60 posts categorized "viral"

June 25, 2008

Activism through virial video

How do you get the word out about your cause if you have a limited advertising budget and you really don't have a media budget? The YouTube blog has put together a play list of some of the best "activist" viral videos on YouTube.

Here are some of my favorites:

Picking fruit in LA. Not the most exciting video but a cool concept. Who knew so much edible fruit was for free there?

Um, for your guys out there, check yourself:

If you like that, there is more of it here.

What's your favorite?

- Paul Herring

May 02, 2008

Be Joseph Jaffe. Fight Cancer.

Do You Want to Be Joseph Jaffe?

  1. Download and print Joseph Jaffe's Name Tag (PDF 408Kb).
  2. Take a picture and upload yourself holding it to this Flickr group.
  3. Upload a video of yourself saying "I am Joseph Jaffe." You can embellish this phrase however you wish. Katie had a novel approach (Language warning).
  4. Blog about it, including the picture. Link back to this post (That way I can consolidate them all for later and tally the results).
  5. Donate at least $25 to the Frozen Pea Fund to help find a cure for cancer.

The background:
Although he planned to attend, Joseph Jaffe became ill right before Blogger Social, and he was unable to attend. Several people in the room “faked” Jaffe’s presence through Twitter by claiming they observed Jaffe in various states of embarrassment.

(I got this information second-hand, though. I didn't read the posts personally.)

Also present was the family of Susan Reynolds, cancer survivor, inspiration to many, and the one who, along with Connie Reece, is responsible for the Frozen Pea Fund, an organization founded and promoted almost entirely through social media.

Montyauction Near the end of the event, crayon employee Scott Monty presented a check (courtesy of crayon client ooVoo) to the Reynolds’ family, for the Frozen Pea Fund, in the amount of $30,000. Once the excitement subsided, Monty made note of Jaffe’s absence and surprised everyone by auctioning off Jaffe’s name tag, with all proceeds going to the Frozen Pea Fund.

In short order, Geoff Livingston won with a $500 bid.

Geoff was sitting across from me at my table, and we discussed the possibility of letting anyone who wanted to be Joseph Jaffe for a day, for a $25 donation to the Frozen Pea Fund. Because of my proximity, I was the first to get the tag.

So what are you waiting for?
Download Joseph Jaffe's Name Tag. Fight cancer. Poke a little fun at one of the newest citizens of the U.S. Did I mention fight cancer? - Cam Beck

April 28, 2008

Monday Fun: How Big Are This Guy's Hands?

Thank you, Internet.

According to his YouTube page, Gerry Phillips has been playing songs on his hands for 38 years.

I'm going to work on being more open minded for when one of my kids shows off what might appear to be a funny party favor but useless talent. Perhaps it can be commercialized, after all.

- Cam Beck

Hat tip to John Keehler for providing the link.

April 07, 2008

Be a Leader by Getting Out of the Way

Untitled_2 Tim and Wendy McHale of Madison Avenue Journal kindly invited me to attend Ad:Tech in the hopes that I would extend my meager observational talents to review some of the finalists for the "People's Choice Awards."

I know that some of you are thinking, "Cam, what qualifies you for this duty?"

As evidence of my expertise, I submit to you Exhibit A.

As you can see, I am, in fact, a people (The indefatigable Doug Meecham snapped that shot with me and my two friends, David Reich and Lewis Green).

For my first review, I took on the ever-popular ElfYourself. please do me the honor of heading over to Madison Avenue Journal and letting me know what you think. - Cam Beck

March 28, 2008

A Safety Video That Sticks

CK directed me to this little gem as a good example of a airline's use of the principles written in Made to Stick (Download our PDF review). It is Delta's new in-flight safety video. It does such a good job, it has even been featured in the Atlanta-Journal Constitution (feed readers click through).

My favorite part is the demonstration of the proper use of floatation devices. Watch it and see.

The authors of Made to Stick, Chip and Dan Heath, use the example of in-flight safety videos to make one of their points. I think they'd be impressed by this effort.

Question of the Day
How can you turn something familiar, bland and generally ignored into something fun and sought out, at last count, about 500,000 times? - Cam Beck

P.S. I'm taking a break from writing an economics post today to ensure I can give the next article adequate attention, but if you've been enjoying the subject, I encourage you to read Jalal's recent contribution to the discussion concerning Barack Obama's recent speech, which has implications on the concept of the free market.

