Archive for April, 2010

I opened my mailbox yesterday on my way into my building to find a coupon from the nearby Boston Pizza on 17th Avenue in Calgary. The coupon includes deals for a free starter, $5 off a $25 order, 25% off all burgers and 25% off any pizza. I haven’t been there in awhile, I think I’ve maybe stopped in twice in the last year.  The coupon is now a good reason to visit Boston Pizza the next time I’m out.

When I reached my apartment, I opened up my laptop and booted up Twitter.  One of my more recent follows has been @WESTCalgary, the newest place to be downtown.  @WESTCalgary is doing a fantastic job of using Twitter to promote themselves.  Currently, they’re asking trivia questions about the restaurant like “What movement & artist inspired our 60′s Room The Twist?”  The first correct answer won a $50 gift card.

I looked down at the printed coupon from Boston Pizza.  It doesn’t ask me trivia questions. And it doesn’t show up at just the right time (like on my fifth checkin) the way, perhaps, a Boston Pizza Foursquare deal would.

I mulled this over a bit more, imagined what it would be like to have my neighbourhood Boston Pizza respond to my complaint about the temperature on a hot summer day with an @reply on Twitter like “You could come enjoy a nice cold bevvy on our patio.  How about $5 off your order?”  In the back of my mind, a lyric from a Powerman 5000 song surfaced,  “now this is what it’s like when worlds collide.”

A deal targeted directly to me at just the right time in a non-intrusive fashion.  That would be the best of both worlds.  But we’re not quite there yet.  The online participants get the online crowds.  The offline methods still work for the offline folks.  So while I wait for the rest of the world to catch up, it looks like I’ve got some coupons to use.  Who’s in for a pizza?

I’ve just finished the introduction to the book “Groundswell” by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff of Forrester Research.  Yes I know, I should have read this long ago.  But my list of books to read is long, and my time short, so I’m just getting to it now.

The introduction talked about many instances where an individual posted something that a company or brand didn’t like, the company or brand followed up with a request that these such instances be removed, resulting in what has been deemed the “Streisand Effect“, where instead of disappearing, the instance multiplies faster than anyone can keep up with it.

The introduction also talked about GM and Bob Lutz’s foray into blogging as a means of connecting directly with consumers.  The book notes that as the blog built momentum, anyone searching for a GM related term would likely come up with the GM blog post relating to that term if one existed.

The likelihood of an individual producing something about a company or brand they like or don’t like is much higher in today’s online world than ever before.  And if the brand isn’t the authority figure for their content, who is?  Or who will appear to be?

After finishing the introduction, I came across an example.  Songs and jingles from my past tend to appear in my thoughts as if from nowhere.  Today I was humming the Juicy Fruit song… you know the one…

“Juicy Fruit… it’s gonna move ya… A touchy kinda rhythm… you’ll feel right through ya… Juicy Fruit… the taste the taste the taste is gonna mooooove ya!”

It’s a catchy tune.  And, as I do with all catchy tunes, I went in search of the Juicy Fruit song on YouTube so it could be posted to my Facebook profile for all to enjoy.

The first result that came up was the following:

Ten year olds making a video about the way they think Juicy Fruit commercials should be.  It’s not exactly brand slandering, but they beat out Juicy Fruit for the most relevant video.   The video has gotten over 18,000 views.  And guaranteed anyone searching for the Juicy Fruit song on YouTube will find it too.  We can’t stop it, the online world is all about user generated content.  It’s part of what makes sites like YouTube such a success.

Not too far down the page, I did find the Juicy Fruit song from a 1981 commercial:

But seeing the 10 year olds first gave me pause long enough to wonder how many companies out there aren’t being proactive in this space?  By proactive, I mean joining in the conversation (in the medium by which the user is participating – via blog, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, etc.) before an event forces them to join the conversation (a la Motrin Moms).  It’s the internet and people talk.  You can’t just ignore the conversation, you can’t smother it, but you can join it.  And so long as you’ve got a presence, the online world seems willing to listen (if you’re reasonable).   But if you haven’t, they’ll listen to whoever’s talking about you and leave it at that.  So what will it take?  What out there is “gonna move ya” into this space instead of dragging you by the heels?

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I just finished watching the video and reading the article about the first Edmontonians to own an iPad.  The article was interesting, watching a demo and the review of the iPad from Reg Cheramy, an “an unabashed technophile and founder of Edmonton’s Edistorm software company,” says the article by Taylor Bendig was a perfect start to my morning.  I thought I would wait for the second generation iPad to come out, but seeing it in action makes me want one right now instead. 

After digesting the article and excitedly passing on the link to my co-geek in the office, I turned to the comments.  There were 57 of them on the video.  Now, on the blogs I read, there’s typically some interesting points and discussions going on when there’s that much commenting happening.  I skimmed the first page of comments on this article and they’re all crap.  Things like:

The number dont add up… let’s put to the most expensive senario on this article ipad 600$ plus 200 shipping plus 200 custom plus 125$ gift for service = 1125 not 4000$ i guess they mean total invoice for 6 peoples was 4000$

“[...]game-changing device”
“[...]whole new level of computing”
“I don’t think we know why this is gonna be so awesome”
This fella is a real laugh riot. Mr. Cheramy takes the cake for uninformed zeal. The iPad has a pleasant appearance but it’s still a slate device and has every one of the deficiencies other hefty slates are prone to. It’s too heavy to hold for an extended length of time, iffy wifi connectivity, and has rather low and un-extensible specs. The screen is gorgeous and responsive but why would one pay $4000 for what equates to an e-Reader that can tweet (when it can manage to connect to the ‘net)?
But hey, it’s his money to waste and his time to brag about it like a fool.

Reg….. why don’t you pay 4,000 and get a LIFE buddy!!

Reg is the lamest person on the earth to go out and buy the ipad, just so he can he have it before anyone else!!

Get a life buddy!! There is more to life than stupid apple products!

it should be called iSHEEP!!! Bunch of followers who can’t think for themselves!!

It goes on, but you get the idea.  Oh, and each of the commenters is anonymous.  What’s the point of allowing comments if that’s all that comes out of it?  I’ve come the the same conclusion of other news sites, like CBC’s website.  The Grandpa Simpsons of the world come out to puke uselessness that nobody wants to read anyway. 

I think it’s time commenting had a makeover, preferably back to it’s origins where it was meant for discussions and alternate view points that were thought provoking and intelligent, not somebody’s outlet because they don’t like themselves and feel the need to put down everyone else around them.  Can we please require people to identify themselves prior to the mindless dribble?  Radio shows don’t let just anyway phone in and go on and on about how lame their guest is, so why is it okay for news sites to let the public slash someone they’ve just written an article about without moderating it first for intelligence and good taste?