Saturday, March 28, 2009

Put your hands in an upright position

According to the Southwest Airlines website, "The mission of Southwest Airlines is dedication
to the highest quality of Customer Service
delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness,
individual pride, and Company Spirit. "

Their company culture has been described more than once as "quirky". This is an airline with its own "blogospondent" who routinely posts about the wild and wacky goings-on in the company.

Nuts About Southwest

The following video is a wonderful example of how Southwest has mastered the art of communicating the mission and culture of its brand in creative and unexpected ways.
As this very talented flight attendant says, "You won't see this on United!"

Rapping flight attendant

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Beauty re-defined

We all know that sex sells.

Or does it?

Lately, I’ve noticed a trend in advertising which reflects a gradual but growing dissatisfaction among women with the unrealistic standards of beauty in the media today.

Before we proceed, let me say that I am in no way insinuating that men have not been objectified by the advertising industry. Case in point:

Diet Coke Construction Worker Commercial

I’ve been following this trend for some time now but the
subject of women and self-esteem took on new life today
when celebrity
Kim Kardashian appeared in the news
talking about some photos of herself that were
taken for the cover of Complex magazine.
Thanks to some quality
Photo-shopping and airbrushing, she appears on the
cover as the epitome of womanly perfection.

Unfortunately, after the photo shoot, someone absconded with the un-retouched “before” photos and then published them on the Internet, exposing a horrible truth:

Kim Kardashian has…cellulite. (Insert gasp of shock and disbelief here.)

All this time, we thought she was beautiful, when, in fact, she is actually grotesquely afflicted with lumpy, bumpy, cottage-cheesy blobs of fat, located close to the surface of the skin!

She is…imperfect.

Oddly enough, however, Kim has no immediate plans to get liposuction or check herself into a weight loss clinic to correct this glaring defect. Nor does she seem particularly bothered by it. Her response to the photos was simply, "You know what, who cares? So what! I have a little cellulite. What curvy girl doesn't? How many people do you think are photoshopped? It happens all the time!"

Perhaps Kim was able to take her imperfections being broadcast all over the world so well because she’s been viewing some of the recent ads put out by Dove.

Some of you may already be familiar with Dove’s

Real Beauty

ad campaign which uses real women instead of models in their ads.

As part of that campaign, they created a short film entitled,


that, interestingly enough, doesn’t promote any Dove products at all. Instead, it petitions mothers to talk to their daughters before the beauty industry does. What I find utterly fascinating about this ad is the fact that Dove is a part of the very industry it condemns in these commercials.

What could possibly be Dove’s motivation for engaging in such a campaign?

In my opinion, they are building relationship.

Your customers are far more likely to purchase your product if they trust you. Dove has wisely and effectively adopted “The Caregiver” role for its brand.

Brand roles were discussed


The message communicated through the “Real Beauty” campaign and “Onslaught” film is that women don’t have to look like models to be beautiful. That message, communicated in print ads, via their website and through the Onslaught YouTube video, makes Dove's customers feel like the brand is on their side in the war against the unrealistic images of beauty in our society.

It is then a very short jump in the viewer’s mind from, “I like Dove. I can trust Dove.” to “I want to support Dove and buy Dove products.”

If you’re still using sex to sell your product, this trend toward “real beauty” is definitely something you should be aware of. Sites such as and a simple Twitter search on the words “body image” will lead you to ongoing conversations about body image and this growing dissatisfaction with the unrealistic images of beauty being forced upon women and young girls by the media.

So, be careful.

No matter what your product is or what methods you’re using to sell it, by not listening to and participating in your customers’ conversations, you run the risk of not just creating ineffective ads but of creating ads that actually offend and isolate the very group of people you’re trying to reach.

And when that happens, the results are anything but beautiful.

Monday, March 23, 2009


My hands are small I know,

but they’re not yours, they are my own.

No, they’re not yours,

they are my own –

and I am never broken.


8 year old Victoria Petrucelly has small hands.

I recently wrote about Victoria and her fundraising efforts for the MD Anderson Cancer Center


After her mother’s untimely death, Victoria bravely made the decision to spend last weekend selling pink lemonade in her honor and donating the proceeds to MD Anderson, where her mother had been a patient, in order to help other cancer victims.

Prior to the sale, a local reporter asked Victoria how many cups of lemonade she was hoping to sell.

“Maybe 50!” She said, with all the wide-eyed wonder of a child.

Her story captured the hearts of many who spread Victoria’s message far and wide. Author Patti Digh wrote about it on her


and set up a donation site for Victoria for out of town donors. Area businesses got on board and donated a percentage of their sales to the cause.

Today at 4pm, 8 year old Victoria Petrucelly presented the MD Anderson Cancer Center with a check for $23, 856.72.

Her good friend Jesse Theobald, who helped man the stand with her and serve over 1500 cups of lemonade, was pleased with the success of their endeavor. "I'm just happy it happened." she says. "When you're a kid, things usually don't happen.