March 14, 2008

The Art of Execution

Thanks to Mario Vellandi's Twitter post I stumbled across this execution that has viral possibilities (think Dove evolution) written all over it.  Let me know what you think of it as I don't want to spoil anything for you. - John Herrington

February 12, 2008

The Biggest Decision You'll Make this Year - John McCain

Today we embark upon Part 2 of a 4 part series covering all Presidential candidates left in the race (with a viable chance).  On Monday I reviewed Senator Clinton and next on the docket is Senator McCain.

Mccain_site Design

Logo – looks very familiar to an army of one. The single star, yellow and black all look rather similar.

Color palette – black, white, yellow, blue and a splash of red.  Overall this mix of the flag colorArmy_logo palette laced with army colors just doesn't look good.  It seems that he has two primary colors of blue and black and then two complimentary colors in yellow and red. Interesting that the black, yellow and white along with the star resemble the Army.  You think he’s trying to tell us something?

Personal pic – McCain appears to be having a good laugh while giving a speech.  His famous POW picture from Vietnam is firmly fixed on the main hero section as well.

Navigation – the site has a typical top navigation bar which is mirrored at the bottom of the page.  Site map is also present. Secondary and tertiary pages have breadcrumbs which makes navigation very easy. A search feature is buried at the bottom of the homepage but it is also present in the secondary side navigation.

Mccainfleece_small1_4 Calls to action – Donate (2), Join (2), Online Store (3) this seems on par with what any candidate should be trying to do, raise money and support.  The three links to the Online Store is funny because they’re selling stuff like this $200 fleece.  That's right, a fleece you could get monogramed for $30 is being sold for a "Suggested Contribution" of $200.  Now, I understand that they're trying to raise money, but nothing else in the store has this ridiculous kind of markup.  For example, a scarf will only cost you $20.

Order of importance – based on navigation

  1. Home
  2. Get Involved
  3. About
  4. News & Media
  5. Issues
  6. Events
  7. Undecided?
  8. McCainSpace
  9. Blog
  10. Contribute

Order of importance – based on layout

  1. Ready to lead on day one
  2. Governor Jeb Bush Endorses Joh McCain*
  3. Why John McCain
  4. On the Issues
  5. Donate (2)
  6. Join (2)
  7. Chesapeake Primary February 12
  8. John McCain at CPAC
  9. McCain Online Store (3)
  10. In the states
  11. 2008 Delegate Counter
  12. In the News
  13. Supporter Spotlight
  14. Poll
  15. Straight Talk Express

What’s missing - when they picked the colors for the site it looks like they were conflicted with being a maverick or towing the typical presidential colors.  They tried to be a risk taker while being conservative and the result is just plain ugly.  The Clinton site isn't risky but it still looks nice.  They need to choose one or the other, but trying to be both is a disaster.  Furthermore, the contribute page takes you to a secure page but the only way to get back to the rest of the site is to click on the McCain logo as they didn't include the rest of the top level navigation. In addition, it seems that the campaign is trying to make everything on the homepage the hero, which as we all know, makes absolutely nothing the center of attention.  When you first look at the site it's extremely difficult to know what to look at first.  Simplifying the main hero section would do wonders for the site.

*If you take a look at the screenshot you'll see that the promo for Jeb Bush's endorsement says "Governor Jeb Bush Endorses Joh McCain." When I first saw this I thought that it might be some sort of acronym for McCain like GOP (Grand Ole Party), but 2 hours later, they updated the typo.   Sorry for the pun, but this is bush-league.

Seal Rating:
Seal_2 Seal


Get involved - if you chose to signup you can create a McCainSpace personal website, customize the appearance of the website (coming soon) and receive additional information about exclusive events and appearances.  It's interesting that McCain is encouraging people to set up their own social network (which other candidates are doing as well) while not paying any attention to the social networks that already exist with millions of users.  Well, he has a presence on MySpace, Facebook and Eons, but he doesn't mention it on his site.  This seems like a major oversight to connect people that are visiting the site with these networks.

About - I realize that this is the section that should have pictures of Senator McCain, but c'mon, is it really necessary to have 13?  We're not talking about a long page either.  There isn't that much copy and yet they've managed 13 pictures of McCain in the copy and in the promo areas.  Conversely to what his campaign manager will tell you, you can have too much of McCain.

