Marketing Monday: Superbowl Ads 2011

My theory is companies aren’t trying hard at SuperBowl commercials anymore because of the whole internet marketing movement. That said, I had some fun last night watching some commercials anyway! Here they are, in no particular order:

The ‘Aww, clever!’ Commercial
I laughed out loud because beavers are ridiculous but at the same time, thought Bridgestone’s message was memorable. You know, since besides the commercial being clever, I also remembered what product it was trying to sell.

The Controversial Commercial
I personally took this as Groupon making fun of America’s consumption culture (of which they are also a part of). But they are giving money to organizations to make up for this potential gaff but hey, they got people talking and aware of some larger-than-saving-50%-off causes.

The ‘I Can Totally Relate’ Commercial
In a totally different feel of a commercial, Bridgestone made this cute ad about a guy who thought he pressed ‘Reply All’ instead of ‘Reply’. We can all relate, which is why watching him go through hell and back to get to this missent email. I did forget what the commercial was for so maybe this was a bit too clever.

The Uncomfortably Hilarious Commercial
Doritos held an ad contest with fans to produce a Superbowl Ad. While the running pug won, I thought this commercial was pretty funny, if only because for a second it makes you a bit uncomfortable. And isn’t that true humor, boundary pushing in a way audiences haven’t yet seen before?

All in all, it’s clear that there is always going to be a place for commercially produced advertisements yet these are going to change and become more relevant to all of us since regular people like us are becoming a part of the ad creation. And now, your turn to weigh in…

What was your favorite commercial?

Flip The Dog: My Video Experiment

So my mom got me a Flip video camera for Christmas. She figured it would be good for my business. And rightly so… only I haven’t used it for business yet. I’ve instead been videotaping my dog because she’s wicked cute. A couple of my friends have found the reason for some of my videos interesting so I thought I’d write about it here on the blog.

My dog Gidget is pretty mild mannered. But when I leave the house, she turns into a panicked barking machine.

I always assumed that she barked for 5 or 10 minutes, saw it wasn’t helping, and went to sleep. But assumptions are a dangerous thing and her habit seems to be getting worse lately.

To test my hypothesis, I decided to conduct a series of experiments using video. I focused the Flip camera on Gidget’s crate (hidden in a plant, she’s a bit camera shy) when I left the house.

Turns out 5 minutes of barking is actually more like 50. I also watched her anxious behavior on the first movie: chewing on parts of the crate, clawing at the door, etc. It actually seemed like she calmed down around 30 minutes and laid down but something out of eyeshot and earshot made her sit up and start barking again. *sigh* Sorry, neighbors! (Fortunately, no one has complained yet. Few!)

The next test was how she would react to being in the crate while I was still home. (Question: Was it the crate that bothered her or me leaving?) Other than periodic whining and panting, she seemed fine being in the crate when I was home. Guess that answers that!

To test the ‘she doesn’t need a crate theory’ some people had, I left Gidget loose in the house while I left for four hours. I even set her up for success, making sure all food was put away and garbage cans where secured or lifted off the floor. I was also low key when I left so as not to get her riled up.

When I got home, she had eaten through several business cards (that I saw evidence of), half a magazine, and a gas card. I clearly can’t leave her loose because 1) her anxiety is clearly me leaving and not the crate and 2) if I keep this up, I’ll lose all my business contacts.

While making a four hour voice recording of myself pretending to be home wasn’t feasible, playing my mp3 player while I was gone was. For a second round of video taping, I put Gidget in the crate with music playing. Then I snuck out of my own house, (which feels kind of ridiculous to do as an adult in broad daylight from your own house!). In this video, her barking starts much later, as it takes her awhile to realize I left. It’s also has a lower volume and frequency and if you have iMovie or some other video/audio software, you can measure the sound waves like I did.

This evening was my third and final video experiment  to see if, over the last week, Gidget’s crate behavior has improved. In this video, she stops barking around the 12 minute mark and intermittently barks the rest of the 50 minute video, much less frequently than the other two. Yay progress, even slow progress.

In other words, I’m a big nerd  who is probably overly concerned with the neighbors wanting to kill me while I crate train my dog but I have used these movies to see whether my dog training is working. The vet says this could take up to a year or a year and a half to crate train her since she was an adult when I got her. Eight months into the training though, I see thanks to Flip that I shouldn’t give up my efforts. Good thing she’s cute!

