Posts Tagged ‘Web 2.0’

Tournageddon: Experience March Madness the Kenny Powers wayED’S NOTEThis post reflects my interest in advertising as a marketing student. It does not endorse any product, services or agency. The opinions expressed here are mine and in no way reflect the opinions of my employers.

Kenny Powers is back hawking K-Swiss Tubes during the sweat-soaked, beer-stained, testosterone-fueled insanity that is March Madness.

Yes, this news is about as fresh as a towel on a locker room floor  – I have to admit that I had forgotten about our loveable anti-hero and his side job for K-Swiss (NASDAQ: KSWS). Even so, I want to quickly examine  the most recent leg of the campaign I wrote about last summer. “Tournageddon” is a balls-to-the-wall social-media push that starts on Facebook and ends up on Yahoo Fantasy Sports.

Fans can submit their picks, pore over team analyses, get recaps filled with Kenny’s insights and — ultimately — they can spend more times him and his Tubes. And when fans are done killing time mourning their busted brackets, they can download the Muscle Machine app from iTunes or let Kenny manage their Facebook page with the Workout Wingman app. The idea behind the Wingman app is you’ll be “training in K-SWISS Tubes like a true frickin’ champion” instead of Facebooking (fat chance) and Kenny will answer your friends’ posts (“You’re f-in’ OUT, MOM!”).

Since I last wrote about Kenny Powers and Tubes, the Tubes site has been overhauled with a very masculine red and black theme. Very fiery. Powerful. Like Hell. Makes me want to go buy some Axe body wash or something. Lame jokes aside, it’s a very comprehensive e-commerce portal: Shoppers can customize a pair of Tubes, watch the very funny advertising spots featuring Patrick Willis and Jeremy Shockey, connect with Kenny on Facebook and Yahoo, and even order season one of Eastbound & Down, the critically acclaimed six episodes that introduced us to a foul-mouthed has-been ballplayer that somehow stole our hearts.

I think what I appreciate most about the Tubes campaign is how all the copy maintains Kenny’s voice, such as it is outside of the HBO series, while promoting the athletic shoes. It’s unlikely actor/Kenny creator Danny McBride was available to whip up copy for 72andSunny, the agency behind the Tubes campaign, so props to the writers for keeping Kenny real and an appropriate PG-13. He’s still a crass buffoon, even when he’s not dropping the f-bomb after every third utterance.

Finally, here’s Kenny in the spot “Gravity,” featuring New Orleans tight end Jeremy Shockey. I had planned to post this a long time ago, but I couldn’t find it and then I eventually lost interest. Perhaps the lackluster second season of Eastbound & Down played a role in my forgetfulness.



Does that headline seem familiar? It might. It’s the headline I wrote for today’s story in USA TODAY. (I did not, however, edit the online story.) Didn’t read it? That’s OK. I’ll recap and link: Men’s Health, with the help of Rodale Inc., is reporting that Washington, D.C., is the top socially networked city in the country!

The exclamation point there is just a result of an extra cup of coffee on a rainy day — not actual surprise. It makes sense that the one U.S. city where reach and influence is everything that every person would be wired in Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and beyond. (“My 140 crappy characters will change this world! I know it!” ~Insert name of unknown congressman here.)

El Paso appears to be the least wired-in city, with research suggesting that residents have a high rate of job satisfaction. The USA TODAY story quotes psychologist and MIT professor Sherry Turkle who says El Paso residents could simply be happier with their off-line lives.

From the story:

“When people are gratified and fulfilled in their face-to-face interactions, when these satisfy their desire for connection, for gossip, for feeling wanted and plugged in, they don’t need to feel technologically plugged in,” Turkle says.

It’s a shame this story couldn’t have been longer because Turkle touches on a question I wrestle with daily: Would I be so plugged in if I were happier and more connected in the physical world? I think that’s something everyone should ask themselves from time to time, especially as digital networks continue to expand and permeate our lives.

Would we be happier without Facebook? Twitter? Digg? Reddit? Etc.?

I’ve often said — but not here — that too many businesses rely on the interns to run their social media efforts, essentially putting a brand in the hands of a child. (My agent even told me I’m right about this, so I must be.) Leave it to Charlie Sheen, Hollywood’s reigning douchebag, to prove my point.

This is me #winning.

Trey Barrineau at USA TODAY’s LifeLine blog is reporting that Sheen is taking applications for a social media intern. Have a Twitter account and big dreams of playing lackey to a loser? Want to apply? The ad is here.

foursquare at the movies!

This cool foursquare graphic looks at 2010′s opening-weekend movie check-ins, breaking down the data by title, gender preferences and overlap, and regional interest. Of note: Mississippians dug Gulliver’s Travels and Toy Story 3, while Utahns preferred Edge of Darkness and Tooth Fairy.

