‘Useless Plastic Box’ on sale at Best Buy

A prankster put out a new product at Best Buy Stores in the Los Angeles area. The “Useless Plastic Box”.

This innovatively useless product was labeled as “Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of use.”

This reminds me of things my brother and I and our friends would have pulled off together.

 

via Best Buy Prankster Puts ‘Useless Plastic Box’ On Store Shelves Across Los Angeles – ABC News.

The power of “you”

you handUsing the word “you” can prompt action. Using the words “we” or “us” can prompt inaction or passivity.

I like how  worded it in her story at How to Kill A Persuasive Speech With One Tiny Word – Business 2 Community:

Mazur says that the the most important word in any presentation is “you” because it gets people to take action and responsibility for what you’re telling them to do.

It can also increase offenses and adds a sense of precocious demand to those who use it, but it can sure be effective!

Clever Marketing: Nothing replaces water

I love Denver Water’s minimalistic approach that is eye catching and effectively communicates their message: “Use only what you need.”  Below is one part of a wider campaign they did starting with a park bench.Only what you need

‘Use only what you need’.

See more of the marketing at  Nothing replaces water.

Packing Tips For Edward Snowden

Packing tips for Edward SnowdenPacking Tips For Edward Snowden

I appreciate how Christopher Elliott newsjacked the Snowden chase and brought himself into the current churning of the news machine with an article on potential packing tips for the ex-NSA contractor who is on the run.

To sum it up Elliott says Snowden should pack small and light and bring running shoes!

Read it all here….

 

Experience as an outsider

November 4, 1998

 

Being an outsider from what is considered the norm is, for most people, undesirable.  While most people want to be different from others, they do not want to be an outsider who stands out as someone who does not know or is unaware of cultural norms and values.

In 1995, a friend and I spent two months in South America.  Most of the time I was in Santiago, Chile, teaching English to first through sixth graders at a school.  I remember the first time my friend and I went to visit the school.

My friend Sam and I had purchased nice felt hats at a tourist market and decided to wear them to the school that first day.  We knew that we stuck out as foreigners but the hats did not help at all..  While the hats may have been in keeping with the traditional Chilean culture, we soon realized hats of that sort were not worn by very many people in the city.  We successfully became the object of many stares as we made our way down the street trailing our host.  When we got back from the school that afternoon we stored our hats for the remainder of the trip.  Continue reading

How A Pink Bowl Created Buzz

Just Salad's Pink Bowl Promotion

Just Salad’s Pink Bowl Promotion

Just Salad gave a great example of how to create buzz with people who already love their product: Faithful Customers.

They sent out 100 skip-the-line pink bowls to faithful customers and then promoted the concept and the buzz took things from there.

A happy Customer who blogged about his pink bowl experience!

Personally I’d never heard of Just Salad, but that may have something to do with me living in a third-world-country. However, I felt myself wishing I had a pink bowl from this restaurant and I could skip lines for a fresh salad! In fact, I think the TSA should  provide this sort of thing for lines at the airport! I can see it now…” Hey! You can’t cut in the line…Oh, sorry, I didn’t see your pink carry on bag. Come right on in!”

Ok, so that’s dreaming a bit. However, I think Just Salad did a great job of getting their name out there AND rewarding those who have been faithful to their business.

“For the cost of a bowl, shipping, and a free topping, $20? the small business reached thousands of customers and prospects.”

via How to Create Word of Mouth Magic | LinkedIn.

Overexposed: The Dim Future of Photojournalism?

D. Sharon Pruitt, taking photos of her daughter Hayley, is one of a growing number of amateur photographers who earn small fees for their work. From the NYT article referred to below

I’ve written about it before, but the future of professional photography as a solo art isn’t looking any more lucrative than it did several years ago. In fact things are becoming more specialized and “good” is becoming “good enough” for cash strapped newspapers, magazines, print and web venues.

