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How to Change the World through Viral Marketing

Great example of how a city in Russia was able to fix its pothole problems on the road. Kudos to


Embrace Life Campaign: Seatbelts

No words are needed. The visual does it all, coupled with the tagline, “embrace life.”

But it somehow feels like it’s directed towards men, fathers, who have families. But any how, whatever the case, it’s about saving your family, the people you love most. The part where the man gets in the actual crash is simply amazing: the glitters, like shattered glass, or like the glitter and love of a family torn into pieces.

What a wonderful piece. Actions sure did speak louder than words for this campaign.

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Bally Fitness: Are Free MP3’s An Incentive?

Bally Fitness' Website

Bally Fitness' Promotional Page for Free MP3s

Bally Fitness decided to offer a new way to attract new customers: offer them 20 free MP3 songs. Well, since most people listen to music on their earphones while using fitness machines, what a great way to attract new fitness club members.

Well, the insight was there: people listen to music when working out. But on a strategic level, my question is, will this work? Or, are free MP3’s relevant to subscribing to a gym?

The Problems I Found

1. The Relevancy

The importance of downloading MP3s (or paying for it) vs. the importance of committing to go to a fitness club is a totally different story.

Since Bally is using this campaign to attract new customers, perhaps the first insightful question should be: Are these non-members ready to commit to challenge themselves to invest in a valuable workout? Well, if not, then they will not pay a monthly fee to use that service that they know they won’t end up using at all. When deciding to join a gym, it’s a matter of commitment: do I have the time? Do I have the physical ability? How many times will I go in a week? Is that worth the monthly payments? I can exercise for free outdoors can’t I?

To make such a decision, one goes through a lot – about his/her life. If he’s working every day from 8AM – 8PM, I doubt he’ll have the time to join the gym. I mean, he’s got kids to take care of, have dinner, etc. If she’s traveling for work every week, she can use the hotel’s gym on her stay at a remote location. Why pay for this?

So after an evaluation of one’s lives, seeing “20 FREE MP3’s” won’t matter at all. It’s trivial compared to the commitment and effort they must put into deciding whether they should join or not.

2. The Burden

Well, to get the free 20 MP3 songs, the campaign tells one to join the gym online. Then, the user must go onto the Universal Music’s website (since Bally’s is partnering with Universal Music (and paying a hefty fee) for this promotion) and look for their choice of songs. Now, the user should just wait…. for, I don’t know, 10 days? Bally will send a redemption code, together with a link, and then there are further instructions. It doesn’t seem like much a process since the music’s basically free. But when the importance of MP3 downloads are trivial to the decision-making point, having a complex process doesn’t help at all. It’s just too much.

Well Then, What’s the Solution?

First, I would not have done this campaign. Or at least, this campaign should have been targeted at return-customers, or their most loyal customers to extend their subscriptions.

Second, if downloads were to be offered, it should be offered within the website – make the downloading part of the Bally’s Fitness Website experience, not of a totally different entity.

Third, I would suggest, dig deeper into the touchpoints – After What Process Will That Person Click The “Join the Club” Button? Many strategies will follow from here.

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Seth Godin Hits The Chocolate Sweet Spots

A photo of Madecasse, chocolates from Madagascar in Africa

Would you know these chocolates are African?

Seth Godin, the marketing guru and author, wrote a unique post on his blog, titled “The brand, the package, the story and the worldview.” It’s about Madecasse (forgive me, I used the photo on Seth’s blog), and apparently, they’re a jewel in the U.S. confectionary market because it’s produced and manufactured straight from Madagascar, the biggest island in Africa.

Seth hits quite a lot of insights – that the packaging doesn’t differentiate itself from others. He says that a new packaging must tell this African story, and connect with the consumers who are into understanding and appreciating it. So, from an account / brand planning point of view, Seth Godin brings up a few insights. To quote some of these ideas he said:

Perhaps you believe, “All that matters is how it tastes, and great chocolate looks a certain way,”
or perhaps, “I care about the origin of what I buy,”
or perhaps, “I want something out of the ordinary, unlike anything I’ve had before,”
or perhaps, “Chocolate is like wine. I am interested in vintages and varietals,”
or maybe, “Chocolate should be fun. Enough with the seriousness.”

And he’s right.

But before Madecasse takes Seth’s word on redesigning, making it look African, making it tell the African legend to customers who say “yeah, give me an inspiring African story, because that will make me buy this chocolate,” perhaps one should consider, “is being African what people would try and buy?”

What about Africa? We think it’s a great continent, it’s got full of stories. Of course. Movies have shown the wilderness, children chasing documentary reporters’ SUVs, mothers brining water from the local wells, and fathers hunting wild animals using traditional tools. But, would an average, or let’s say, even a small population, willing to purchase something made in Africa?

I can agree on Seth how Africa can connect with people in that Africa is thought of as a treasured, unrefined, natural, and beautiful place. And people say these consciously. But in the subconscious mind, people are not that fond of it. (Just think of it, how many people travel to Africa vs. Europe?) So, somehow in the subconscious mind, an African themed packaging might give people the following thoughts:

– “Ah, this is probably not made in Africa, but they probably just used cocoa beans from Africa. ”

– “This is probably made by enslaving people to work 18 hours a day”

– “I wonder if people even used milk in this product”

– “I wonder if people who made this actually used clean hands”

– “Why with the $4 price for something made in Africa?”

So, to add a little more insight to Seth’s, I would say that Madecasse must make sure to test the redesign (if they are reading this, or at least Seth’s post), and make sure that telling the African story doesn’t divert people away from the product on a subconscious level.

