two years ago all we heard about was myspace, now it's struggling to keep up with Facebook.  In fact, I think myspace is changing its whole strategy to focus its main priority on music.  Now what's changing the playing field?  Twitter.  I saw someone on Twitter the other day that posted, "Every time I'm on facebook it feels like I'm kicking it old school style."  I couldn't agree more.  Facebook now, despite its 92.2 million unique visitors per month, feels like old hat.  

I just recently read a white paper created by Moosylvania, a marketing and advertising agency out of St. Louis (www.moosylvania.com), also home to a state-of-the-art research facility, that explains some of the biggest changes that are going to reshape marketing within the next 10 years.   The white paper was the first of many, and it focused on what they consider the number one game changer - mobile.

Mobile has been an avenue that I have apparently been overlooking.  After reading some of the statistics Moosylvania put together, I couldn't help but be amazed at what mobile will be offering consumers in the near future.  

The smart phone will become the #1 way US consumers will access the web by the end of 2010.  

Cell phones will outnumber computers 3-1.  

40% of all non-smartphone customers intend to purchase one within the next year.

I mean, if you think about it, it makes sense.  People always have their cell phone on them, and with the 3G, Bluetooth, Wifi connections available, people have the internet almost all the time and in almost every location.  More importantly, companies are investing in new ways to reach these smartphone consumers, and I think it something that will truly change the landscape of advertising.  I'll talk about some of these breakthroughs below.

Bluetooth:  Most people have heard this word, but not many understand what it is capable of.  Heck, even I just found out most of my information within the last week and I'm still not positive on what it does.  Here's the deal though.  It will change the game.  Imagine walking into a movie theater with a bluetooth enabled smart phone.  Immediately you get a download onto your phone for a trailer of the newest movie.  Or how about this.  You walk into that same movie theater and you're asked to take a quick survey for the theater.  If you do it, via a mobile website, you can get a free popcorn by presenting a mobile coupon to the cashier.  This will be possible.

Let's take Bluetooth to the next level.  Imagine you're walking by a bar in downtown STL.  While walking by, you get a download on your phone asking you a simple question:  Have you had your Bud Light Lime fix today?  If you click yes, it says "Have another on us at "so & so's bar."  If you click no, it says, now's your chance at "so & so's bar."  Either way, it's presenting you with a mobile coupon for a Bud Light (promoting AB) and a reason to enter "so & so's bar.)  Both the bar and the beer company are winning, as well as the consumer who gets a free beer. 

This could even be applied to a promotional tent at a concert or a venue.  Come into our Coke tent, look around, and receive a free download via Bluetooth.  Apply it to an aisle at a grocery store.  As you walk by the Frito's, you get a coupon for $1 off a bag of chips.  This can happen.  Would you welcome it?

Semacode:  The semacode is also one of the newest innovations happening in marketing.  What is it?  A new type of barcode that allows a product to interact with a smartphone.  How does it work?  You snap a picture of the semacode with your smartphone and it will begin to come alive.  Whether a Youtube video comes up, more information about the product, or a link to a downloadable coupon, the opportunities are endless.  In the video below, you'll see a business card for a freelance graphic designer.  A semacode on the back of her business card allows individuals to snap a picture on their smartphone and have the designer's showreel and portfolio immediately begin to play on their phone. 

How else is this being used?  In movies, magazines, and books.  Buy the book, the magazine, the movie, and have all of the extras available through a semacode.  For the book, the semacode will give you a video featurette about the author.  The DVD, will allow you to access a mobile video game based on the movie you're watching.  For a magazine, you can watch a video to go with the recipe you're reading or a training video to go with the workout.  The opportunities here are endless.

While I could talk and talk and talk about new innovations in mobile, I want to leave you with two more videos of some game-changing ideas in marketing.  They relate more to digital video which I will attempt to cover in a future blog post.  The first is augmented reality.  It allows a product to come alive with a camera and a computer screen.  The video below shows a point of sale piece for lego.  Take the box up to the machine and it allows the product to come alive, showing consumers what the finished product will look like.  Amazing if you ask me.

Next, we have a video for digital projections.   These have yet to be tapped into, but provide a next-gen way of getting messages out.  What better way to advertise than on the top of the biggest skyscraper in the city.  

The game really is changing.  For the better or for the worse?  You decide.  But I'm ambitiously awaiting these new innovations.
For a copy of the original white paper that provided insight and information on this post, visit the Moosylvania website here.