News & Media - this section is up-to-date and has news, press releases, op-eds, endorsements and speeches.  Each section only shows the top three results with the option to read more.  I like the fact that I'm not inundated with thousands of stories and I get to see the most recent posts in bite-sized nuggets. All of the information is housed on the site which is a nice plus in that I don't have to go out to other sites to read.

Issues – specifically calls attention to War in Iraq, Taxes & Economy and Health Care Plan.  This seems like a good tactic since these seem to be the hot-button topics for this election.  People can look at these issues and quickly decide if McCain is their choice.

Events - this, like all of the other navigation items, is rather self-explanatory.   They provide What, When, Where, Start and End time along with providing a way for you to find your voting election.  You can email, print, digg and add to deli.cio.us each event.

Undecided? - this section is basically the Readers Digest version of the site.  There is a video, Why John McCain and then About John McCain which links back to the About page.  I like this tactic as it allows you to quickly see what McCain has staked his candidacy on. 

McCainSpace - on McCainSpace you can set up your own website. This seems like a good idea if you want to network with other supporters, but it doesn't do much for reaching those that are uninterested in his campaign. I don't understand the fascination with trying to create a new social network when you could be effectively reaching millions on MySpace, Facebook and Eons.  Users like to join networks that their friends are already a part of, not a network that they have to ask their friends to join unless the new network has something far superior to offer them. Maybe I'm wrong, but something tells me that McCainSpace isn't offering them anything special.

Blog - this blog is updated roughly every four days on average.  With the amount of things that are going on in the campaign, every four days is really weak when it comes to a blog. There are many posts that have thousands of comments on them and kudos to the campaign for not snuffing out negative feedback.

Delegate Counter - this is a nice item to have on the homepage, as I can tell where McCain stands in the race.  McCain, Romney and Huckabee are listed along with the number of delegates that McCain needs to win.  Of course, Senator McCain has nearly 3 times as many delegates as the next closest competitor, so one might argue that having a delegate counter is always great to have listed so prominently on your site whenever you're #1.  I say, however, that if you're #1 you need to display that with pride.

In the News - this is fed in from the news section as it take the three most recent items from news, press releases and speeches.   I like seeing this on the homepage instead of having to go to the news to peruse.

Supporter Spotlight - a simple flash element that cycles through high-profile endorsements.  I don't claim to be the fastest reader around, but the timing of the flash is too quick to be able to read the entire quote.

What’s missing
- I wish the Issues section actually gave more insight into where McCain stands without having to click on Read More.  Unfortunately, the teaser copy doesn't really provide any information at all, but instead loads up the reader with boring political rhetoric.   

Seal Rating:
Seal_3 Seal_4Seal_5

Use of technology

MySpace - 44,931 friends, 5,814 comments.  (Hillary 182,641 friends, 18,691 comments)

Facebook - 59,342 supporters, 5,804 wall posts (Hillary 110,460 supporters, 37,456 wall posts)

Eons - 3 friends, 0 badges (Hillary 297 friends, 3 badges)

YouTube - 2,613 subscribers, 589,518 channel views, 166 videos uploaded (Hillary 9,829 subscribers, 1,304,419 channel views, 252 videos uploaded)

What’s missing - I find it interesting that McCain is on these four networks (and most likely others) but he only links to his YouTube and Veoh channels with a logo on his multimedia page which is listed under News & Media.  While McCain has profiles on MySpace, Facebook and Eons it seems like someone told them they had to be on the social networks but they didn't really have any strategy or maintenance plan in place.  Once again, not being on Twitter is another missed opportunity.

Seal rating:Seal_6


In conclusion, Senator McCain's site has some nice features but overall feels archaic mostly because of the design.  For the homepage they've taken the Microsoft approach and thrown as much as possible at the visitor.  It's basically sensory overload but thankfully the secondary pages aren't as busy.  The main takeaway that I get from the site is that John McCain is established, courageous and a former POW.  While they've done a great job with naming links, using breadcrumbs and not making users go out to additional third party sites, the design just feels so old-fashioned that it brings down the whole site.