My deepest thanks and respect go to each of you who allowed this to happen for Jesse and Victoria- and for the patients at MD Anderson and their families. Victoria's message of hope and healing was spread far and wide by each of you who wrote about it, blogged about it, Twittered about it and took the time to share it.

Never underestimate the power of social media.

And never underestimate the power of human hands, no matter how small they may be.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Think Pink Lemonade

This weekend I will purchase pink lemonade from a stand run by 8 yr old Victoria Petrucelly.

The lemonade will be pink in honor of Victoria’s mother, Angela, who died at impossibly young age of 40 on Valentine’s Day of this year from a particularly aggressive form of breast cancer. Angela left behind her husband, little Victoria and a 4 yr old son named Vincent.

All of the money raised from Victoria’s lemonade stand will go to MD Anderson Cancer Center-Orlando where her mother was treated. It’s Victoria’s way of spreading the message of how much she loved her mommy and how important it is that we help other little girls from losing their mommies, too.

As a mother, this tragic event is too horrific, too incomprehensibly painful to consider...and quite frankly, it terrifies me. But I have made it my business to learn how to use social media and Internet marketing effectively to spread a variety of messages. So starting now and continuing through Sunday, I will put my own selfish fear aside and pull out every tool in my Internet Marketing toolbox to support little Victoria and her cause. Won’t you please consider doing the same?

The Pink Lemonade Stand will be March 21st from 9-5 and March 22nd from 11-5 at 1810 Nebraska Street (across from Leu Gardens). If you do not reside in the Orlando area but would still like to donate, please contact the Petrucelly family’s friend Dana Loncar at 407-808-3441.


Monday, March 16, 2009

Don't be such a wet Slanket

By now, over 4 million people have become enamored enough with a nifty new product called “The Snuggie to purchase one for their very own.


(For the yet uninitiated, “The Snuggie” is essentially a blanket with sleeves. Imagine putting a very large fleece robe on backwards and you pretty much have the design concept here.)

What intrigues me the most about the runaway success of “The Snuggie” (Over 4 million sold!) is that this is NOT a new product.

On the contrary.

A similar product has existed since 1998. It is called (rather unfortunately) a “Slanket”.

Let’s review:

1998: The inventor of the “Slanket” (Gary Clegg) commissions his mother to make him the world’s first blanket with sleeves. The product is featured on QVC and gets good press from the likes of The Today Show and Forbes. Some people buy it.

Flash forward 10 years.

2008: A nearly identical product called the “Snuggie” is featured in a cheesy TV commercial. Within months, the commercial becomes a viral hit and millions upon millions of orders pour in from people who (despite a recession) discover that they simply cannot live without “The Snuggie”.

Let’s look at some of the factors which are at work behind the success of Snuggies' marketing campaign:

1) Price: The "Slanket" costs $37.99. The "Snuggie" is currently $19.95. (Plus, if you act now, you can get a second Snuggie absolutely free! But that's not all! You also get this amazing folding book light...)

2) Timing: The country is in the midst of a recession. People are scared and in need of reassurance and comfort. Enter "The Snuggie". For less than $20, you can save on heating costs, wrap yourself in warmth while you leave your hands free to work the remote or surf the Internet while you're job hunting, plus have an extra "Snuggie" to give away as an inexpensive gift!

3) Social Media: This is really where "The Snuggie" blew the sleeves off of "The Slanket".

It's anyone's guess if the creators of the commercial intended for the ad to be taken as a joke but the fact is, people find it hilarious. So hilarious, in fact, that the YouTube version has been viewed over 700,000 times and viewers have forwarded it to other viewers countless more times. Could you duplicate this? Would you want to? Are you willing to be mocked in order to become the next big thing? Remember "The Clapper"? How about, "I've fallen and I can't get up"? You don't have to be annoying or ridiculous to get attention but you DO have to be creative and different. To stand in the corner waiting for you customer to ask you to dance instead of initiating conversation in the social media outlets of today makes you the equivalent of a wet blanket.

4) The name: "Slanket" believe it or not, was not the first name suggested for the product. That dubious honor goes to "The Sleevey". Neither name creates the same sense of warmth and comfort that "The Snuggie" does. Take your time when naming your product.

Gary Clegg is by no means a failure. He continues to successfully market and sell a product that has a loyal following. (Slanketeers he calls them.) Furthermore, you can feel good about ordering from him since his website states, "The Slanket cares about humans. We can't help it! It is how our moms raised us. From our own neighborhood to across the world, we have seen people of all kinds who have encountered adversity. We now want to begin what we hope will be a lifetime of giving, starting with We have decided to donate a portion of sales to three different organizations, which we believe are worthy. As a part of this, we have coupled different color Slankets with different charities. All blue Slankets will raise money for H2O AFRICA. Green, brown, and grey Slankets will help contribute to the NATURAL RESOURCES DEFENSE COUNCIL. The lavender, ruby wine, and apricot will accumulate funds for the BREAST CANCER RESEARCH FOUNDATION."