In the NY Times story, “Image of a shrinking path”, talks about how professional photographers are being overwhelmed by the amount of stock images and cheaper competition from amateur photographers who are flooding the market for weddings, portraits and even magazine and print work. The photography market has become overexposed with cheap but quality digital cameras that even those with little or no training can use to make quality images that pass for most customers.

I agree that someone who was looking for a career as a studio, portrait or even journalism photographer isn’t going to find themselves in a hot market…however someone who is willing to wade into that field, be excellent at what they do AND diversify their imaging abilities they could find themselves in a good position to grow with a hybrid industry that is still in blossom: Still/videography

Three tips for up and coming photographers:

1) Be the best photographer you can be and find ways to be better.

Devin Graham’s Facebook profile image

2) Learn and shoot video too. Check out the likes of Devin Graham who is taking YouTube videos to a new level and making money doing it. Besides even for photojournalists, this is the digital age and videos are part of image reporting now.

3) Do what you love. If you don’t really enjoy the work and toil of photography, find a way to make it enjoyable or do something else that you  do love and go be the best at it!

 

The Importance of Intercultural Communication Skills

Why Intercultural Communication Skills are Important to Me

I have often heard people say, “The world is getting smaller.” Yes, in a sense it is true more people are coming into contact with different people as travel and communication across the globe increases Since each of us will, no doubt, be coming into contact with someone from a culture different from our own, it is necessary for us to be able to communicate.  If we are unable to communicate with other cultures, we will become completely centered on our own culture and miss out on the blessings and ideas found in other cultures.

Intercultural communication is important to me, not only to gain from other cultures, but so I can understand others better.  Each person I meet has different backgrounds and a culture different from my own.  Whether as part of an occupation or in a friendship, understanding differences in culture helps me to be more understanding and enjoy the value of our different qualities. Continue reading

Carefully newsjacking your way into the public eye

Looking for that news hook? Newsjacking may be exactly what you’re looking for!

Read David Meerman Scott’s book…’cause he wrote the book on Newsjacking! His perspective on connecting news stories with your product or business can be a great way to get yourself in the public eye. Just be careful what news you jack or you could end up with a black eye.
On Nonprofitmarketingguide.com, Kivi Leroux Miller describes how how you can get yourself in the second paragraph of news stories if you learn how to respond quickly to the news of the day!

It works like this: a news story breaks. Journalists are under pressure to update that story for the next edition or broadcast. So while the core of the story (the first paragraph) doesn’t change all that much, the second paragraph does, with additional details or insights or related quotes. That’s your chance to swoop in with something a reporter can use that’s related — but not necessarily essential — to the main story to freshen it up. Then your part of the story gets repeated as other media outlets pick up the story. ~ Miller

Newsjacking can be done by commenting on the newstories and hopefully getting picked up like Remco described in the comments here.

I prefer the idea of having a relevant connection to the story that is interesting enough that it caches the attention of the reporter. It’s OK to use a bit of humor with this as long as you don’t go overboard, You can even newsjack serious stories as long as you keep them in good taste.

Here are some great examples from Scott’s book

I love how the London Fire Brigade newsjacked the story of Kate Winslet saving Richard Branson’s 90-year-old mother from a fire.

Oakley Sunglasses did a great job of newsjacking when they jumped on an opportunity to give glasses to the sun sensitive 33 Chilean miners. They each received Oakley Radar sunglasses to protect their eyes as they exited the mine after their long ordeal below ground.  Estimates say that Oakley garnerd about $41 million in promotions for the $6300 worth of product they donated.

Newsjacking  can be a great way to tie-in your organization to the latest news, but just be wise about how you use this technique. There will eventually be a news story that relates to your organization but it may be one you want to stay away from or at least be really careful how you tie-in to it. For example, if the local pound burns down, announcing your hot dog dinner to raise funds to spay and neuter dogs in the county would be less than advisable.

Have you newsjacked a story? Tell me how you did it in the comments below!

~ M