Overall Seal Rating:Seal_8Seal_7

February 11, 2008

The Biggest Decision You'll Make this Year - Hillary Clinton

Candidates_2 As we move forward from Super Tuesday, it seems necessary to reflect on all of the candidates present at this juncture and dive deep into what they stand for.  What makes them tick?  What makes them someone that we're willing to put our hopes and dreams into their hands for safekeeping?  Of the many things that make up someone's personal brand, their web presence speaks volumes as this is one avenue that is always speaking to the public.

So, with that, I've decided to do an in-depth analysis of each candidate's brand in a 4 part study of the candidates that actually have a shot at this point.  (This was going to be 3 parter, but Chuck Norris threatened me with a viscous round-house to the face, so I reconsidered Huckabee).

I've ranked each site on three categories (Design, Content and Use of Technology) and scored the candidates accordingly on a 5 presidential seal scale.

Today, we start with Senator Clinton.

Hillary_site_2 Design

Logo - rather trite..."for President" makes me think this is the same logo she used when running for the Senate, she just changed "Senate" to "President". Maybe some of that $5MM that she loaned herself could've gone towards a better logo.

Color palette - Primary colors of surprise surprise, Red, White & Blue...yawn.  Visually appealing, but not inspiring.

Personal pic - not flattering, the upshot of the double-chin is not the Senator's best look, however the official headshot is very nice.

Navigation - a standard top nav layout. Right side promo panel on secondary pages is not consistent. No sitemap available.  Pagina Bilingue (En Espanol option always visible. The site is clean and devoid of clutter. Overall, it's easy to navigate around the site and find what you're looking for.

Calls to action - Contribute (3), Join (2).  This seems about right as any candidate is in the market for raising money and soliciting votes.

Order of Importance - based on layout

  1. Contribute (3 giant red buttons)
  2. Join Our Team (hero and top right header)
  3. Latest Videos
  4. On the Blog
  5. 5 Things You Can Do
  6. HillaryHub.com
  7. Women for Hillary
  8. The Fact Hub
  9. Hillary Gear
  10. Social Networks
  11. Hillblazers

Order of Importance - based on navigation

  1. Home
  2. Hillary (About)
  3. Issues
  4. Take Action
  5. Newsroom
  6. Blog
  7. Video
  8. States
  9. Contribute

What's missing - The design of the site is just ho-hum, in my opinion, and really lacks any personality.  Of course, maybe that's the goal, to play it safe, but that doesn't exactly inspire me.  In addition, the design lacks cohesiveness because there are sister sites that don't have the same look and feel as hillaryclinton.com.  I'd love to see more of Hillary's personality represented visually and with copy.  If we're going to "Make History" by voting for her, I'd like to feel that emotion when I visit the site.

Seal Rating:Seal_5Seal_4



Hillary (About) - good mini-timeline of Hillary's background, along with videos from backers along the way.  Concise and easy to read in chunks.

Issues - each issue is framed with her viewpoint in the title.  Instead of "Foreign Diplomacy" she has "Restoring America's Standing in the World".  When clicking on an individual issue, there should be links to be able to get to the next/previous issue without having to use the back button.

Take Action - this section is account driven, as you must create an account to utilize all of the features offered.  Actions include making phone calls, sending ecards to friends, starting a blog of your own, planning an event, finding an event, sending fundraising emails, and joining/starting a group.

Newsroom - releases are listed in blog-order fashion, most recent to oldest. This section includes photos, speeches, endorsements and links to HillaryHub. Speeches & Press Releases - should provide PDF and printer friendly version. Photos - Flickr slideshows.

Blog - maintained on a daily basis by backers, speaks to issues, strategy, rebuttal to attacks.  Easy to disseminate to friends via technorati, digg, del.icio.us, and email to friend links.

Videos - HillaryTV, theHillaryIKnow.com, and ads.  Lots of content here, good coverage overall.

States - Iowa and Nevada are obviously considered the most boring states due to one picture only for each instead of 3 like the other states.  Heck, Rhode Island even has a collage of 3 pictures.

What's missing - Interesting that there is no trace of a delegate counter.  It seems like this would be something that people going to the site would want to know.  For that matter, the hot items seem to be buried in the news section or on the separate HillaryHub site. 

Seal Rating:Seal_3Seal_5Seal_4


Use of technology

blogHillary - Updated daily by staffers / backers, technorati, digg, del.icio.us, email to friend links prevalent throughout site.