It’s fun to use technology for it’s not quite intended purpose once in awhile, don’t you think?

I Did It For Science And Fun Friday: Chat Roulette

On Fridays I write about (almost) whatever I want. Because it’s fun.
Like everyone else on earth, I’ve been hearing lots about ‘chat roulette’. I give my friend Ogy credit for ‘breaking’ the story because right after he mentioned it, all of a sudden everyone was talking about it… to the point where Jon Stewart had to create a parody.
For those of you who also don’t spend way too much time on the internet, here’s what it is: You go to, enter your birthday for age verification, and you get to a simple interface. You can turn your webcam and microphone on or off. Random strangers show up in the other video camera window. If you want to talk to someone else, click ‘next’. That’s it.
So you hear about all these terrible or weird things you are going to see. And I’m not telling you I didn’t see anything inappropriate but I didn’t see nearly as much bad stuff as I was expecting. A few observations.
Chatroulette is like that chatrooms of way back, except now better looking people have an advantage.
It’s oddly insulting when someone takes one look at you and clicks the ‘next’ button. That said, it’s nice when a hot girl tells you you’re ‘sexi’. By actually seeing the person, there is a bit more of feeling like you at least know a bit about who you are talking to.

Aren’t good looking are are afraid people won’t talk to you? Try to be memorable. Wear a mask, play an instrument, be a puppet listening to people’s emotional problems (all have apparently happened). Take a cue from the Chinese who are having much more zany fun with this than the average American like myself.

Eddie, one of my chat friends, and I decide to look investigatory as we both stick pencils behind our ears for my screenshot (with his permission, because I am not a jerkface).
Other people seem to also be investigating.
I won’t say I didn’t run across a few naked people but I ended up having nice conversations with an Egypian business student and a New York book publisher, two people I would have never otherwise talked to.

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Marketing Monday: Can-Am International Dog Sled Race

Every Monday, the Breaking Even blog looks at a individual, business, or website promoting itself in interesting ways online. Have an idea? Do tell!
Most years, I try to make it to my hometown of Fort Kent Maine for the annual Can-Am International Dog Sled Race. It’s been happening for seventeen years and the total purse is up to $40,000.
Usually taking place the first weekend of March, Main Street is covered with snow and racers tackling the 30 mile, 60 mile, or 250 races all start off with cheering crowds around them. The 250 mile race qualifies races for the Iditarod, and a few say this race is even tougher than that.
The event is well organized and well staffed with volunteers, and I think thanks at least in part to social media, this year’s crowd was among the largest ever.

The YouTube video clip from a documentary film flew around YouTube.
A few filmmakers made a Can-Am film last year and put the preview clip on Youtube as pretty much the only thing on this user’s Youtube channel. As the event approached, I noticed several of my Facebook friends posted it. It was so well done, I posted it.
As one of the commenters wrote, “My third year as a Can Am vet is about to happen, and I thank you for the video reminder of why I do it!” It’s no doubt that a well told story will get more people interested in a cause, and it’s no doubt this film will draw new spectators for years to come. (If you want, you can buy the video off the Can-Am website… well, sort of anyway.)

The race website is very up-to-date with content.
My friend Sarah’s father is one of the people who maintains the Can-Am website. While the design is very basic, throughout the weekend it was updated multiple times an hour with times, places, and other information about all three races. There is even a map where each individual musher’s location was tracked through time. (To see the dots on the map, click this link and then the ‘Track!’ button. You can click on different dots to see a headshot of the racer and track their individual progress in relation to other mushers.)

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Fun Friday: Chef Dan

Let me just say right off that I am far from being some kind of smooth lady on the relationship front. But I’ve recently did something where I accidentally encouraged my new boyfriend to do something nice for me, and then it kept happening.

Dan likes to cook. The second meal he made me, I decided to take out my digital camera and record him on video.

The next day, I watched it. What surprised me was that the video was actually good. I asked if I could post it on Facebook, thinking his friends would get a kick out of it. Almost immediately, he got phone calls, emails, and comments, mostly asking when the next video was coming out.

Next video?

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