People are not as daring as they seem on the outside. People stick to what they’re comfortable with, especially when it comes to consuming it down their sacred, sacred bodies.

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BooneOakley: A Creative, Creative Ad Agency

If you’re into going all creative with your new ad agency, check out BooneOakley’s website.

Well, it doesn’t have a website. Should you type, it’ll redirect you into its YouTube video. Never have I seen a YouTube video act as a sole platform for a company’s website.

But it’s rather creative. Perhaps a new way to catch attention amidst the thousands of creative shops out there.

But will it continue to work forever?

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Where’s Your Superman?

Superman standing next to regular people

Where's Your Superman?

Sometime in the mid 20th century.

The sky is grey, and the terror of tanks and heavy machines roar the earth.

I’m standing in fear, of Nazi infantry and armored vehicles that are bombarding every town as far I can see atop the roof of a mediterranean-style mansion. All I can see are roof after roof, civilians that have evacuated to roam free of German invasion.

Just as the enemy comes near, I hear a loud bang, and the building next to me is split in half. All the town’s people are stranded, and together with the building they begin to fall, one by one, hundreds by hundreds.

The moment comes. I suddenly gain a remarkable power – a super power. I know in that instant, that I’m Superman. I can fly. I can run. I am invincible.

I’ve had many dreams like this. I forced myself to become more than who I am in the greatest moment of danger. But this time, I decide not to flee. Instead, I return to my neighbors hanging on the falling building. I use my superpowers to help raise building after building, to save the town, to save the people, to save humanity.

It’s only a dream, but this is my vision. I believe in doing a great for the people, I believe in doing a great for an organization that I am part of.

Whether you are a corporate marketer, an advertising professional, or anyone who is part of any great organization, are you ready to use your superpowers for your company? Are you ready to sacrifice yourself for your customers and clients? The powers at those moments are immense, beyond imagination, and in that moment, you can save the world with a true Super Power.

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Uno Pizzeria’s Fate

Uno's Deep Dish Pizza

Deep Dish in Deep Trouble: Uno Files for Bankruptcy

Uno’s Chicago Grill & Pizzeria recently filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. I haven’t had much experience with Uno’s, because it’s not available in my area. But here’s what I know of Uno: it’s chic, it’s got class, and it’s got great food.

If you consider its location, price, environment, service, it is top of its class – certainly, can’t be compared with other franchise pizza joints.

During this phase of recuperation, I would look into its offerings. It’s got a great line up in its menu… but perhaps, it should consider reaching more customers. Such as, offering delivery, maybe? Part of the reason why Uno’s transition to provide delivery would be successful is that it’s best known for its taste, especially of its deep dish pizza, and its gourmet-full brand image. Perhaps that would be a great way to appeal to those customers who are willing to order something better for their families.

Just a thought. Should be well researched into.

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A Marketing Strategy for Google in Korea

Google’s having problems in China, just as any other non-Chinese search engines. Similarly, non-Korean search engines simply cannot penetrate the Korean market.

I will explain the reasons for the reasons behind this in the next post. Meanwhile, setting aside what Google must change to its website, here’s a strategy I think could work for Google.

* Establish a nationwide partnership with PC bangs.

PC bangs are basically Internet cafes. While most Korean households own computers and have fiber optic broadband connection, people still go to Internet cafes. Seoul, the nation’s capital, has about 5,200 PC bangs. That means for every square mile, there are roughly 22 PC bangs. Almost everyone goes to PC bangs, whether they’re playing games, looking for information, chatting online – it’s basically a place for entertainment, or even for a place to kill time while waiting to meet a friend.

Online games have been known to partner with PC bangs for a long time in Korea to increase exposure to PC bang users. Google, if finding a way to enter this market and making Google the main page for all PC bangs would enable a safe way to reach a higher share in the Korean market.

But that’s just one strategy. Google must change its face in order for Koreans to become truly loyal to its services.

PC Bang in Korea

There are over 22 PC Bangs per square mile in Seoul, Korea

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Yesterday’s vs. Today’s Brand Names

Yesterday’s brand names could be called anything. Name it Orange Juice Communications, or Speaker Phone Inc, to Cellphone Accessories Inc. You could name it using your uncle Jerry, or simply pick your favorite vegetable name.

Today, it’s a whole different story. Yesterday’s brands that used such common names – no, not your uncle Jerry’s one in a billion family name, but the every day things – like orange juices to cellphone accessories – these are the problems that arise in today’s name of brands.

The reason? Well, it’s because of the Internet. People are Googling you from everywhere. Yes, someone searching “cellphone accessories” might one day end up on your website… But would you buy from a website called It just seems scammish, and there’s simply no credibility. Not to mention, if there was someone searching for your company’s name, it’s just get mixed up with the million other pages that have “cellphone” and “accessories” as keywords. It’s the worst kind of name you’d give to your brand.

In today’s world of online searches, you should give your brand a distinction. It’s name should be something that’s catchy – like Google, and something that can be typed relatively easily. I’m sorry, may have been great back in the phone order days, but it simply doesn’t connect these days. Today, it’s all about brevity, simplicity, and easy for remembrance.

But one thing to avoid is the trend of similar names – bing/blip, fling/fring, youtube/xtube, vevo/veoh, google/oodle – don’t these all sound too similar? Stay away from similarities to the Web 2.0 sensations – I swear, there are many more of those that are on their way to the big market based on my start-up research.

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