HillaryTV - videos load quickly, also uploaded on YouTube. Embed code is included for bloggers for easy posting to their site.

MySpace - 182641 friends, 18691 comments.  This isn't really a giant number as comedian Dane Cook has  2,273,543 friends and 259,858 comments.

Facebook - 110,460 supporters, 37,456 wall posts

Eons - 297 friends, 3 badges

Flickr - 3,100 photos

YouTube - 9,829 subscribers, 1,304,419 channel views, 252 videos uploaded

What's missing - After perusing the different social networks I don't really feel that I have a more in depth knowledge of Hillary Clinton as a friend.  I wish she'd post more pictures and give more insight into her life outside of the campaign trail so that I feel that I am her "friend".  Not being on Twitter is a huge opportunity missed.

Seal Rating:Seal_5Seal_4



After spending hours on the site, I feel like I know what Senator Hillary is about, what she believes in, what she currently needs from me and how I can get involved.  The design of the site is clean yet it feels like you could take out Hillary's picture and plug in any other candidate and it would work.  It just doesn't feel like there is anything special here.  The content on the site is robust, but I hate having to go to a separate site for news, Hillary gear, Hillblazers, and videos.  Each one of these sites has a different look and feel, which disjoints the brand. The campaign is doing a decent job of using new technologies by setting up profiles on MySpace, Facebook, and Eons, but I can't see why they wouldn't be microblogging through Twitter.  This is an untapped resource that Hillary should be using, along with all of the other candidates.  Overall, I'd say that the site is nothing spectacular, but considering websites in the political arena, this site could conceivably receive higher marks. 

Overall Seal Rating:Seal_3Seal_5Seal_4

Do you agree with my assessment?  Let me know what you think. - John Herrington

February 08, 2008

Malcolm Gladwell Under Fire: Marketers Miffed

Mgladwell_small_photo Witnessing the firestorm that erupted as a result of a Fast Company article, I've concluded that the quickest way to earn the ire of marketers is to trash Malcolm Gladwell and his breakthrough hit book about influence, The Tipping Point. The article has gotten so much attention that Fast Company's servers have been unable to handle the traffic.* Download an image of the error message.

I've already been participating in this conversation through the comments of other's blogs (and you'll probably have more luck accessing them than the Fast Company website), but since so many people are talking about it, I'm having difficulty keeping up, and if the topic is interesting to you, I'll bet you are, too.

To help us all, I'm posting links to some of the most interesting articles I've read on the subject:

I loved The Tipping Point and thought it was well written.

However, I recognized even while reading it that there was no possible way to conclude without any doubt whether Gladwell was right or wrong, based on the data that was being given.

Gladwell was convincing (as he usually is), and his conclusions "felt right," but he is susceptible to a particular type of non sequitur fallacy called post hoc ergo propter hoc, which is Latin for "After this, therefore because of this."

This is what it means:
In a given sequence of events, it cannot be concluded that the first thing caused the second (or some number thereafter).

So, in Gladwell's case, just because crime decreased after New York fixed the broken windows, it cannot be concluded that fixing the broken windows caused the decrease in crime. But it is an interesting theory.

At the same time, I'm not very impressed with Watt's computer models that led him to his conclusions, either. Computer models rely on someone to program certain uniform, finite rules to draw a conclusion about a reality where the rules of influence are more diverse and infinite.

To his credit, Watts completely realizes this limitation. From the Fast Company article:

"'My models might be totally wrong,' he says cheerfully. 'But at least I'm clear about what I'm saying. You can look at them, and tell me if you disagree. But none of these other thinkers are actually clear about what they're saying. You can't tell if they're wrong.'"

So what are we to think?
The conclusions each person draws lend themselves to tactical solutions, but perhaps the entire approach is wrong. Rather than deciding between mass marketing and targeting selected "influencers," just do what you love, and find other people who love (or can be convinced to love) the same things you do.

That way you don't have to worry about all of this, and Fast Company will get their servers back online. - Cam Beck

*I cannot conclude that the article in question caused Fast Company's server crash.

December 24, 2007

It's a Wonderful (Agency) Life

Merry Christmas! - Cam Beck

Hat tip to Spin Thicket for the video link.