August 12, 2010
CiscoSPice: a new Old Spice for B2B?
Well, I put out a call to action for B2B to be inspired by the Old Spice Guy and Cisco answered.
Earlier this month, Cisco launched its own ‘spice’ campaign called #CiscoSPice (Cisco Service Provider Interactive Communications E-thingy…). Instead of bare-chested Isaiah Mustafa, they’ve pulled in Ted from Accounting (in what could be a very visual representation of consumer v. business perceptions) to create personal responses to Twitter users who engage with Cisco either via the #CiscoSPice hashtag or through one of three Twitter accounts (@CiscoSP360, @CiscoMobility, @CiscoSPVideo).
The campaign has been met with some judgement and claims that it is a rushed, ignorable and uninspired parody that either didn’t do enough differently or didn’t mock enough of the original. Whether or not any of this is true, I give credit to Cisco for being brave enough to try it. Even Cisco will admit that Ted might not stack up to Old Spice, but they still gave it a go. And, it's got people talking (it's not all bad, there's also praise for the campaign).
What do you think – can a B2B campaign make you giggle and still be effective?
July 12, 2010
Exporting Raymond to Whoaah Moscow?Film writer and director Phil Rosenthal and producer John Woldenberg is doing a preview of their latest film - Exporting Raymond - in Montreal Canada this Thursday, July 14, 2010.
Rosenthal, who is best known for his creation of the American hit TV series Everybody Loves Raymond, is now introducing Exporting Raymond to the big screen.
The film is a funny true story of the attempt to translate Raymond into a Russian sitcom. This amusing tale, where culture clashes lurk around every Moscow corner, will have you in stitches.
Below is Rosenthal on the set with the Director.
Rosenthal and Woldenberg take us on a hilarious, warm and intimate journey of one man, considered an expert in his country, who travels to a land to help people that don't seem to want his help. Lost in Moscow, lost in his mission, lost in translation, Rosenthal tries to connect with his Russian colleagues but runs into unique characters and situations that conspire to drive him insane. The movie is an international adventure, a genuine, fish out-of-water comedy that could only exist in real life.
July 08, 2010
Yes in Fact: A Robot Programmed to Fetch a BeerAt Willow Garage, they have various hackathons, designed to program a PR2 robot to doing something useful, cool, fun, productive, interesting or innovative. A recent one held only a few weeks ago resulted in getting PR2 to play pool, in many cases more accurately than his human programmers.
In their third summer hackathon, the Willow Garage "beer hackathon team" started on a Monday and finished on Friday with the goal of having PR2 zip off to the fridge, grab a beer of your choice using object recognition and then having the robot deliver it to you without you having to move from your seat. PR2 was even programmed to pop the cap off the bottle of beer in case you didn't happen to have one handy.
They're calling it the "Beer Me web application." In this web app, the user is presented with a menu of ice cold beers and ciders, and a pull-down menu specifying the office for delivery. Once the user hits the enticing Beer Me button, it's the robot's job to make that magic happen. Take a look at the video below that captures the team's results.
June 20, 2010
"Dad is Awesome" Talking PhotoBelow is an adorable and compelling use of Fotobabble's very simple and easy-to-use technology. For Father's Day, Mom and kids create a 'talking photo' for their dad using a poem to share how much they love him and what makes him so special. People can get set up in minutes. Also check out the Ballpark All Stars Moms Contest using Fotobabble.
September 24, 2008
How Stupid Do You Think We Are?
Imagine you have a cousin, Merrill, whose idea of an investment strategy is to go to the track with $100 of his own money and then borrow another $10,000 so he can bet on a horse called Five-Year ARM in the third race.
The horse finishes out of the money and your cousin's mortgage payment is due tomorrow. So he goes to collect a $10,000 debt from your other cousin, Bear, who unfortunately is coming out of a casino where he just left his last $100 plus another borrowed $10,000 on the blackjack table.
Bear's car payments are due, along with the first installment on yet another gambling loan. So they both go to your third cousin, Morgan the bookie. But along with earning an honest living he's made bad bets every NFL Sunday and owes his brothers about $10 grand each plus the next guy up on the bookmaking ladder a lot more than that. And this guy is calling your cousin Morgan on his cell phone as we speak.
Your cousins realize that there is no money left to borrow, so it's time to beg and steal. Merrill and Bear and Morgan march to your Dad's house. They tell their Uncle Sam that unless he takes on their debts that his nephews and grandnephews and grandnieces will all die or be killed, that the family as he knows it will collapse.