Among my opening-weekend check-ins: The Town and Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps.  I slept like a baby during both. Not among my opening-weekend check-ins: Sex and the City: 2. I write this proudly.

In other foursquare news, the location-based social network is now distinguishing between friends and followers. This will allow marketers to determine the users with a large reach. The HubSpot blog has details in their Feb. 28 post that I missed because I was researching strategies for Angry Birds or doing something equally important.

I also missed foursquare’s “Rudest Cities in the World” list posted Feb. 28 on the network’s engineering blog. While it is interesting to know that Manchester, England, has the most … colorful … check-ins in the world, the post more importantly details how the company will mine (explore) the data it collects to make decisions about venues, promotion and demographics. The post is heavy on the tech, but offers some insight into foursquare’s ambitions.

For those more interested in the rude cities themselves, AOL Travel has a roundup.


Although I’m opposed to texting and driving, I must confess that I will check in on foursquare when I’m at a stoplight. It’s not the best habit I’ve ever had, but I’ve had worse. As a result of these check-ins, I’m the mayor of at least three intersections in the D.C. metro area.

Watch me soar! Today, Tysons Corner! Tomorrow, the world!

I’m just kidding. I’m not destined to take over anything other than my 3-foot-by-3-foot faux cubicle at work. Perhaps this is why I play for mayorships on foursquare: I need a goal to boost my sense of self because I’m not finding the challenge anywhere else. So I’ll play foursquare when I’m stuck in traffic on the road to nowhere, and sometimes I see nearby deals that are nearly as odd as the check-ins themselves.

Most recently when I checked into “Behind this slow-ass Toyota,” I saw a nearby deal at The Metropolitan at Lorton Station. I had thought this was a restaurant, but upon further investigation — conducted in front of a computer, not in traffic — I found out it’s an apartment complex — one of a chain, in fact. Foursquare players who check in and leave a “gracious tip” can earn extra entries in a monthly gift-card giveaway. A few more searches and scrolls told me this special is available at several Kettler properties in the area, including the Fields at Merrifield, which I found during another poorly timed stoplight. This is a special obviously designed for residents who know what the properties are, not a particularly wide audience.

Another recent deal I spotted while stuck in traffic: 5% discount with the first check-in at Merrifield Oriental Rug on Dorr Avenue. Although I firmly believe small-business owners should avail themselves of all of social media’s marketing opportunities, I have to wonder whether foursquare would reach this store’s demographic. Maybe. I’ll hope so.

I’m also curious as to how many responses Inova Urgent Care Center in Vienna has received for its special. They’re offering a free “blood pressure tracker wallet card” for first check-ins. This is another special targeted to a very specific group — a much older group than those who would be psyched by the free music Old Navy is offering for check-ins.

In non-traffic-related-check-in news, a recent visit to Tysons Corner Center showed no new deals other than those I reported last time. The store managers there need to step-up their location-based marketing efforts. Wired-in kids with lots of Mom & Dad’s discretionary income run that mall and they’re checking in. If I were running a shop there, my store’s name would be all over foursquare. It’s easy, it’s free and you can’t afford not to do it.

ABOUT THIS SERIES: As a marketing student interested in social media’s role in promotion, I record specials that I see when I check in on foursquare. For me, it’s fun to see how businesses are using it to court customers, which stores are catching on — and which ones aren’t. This project is mostly to satisfy my intellectual curiosity, so stoppers-by might be bored. Googlers, if you’re looking for information about MAC’s Wonder Woman cosmetic line and foursquare offer, here’s the post.

I saw “Project Devil” in my RSS reader and had visions of Meryl Streep trying to take down Tim Gunn. Alas, it’s just AOL’s new ad format, which features larger ads aimed at locking in a higher ad rate. reports on the Project Devil’s progress, pegging it to the not-yet-closed $315 million AOL-HuffPo deal. (Just threw up a little bit in my mouth. Sorry.) The article speculates Project Devil will be the first test of this match made in hell because while the ads will be larger, there will be fewer of them, calling for an uncluttered design that HuffPo doesn’t have. (I personally don’t like AOL’s ADHD-inspired portal, but that’s just me. I’ve certainly navigated worse.)

According to the AOL Creativity Hub, Project Devil offers a new look for the “new web,” pledging a higher standard of advertising that encourages engagement and use. (“It’s a rethinking of the web.”) The hub touts cleaner pages, the aforementioned larger ads, less noise and a better experience. Devil aims to keep users on the page, offering advertising that “people actually want to spend time with,” which means all the brand interaction happens on the page. The users don’t have to leave the page that caught their eye. When they’re done with the content, they can engage with the advertised product through Facebook and Twitter (natch!), pictures, video and more.