As far as this Blogger is concerned, that may be the best lesson of all. Whether your product has a small following or is a worldwide sensation, giving back is always a win-win proposition.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Pimp This Bum

Internet Marketing doesn't have to cost a fortune. In fact, you can reap tremendous profits with just a cardboard sign, a sharpie, an engaging figure and an important cause. Don't believe me? Just ask Tim Edwards, a homeless man who is the subject of an Internet marketing campaign designed to help the homeless. Controversially titled "Pimp This Bum" the campaign's website:
Pimp This Bum
uses personal interviews with Tim and several of his friends to chronicle his slow fall from office manager with a home, a car, and a future to an outcast short of hope and with little prospect of help. Visitors can also use the site to donate money or services to assist Tim in his recovery. The site has already inspired many to donate, including a drug and alcohol treatment center which has provided a 35 day alcohol abuse treatment program valued at $13, 800 to Tim at no charge.

Why is this working?

Let's start with the name. The two Internet Marketers who are the creators of the campaign chose the controversial name purposely in order to generate "buzz". The more people talk about your site, the more exposure it gets. If they'd named the site something more generic like "Help the Homeless" many web surfers would've never noticed it or just passed it over.

Secondly, the site directs viewers to take a specific action. Every message you send to a potential customer, investor, or supporter of your cause should end in a clear call to action for the visitor such as, "Click here for more information", "Buy now", "Donate", etc.

Thirdly, and most importantly, tell your story. Consumers and supporters want to know

Why should they buy your product? Why should they donate to your cause?

I'll be sharing more examples of Internet marketers who are using their influence for good in future postings. If you come across any interesting or powerful online campaigns, please share them with me!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Live Every Last Drop

I’m not a beer drinker but I received the message in a recent Heineken commercial loud and clear. To communicate their message, Heineken used a creative communication technique common to storytellers in which the speaker gives “life” to an inanimate object. In the ad, a green bottle of the brew faces imminent “death” as it is knocked off its resting place atop a bookshelf. As it careens toward the floor, its “life” flashes before its eyes.

See full ad here:

Heineken Commercial

The message is to “Live Every Last Drop”.

This technique of giving a product its own voice is very effective for helping your customers relate to your product.

“But my product isn’t real!” You say. “It doesn’t speak!”

Maybe not directly. But every time you place an ad, film a commercial or tape an interview, you are speaking on behalf of your product. You are sending a message. How much more compelling might that message be if you were to let your product speak for itself?

You can start by answering this question. If your product were a character in a story, what role would it play? Would it be a hero that saves the day? A jester that encourages customers to lighten up and live a little? A rebel with a thirst for danger?

What brands can you think of that have these characteristics? When you watch commercials or see ads for these products, are they being portrayed in a way that is consistent with their character? We’re all familiar with the jolt we feel when we get to know a character on a TV show or movie and the character behaves in a way that is…well… out of character for the character. It’s disconcerting and when it happens, we generally fault the storyteller for inconsistency.

Try this: Assign a voice to your product and then keep your product’s messages consistent with who your product is.

And, for goodness sake, please don’t set your beverages down where they might get knocked over! They hate that.

If you don't believe me, just ask them!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Producers vs consumers

Do you produce a product? Do you know who you your customers are? If so, you work hard to ensure that the message your company sends out is compelling enough to your customer to make them buy your product, right? How about your face to face interactions? Are they consistent with your message and compelling to the consumer? A few years ago when I lived in Virginia, my family and I would frequent a local ice cream parlor every Sunday afternoon. The shop was family owned and the owner would usually serve us personally. Rocky Road with side of political commentary was his special. Ice Cream Man knew I was a stay at home mother when he launched into a rant about the state of the economy one afternoon. "I'm a small business owner", he bragged. "It's producers like me that keep our economy going." Then glancing at me and my two sons, their little faces sticky with marshmallow and melty fudge chips, he dismissed my two meager contributions to the world by stating with a wave of his hand, "You're consumers." At that, I swung around in my stool so he could get a good profile of my 7 month pregnant belly, swollen with son number 3 and stated, "I disagree. I'm a producer, too... I produce consumers. Several of which used to buy your product."
The following week, we began frequenting a different ice cream parlor.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

What can YOU do to celebrate World Theatre Day?

What can YOU do to celebrate World Theatre Day?

Posted using ShareThis

Welcome to my blog!

Communication is a two way process. There is a communicator and an audience.
As an Internet Marketer, my job is help clients refine their message, identify their audience and find the best ways to spread their message to that audience.
How many messages do you receive in a day? How do you decide which messages to listen to and which ones to ignore? With all the competition for your attention, the messages that get noticed are the most creative. They are the ones that make you pause, make you laugh or connect with your emotions. Once you've received the message, you want to pass it on because it's unlike anything you've ever seen or heard before.
Join me as I share the messages that catch my attention. We'll discuss what makes them creative and effective and I'll help you make your message, whatever it is, reach more of your intended audience.