Your Dad says, "Sure, boys. Let me talk to my boy John Q."
Your Dad calls and says, "You need to bail out your cousins."
"Why, Dad? Did some tragedy befall them, some hundred-year financial flood? Was there a quantum exception to the laws of risk-reward or supply-demand? Were they true and just in their actions but fell upon unforeseeable hard times?"
"No, son. They just thought they had a chance to get a lot of something for next to nothing and now they're broke without anything even a pawnbroker would want."
" Not sure I can do that, but I'd like to help. What do they have as collateral?"
"They don't have any assets?"
"Yeah, but there's no way of knowing if they're worth anything."
"Sounding better all the time, Dad. Well at least I might be able to buy cheap and make a profit if things turn for the better."
"Not exactly. They want to value them on the high end if you're going to pay them off, and then if there's a market for them later they want to keep the proceeds."
"So you're saying that if their assets are worthless I should pay them and if they are worth something I should pay them. And they keep the assets. I'll just take responsibility for them and they'll collect the dough."
Would you say A.) Sure, Dad. It's only fair and there but for the grace of God and a few brain cells, a conscience and a bottomless margin account go I. Or B.) Um, no. Blood may be thicker than water but it ain't dumber.
Your government is hoping you'll go with A. Oh, and they expect that you're ok with adding six to twelve zeroes to the end of those numbers.
September 23, 2008
So now, in an interesting game of Presidential Succession Leapfrog, the guy who is sixth in line is at the head of the class. The Secretary of the Treasury is about to run everything in the economy outside of the Department of Agriculture (or perhaps this week we'll collectivize the farms as well).
Aside: This was supposed to be a humor piece, but can I stop to ask whether it's just me or is that picture scary, I mean in a "They're wearing Totalitarianism in Washington this season" kind of way? I used to see Secretary Paulson in pictures and feel soothed. Now I'm not. But maybe that's because he's about to have more financial power than anyone who has ever lived.
Anyway, in addition to that worry is another, which is that we may be starting a third family dynasty. Bush, Clinton and now Paulson. Henry's brother Pat ran for President many times, usually coming in a close 93rd, but haven't we had enough of the family thing in government for at least a few generations?
Oh, you say that they're not brothers, they spell their last name differently. Well, first of all, that's part of the conspiracy. And second, that's just like you educated elites to try to ram down the throats of us regular folk things like spelling and deduction, and reason and science.
The good news is that we no longer have to worry about who we choose in the upcoming election. Both candidates may keep Paulson on the job. Four More Years. Four More Years.
Where have you gone, Paul H. O'Neill?
August 30, 2008
Google's Cattle Call
Tuesday's Chronicle reports that an analysis by two German zoologists of more than 8,500 Google Earth satellite images from around the world suggests that cows at rest tend to orient themselves towards magnetic north.
It has long been known that some animals have magnetite particles in their brains, which act as a kind of compass. But this is the first suggestion that the phenomenon may also be true for large land mammals.
What has not long been known, but is being suggested as a result of these findings, is that this is an effort by Google to gain dominion over not just the human race, but also "over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth." (Genesis 1:28)
The zoologists found that 2 out of 3 cows were oriented towards magnetic north. What the story did not say is that it is believed that 1 in 3 cows have shifted their orientation towards Mountain View, California, the location of Google's human corporate headquarters.
It is alleged that cows are being fed edible parcels of text sent from Google servers to bovine clients on ranches and feed lots throughout the known universe. These cookies are returned to the servers via the cow's grazer browser.
Whether this is intentional, or what Google plans to do with the information is unclear. Google officials did not return unplaced phone calls.
The zoologists did not comment on speculation that takeout coffee is being supplemented with magnetite particles in order to align customers towards Magnetic Starbucks. Of course, there are so many of them in all directions that an interior compass would only become disoriented.
August 22, 2008
The Conference Call Secret No One Talks About
PR professionals have to handle a lot of conference calls. Frequently and sometimes, there are a lot of people dailing in from various parts of the globe.
So tell the truth here. You hit mute. You leave the office. You do something else while your CEO or marketing manager is going on about something that you already talked to him or her privately about. You still listen, but part of you checks out to do something else. Beloved multitasking.
Tell the truth here: what else is it you are doing and have done during a conference call that you haven't confessed to anyone else?
I'll start the ball rolling. I've pruned my roses; washed my floors; almost had a fatal car crash; and thrown the frisbee to my dog at the dog park, unmuting at just the right time, and never missing a beat. I once got busted for breathing hard, while scrubbing the floor, and was paranoid that they suspected something worse.