From the story:

“This is the future of what display is heading toward,” said Jeff Levick, AOL’s president-global advertising and strategy. “People buy Vogue because they want to read the ads as much as the content. That’s exactly what we want to do.”

In other AOL-related news, the Internet pioneer’s own Tech Crunch leaked the internal memo that details the new reorganization plans in anticipation of the HuffPo Media Group that will be formed after the closing.

As I mentioned in an earlier post about foursquare, I’m recording the deals I see as I check in. For me, the marketing student, it’s fun to see how businesses are using it to court customers — and how more businesses are catching on.

This is mostly to satisfy my intellectual curiosity, so stoppers-by might be bored. Googlers, if you’re looking for information about MAC’s Wonder Woman cosmetic line and foursquare offer, here’s the post.

Some deals spotted on foursquare in the McLean, Va., area:

  • Old Navy offers a free music download “Lunatic” by Andy Grammer.
  • 15% off next purchase at American Eagle Outfitters.
  • 10% off regularly priced merchandise at Metropark; mayor receives a one-time 20% discount.
  • Ritz Camera and Image is offering five free 4×6 prints at its Tysons Corner location.
  • Wildfire, a most excellent eatery, will treat the mayor to a spinach and artichoke fondue.
  • At Harry & David, get $10 off a $50 purchase. From the offer: “Excludes wine (bummer) and gift cards.” Cute.
  • Spotted again: First-time check-ins can get $5 off any $25 purchase at Payless ShoeSource.

Noticeably absent: MAC cosmetics, which has its own foursquare campaign going on now.

I’ll update the list as I see more offers.

ED’S NOTE: This URL has been SEO’d to death.

ED’S NOTE: This post reflects my interest in advertising as a marketing student. It does not endorse any product, services or agency. The opinions expressed here are mine and in no way reflect the opinions of my employers.

I was cleaning out my terribly neglected RSS reader today when I found myself scrolling through Unruly Media’s Viral Video Top 10 Charts, which can be a real time suck for me as I watch the videos and try to figure out why each one appeals to so many viewers. It would be great if I assembled all of this analysis into coherent blog posts, but by the time I’m done watching said videos, it’s time to study/go to work/feed the dog/scoop the litter box/save the world/floss.

Today I got sucked in by the Dorito-eating pug featured during Super Bowl Blah. The video “Pug Attack” is one of the Crash the Super Bowl 2011 finalists, the Dorito-Pepsi Max contest that offered a $25,000 prize to each of the winning  consumer-made spots — and $1,000,000 if the video took first place in USA TODAY’s Ad Meter. (“Pug Attack” tied for first place.) I had seen this prior to the Super Bowl, so it’s certainly not new to me (or anyone else). I watched it four times today trying to figure out the appeal. Yes, the dog is cute and the guy is goofy, and the score certainly builds anticipation for a silly climax, but that alone shouldn’t smell like advertising success, does it? Yep, it does.

At the time of this writing, Viral Video Chart is reporting that “Pug Attack” had more than 40,000 “shares” on Facebook, 917 tweets and 34 blog posts. Meanwhile, YouTube reports 2,200,000 views.

Apparently I’m not the only person who enjoys mocking her pets with snack food.

The Wall Street Journal looks at Yahoo’s efforts to co-exist alongside Facebook, as the social networking giant lures users away and eats into the $9 billion display ad market. The WSJ quotes an eMarketer report that showed Yahoo with a 16.2% share of that market in 2010, and Facebook following with a 13.6% share. Facebook had a much smaller piece of the pie in 2009 with 7.3% of the market.  Big ouch for Facebook competitors.

In addition to hanging on to its ad revenue, Yahoo is also trying to rein in wandering users as time on Yahoo sites continues to slide. In addition to installing Facebook’s “like” and “share” buttons on Yahoo’s news and sports sites — so Yahoo users could share articles with their contacts on Facebook — Yahoo is making sure its content appears in Facebook’s search results. (We’ve seen Yahoo do this before with Twitter and other sites.) And Facebook is no stranger to uneasy partnerships. The WSJ article goes so far as to call Yahoo and Facebook “frenemies,” a label that both parties reject. Big Wheels from each company tout the success of the year-old “partnership” and the enhanced user’s experience on both sites. (That said, there still seems to be a bit of veiled snarking going on, so read the article for the quotes.)

And although Yahoo may be making the most out of its rivalry with Facebook, the Journal reports that Internet icon has other solo ventures in the works, including plans to serve online content providers to enrich the user experience and Livestand — though not mentioned by name in the article — the personalized digital newsstand for the super-mobile tablet and phone crowd.

As a bonus for social media geeks, the WSJ offers a great timeline that looks at Yahoo’s social efforts dating to 2005′s Yahoo 360 venture (Anyone remember that?), as well as an interactive timeline of Facebook’s ambitions.