social media

Marketing Monday: SAMMY Awards

Every Monday it’s a website, company, or non-profit doing cool things online. Contact me if you have an idea of someone or some company I should profile.

One of my clients let me know about these social media awards called the SAMMY Awards, presented by DIGIDAY and given for social media, marketing and advertising campaigns. Mostly given to large companies, these awards can still give ideas even to smaller businesses. This year’s winners included:

U by Kotex’s social media campaign/website:

Mad Men Yourself’s avatar creation program:

American Express’ Open web forum:

Notice these brands aren’t necessarily selling something directly but are instead offering good online content, providing something interesting people want to share, and subtly making the website visitor aware of the product. It’s a soft sell, folks. We could all learn something about that, myself included!

To see a full list of the winners, check out:

Marketing Monday: Method

Mondays, the Breaking Even blog likes to profile a business, non-profit, or person doing cool things online. If you have an idea, let me know about it!

A few years ago, my first dog Sadie spent a lot of time licking my kitchen floor. I hadn’t thought much about what I was putting on it until then but as an over protective first-time dog parent, I started looking at my options. Method (tagline: people against dirty) advertised in some of my favorite magazines and their natural cleaning products that smelled good sounded great to me. I’m now a fan.

I recently got an email about their new website. Now, it takes a lot for a website to get me to want to create a free profile for myself. But Method got me to create a profile on its new community website because it was actually kind of fun to fill out. What is one Method product that is my soulmate? What is the leading cause of dirt in my house? Sure, they collected my basic info but the fun questions balanced out the boringness.

For signing up, I also get 50% off a different product (user chosen) every week. I do like to save money on things I’d buy anyway!

Anyway, the way Method has made a space for their customers to talk about their loyalty is really interesting for the individual site visitors, but will probably also help them get some great data on what people like a lot and why customers buy their products (two questions snuck into the short profile questions).

The real reason I first bought (and still buy) these products however is that I appreciate the green but design-y aspect of the products. I even saw their detergent bottle won a design award. Living in a small house, I appreciate that under my kitchen sink isn’t half filled with a ginormous jug of laundry detergent!

To see the new site in action, visit

A complete aside: this email about the new site launch inspired me to wash my floors. Mmm, almonds. And since I ran out of cleaner, I got online to order some more… Holy cow, I’m just realizing now that this email campaign actually worked on me!

Marketing Monday: Time Warner Cable

Every Monday, it’s an example of a business, non-profit, or website doing something interesting to promote itself online. Got an idea? Let me know!

Now I’m not a big fan on national cable companies but I thought how Time Warner is handling their Disney/ABC negotiations pretty interesting.

They are keeping customers informed via email.

I’ve gotten a few updates about the current negotiations via Time Warner Cable email (and yes, I opted not to receive anything extra). I haven’t unsubscribed because these emails aren’t frequent. Also in their favor is they tend to be short and all driving customers to another website if they want longer versions of anything:

They are driving their customers to a separately branded website.

Time Warner needs to keep running its day-to-day operations going on their company website, and these cable negotiations are a small part of what it does. So, for this ‘campaign’ they’ve set up a different website for educational (and political) purposes. I appreciate how they have their company name in the sidebar (as in they aren’t pretending to be some third party group). But it is smart of them to keep their advocacy separate from their business, at least in terms of branding.

An informative graphic: saying more to people than they'd typically read.

An informative graphic: saying more to people than they'd typically read.

They are concentrating on education versus telling people what to think.

With graphics like the one above and other visual (and written) information, Time Warner isn’t telling customers what to think or do. Instead, they are educating and providing a forum. As anyone who has ever taught can tell you, allowing someone to discover for themselves (versus telling them) not only helps them learn better but helps them take ownership of the knowledge. Time Warner wants its customers to protest ABC/Disney’s price increases because they understand that the price increases mostly go to the programmers.

(Actually if you think of the info graphic above, not taken into account are the costs paid to run ABC/Disney’s business. Also if I did this for my business, you’d see almost the entire Breaking Even dollar goes to run Breaking Even Communications but that’s another story all together…)

In other words, if your company or non-profit is doing some advocacy around a specific issue, it might be a good idea to set up a different website.

I feel like there are other businesses/groups doing this separate website for an agenda idea but much less transparently… Can you think of any?

Marketing Monday: Jet Blue

Every Monday, Breaking Even looks at a business, website, or non-profit doing cool things online. Have an idea? Contact me and let me know!

It’s easy to do the whole internet marketing bit when things are going well but what about when you have a PR disaster? How do you handle bad press about your company when you’ve made yourself very available online?

Jet Blue had an employee freak out on them last week. He’s been getting tons of press and I don’t feel a need to give him any more.

That said, I do need to say how Jet Blue has handled it seems really great.

They’re keeping calm and carrying on.
The natural instinct when something doesn’t go your way is to disappear for awhile. But JetBlue continues their Twitter customer service and Facebook notifications about news and events.

They briefly and professionally addressed it on their company blog.
It would be weird to completely ignore the controversy but what should you say when you don’t want to be libelous or strangely silent? Read the great blog post solution called ‘Sometimes the weird news is about us…’ They aknowledged what happened and thanked their great employees.

This is bound to make it into some kind of ‘Letters for any occasion’ book.

Commenters may want the flight attendant rehired (or otherwise compensated) but not many people seem to be attacking JetBlue.
Comments were mixed about the incident but while people expressed opinions, many said they ‘still love Jet Blue’ or called it ‘my favorite airline’. Overall, ideally what you’d want to happen when your company does something ‘controversial’.

If you are a third party, might as well capitalize on a cultural phenomena (read: strike while the iron’s hot).
Want a t-shirt commemorating the incident? Choose from dozens of designs.
Want to watch an animation of the event? Check out this recreation in CG animation.
Basically, you could Google the name Steven Slater and any product you’d want and find some entrepreneurial person who’s set up a website around it. And hey, you’ve got to admire that on some level.

So just because you’ve made yourself accessible online, doesn’t mean you can’t handle it when things don’t go your way as a company. Take it from Jet Blue: be excellent, be professional, and realize this could happen to anyone.

Marketing Monday: Meatless Monday

Every Monday, the Breaking Even blog takes on a business, non-profit, or website with a good marketing idea. Have one? Send it in!

This morning, I was listening to NPR (on the Maine Public Broadcasting Network) and heard about former marketer now turned non-profit marketer Sid Lerner talking about the Meatless Monday concept him and his firm started as a way to get people to eat healthier one day a week. According to the story, 20% of the American population was aware of the term. Personally, I’ve heard about it on a few blogs I read (I do like food) and I was surprised the recognition of the phrase was that low.

Not just a campaign but a website providing useful information and incentives to step out of their comfort zone one night a week.

Meanwhile, it turns out some college campuses have also bought in to the concept but most younger generation folks aren’t going meatless for cholesterol but for the environment. (Which is a big reason why I eat meat only a couple times a week myself. Holy grain acres, Batman!(As a complete aside, you can read a whole nerdy though somewhat slanted article about grain acres here with neato diagram if you are interested.)

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