How about you......managers, PR folks, journalists....what are some of the things you've gotten done during conference calls??
February 15, 2008
Why PR People Get Paid The Big Bucks
This video is a great demonstration of the PR person's job, which is on one level, simple translation from Silicon Valley speak to everyday English.
Just in having the savvy to pick up on this humor, David Letterman shows that he, or someone on his staff, is in touch with the tech world. Beautiful irony....and extra points for anyone who can interpret, translate and make this interesting to me.
November 17, 2007
Wal-Mart: Bigger than the Big Apple?
At some point in the last fiscal quarter, Wal-Mart’s total U.S. retail square footage surpassed the land mass of Manhattan, at 22.98 square miles versus 22.7.
In addition to the mind-bending image that this creates, this development is interesting because the two giants don’t like each other. Wal-Mart’s efforts to gain a foothold in the borough have been vigorously repelled by the natives. In response, the Wal-Mart CEO had the following to say in a March interview with The New York Times.
“I don’t care if we are ever here.” With which gestures do you think New Yorkers let him know the feeling was mutual? “It’s too hard to make money here.” You don’t say. Nobody in New York ever worries about this.
The biggest criticism of Wal-Mart is that it ruins communities by pricing local retailers out of business while offering only low-paying jobs with no benefits. Another complaint is that Wal-Mart is just too big; even investors are grumbling about store saturation.
Put all this together and you have a very plausible conspiracy theory: Wal-Mart intends to transplant all of its stores to Manhattan, completely covering the island and forcing everyone and everything to leave.
They could assemble the stores and with a very large winch – available at Always Low Prices – lift them over the borough and just drop them. A considerable one-time expense, but it would be sweet revenge and a clever way to reduce by a large number the liberal media and union workers, two of Wal-Mart’s most pesky foes.
I’d like to propose a more constructive strategy. Move the stores to Tuvalu. Tuvalu is the fourth-smallest country in the United Nations, a collection of nine coral atolls halfway between Hawaii and Australia. At 10.04 square miles, the nation’s land mass is less than one third of Wal-Mart’s worldwide retail space.
Tuvalu has become a global warming symbol. The island’s high point is 16 feet above sea level, and some climate change models anticipate that rising ocean levels will likely swamp the nation and its 12,000 residents at some point in this century.
(Have you noticed that climate change research is full of “may,” “likely,” and “probably”? “Sea levels may rise ten feet.” “I may win the lottery this week.” “The planet will probably see air temperatures rise three degrees." "My husband will probably take out the garbage tonight.”). So for the environmental crowd and our fear-loving media, the plight of Tuvalu has become a favored citation of our certain doom.
The benefits of such a move would be considerable for the company. Labor costs would plummet and sluggish same-store sales growth figures would vanish. As a green maneuver, it would please and confuse liberals and at least for a time stop them from burning crosses on Wal-Mart’s lawns. As the only employer on the island, Wal-Mart would have considerable leverage over the local population. “They want unions? Let ‘em eat kelp.”
For the islanders, the benefits would be even more pronounced. In addition to full employment, adding the stores would raise the island’s elevation by at least 30 feet. Everyone could live in low-cost company housing built on the roofs. As sea levels rose, provisions would simply be moved to higher shelves, easily retrieved via low-cost trapdoors and ladders.
Wal-Mart Travel would deliver to the South Pacific - in low-cost planes and cruise ships - bereft American shoppers, longing for the opportunity to again experience Always Low Prices, and now in a spectacular single package destination. “It’s a small store, after all.”
Perhaps it would make sense to expand the operation to the nation of Nauru, also in the South Pacific and at 8.11 square miles even smaller than Tuvalu.
That would leave a few square miles of U.S. stores, which could be exported to the only two members of the United Nations smaller than these islands. At .75 square miles, Wal-Mart Monaco would replace Europe’s most fashionable casinos with a much-needed dose of low-end American retail, leaving plenty of store footprint for Wal-Mart Vatican City, featuring the PopePourri product line.
There are innumerable cost inefficiencies in The New Testament, what with fig trees that don’t produce fruit when desired and swine being cast into the sea. Imagine what Wal-Mart could do for all of us if it expanded its reach beyond the secular realm with the help of its new partners in Rome. Heaven is long overdue for re-branding.
The downside would be the loss of about 1.4 million American jobs. But the liberal politicians can solve that problem. And we can start complaining about Target.