From Marketer to Blogista

From Marketer to Blogista

I never imagined myself writing a blog. Nor did I ever imagine myself actually LIKING writing a blog. I always thought that I wouldn’t know what to write about, or no one would actually care to read it. The idea of everyone having access to my candid thoughts made me feel way too exposed. This experience has helped me realize how fun blogging can actually be.

I chose the content of each blog carefully. I’ve always been really interested in marketing, and hope to have a career in it one day, so I knew I wanted to write about marketing campaigns. When I was reading articles on social media campaigns, I selected brands that I knew everyone would know about and have opinions about. I also received some recommendations from friends on interesting campaigns to write about. To further encourage conversation, I would end each blog post with questions to the viewer.

As I had expected, people don’t just stumble on to your page and leave comments, I had to promote my blog. At first, I resorted to Twitter and Facebook, encouraging my friends to check out my blog. This worked really well as my friends and family were all really supportive. But I wanted to generate traffic from people I didn’t know as well. I figured that once I was getting comments from random people on the internet, my content was sticky and people were actually interested in what I had to say. So, I promoted my blog all through out the internet. I posted, Reddit, Stumbleupon, Yahoo Answers, Blog Catalog, Blogarama, Flipboard, and frequently commented on other people’s blogs. To my surprise, this method actually worked! Almost half of the comments I received were from people I do not know. It was also really interesting to see that people were organically stumbling onto my blog through search engines like Google and Bing. Not only was I getting viewers in Canada, I was reaching people in the US, the UK, India, Ukraine, and 30 other countries!

I actually found myself obsessed over checking my stats everyday. WordPress does an amazing job of laying out all the information you could ever need to know about your blog. I also played around with the theme A LOT. I wanted to ensure that the theme I chose was simple and easy on the eyes, as well as really clearly showed where users can comment. One thing that I would have done differently is the timing of my posts, as I did not have a consistent schedule of when I would blog.

As the semester has come to an end, I actually have contemplated continuing to blog. It has been an eye-opening experience into the online world that I never would have done without a push!

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Turn Your Social Network into a Water Network

What was the last thing you spent $5 on? I’ll tell you mine – a coffee and a muffin from Williams. What if I told you that with just $5, UNICEF can give a child safe drinking water for 200 days. Crazy right? Such a small donation can provide so much. Clean water is such a commodity here that it is taken for granted, yet is not available for over 800 million people around the world. Really makes you put things into perspective.

The UNICEF Tap Project was developed early this year to address this issue. The campaign initially started in restaurants, where diners were asked to donate $1 for consuming the tap water which they normally get for free. This year, the campaign went social. Hosted on Facebook, the networks users are displayed as “taps” and their connections are “pipes”. By donating $5, the user can select two friends to release virtual water to. As the user grows the water network through the app, they are able to witness the impact of their donation as their web of connections carry water from friend to friend.

The app was further promoted with the help of YouTube and Twitter (#TapProject). Since 2007, the UNICEF Tap Project has raised more than $3.5 million for water and sanitation programs benefiting children in third world countries.

This is an excellent example of how the use of marketing and social networks can be utilized to make the world a better place. Leveraging the campaign on social media increases the reach and sharability of the cause. The instant gratification and use of gamification of the application makes it exciting for the user to see the impact they are making through their donation. The campaign even received support from big name celebrities such as Heidi Klum, Seth Rogen, Emmy Rossum, Kristen Bell, to name a few!

Do you believe that Facebook is the right platform to conduct fundraising on? The demographics of social media users tend to be a younger audience, who may not have the money to donate to charities. I know that I often have to pick and choose which charities I donate to. As much as I wish I could donate to all charities, as a “starving student” I have my own expenses, like my tuition fees, that I have to prioritize. Would other channels, such as events and direct mail be more effective in reaching the right audience?

Does this campaign make you reconsider your next $5 purchase?


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Two-Time Taylor Trouble

Two-Time Taylor Trouble

As I’ve mentioned before in the Durex Condom Emergency campaign, contests that allow user generated content are very risky to run. This is also evident with a contest by America’s sweetheart, Taylor Swift. An online contest was held to send Taylor Swift to perform at the school in the US that received the most votes on 4Chan and Reddit. This strategy failed when the school that received the most votes was the Horace Mann School for the Deaf. The school was then removed from the contest due to the cruel prank, but was awarded $50,000 as a consolation prize, and all students were given tickets to her next show.
Poor Taylor’s bad luck didn’t end there. She held another contest earlier this year through a local Boston radio station, where the winner would get a chance meet the singer in person. This contest was hijacked when a 39-year-old man used the help of the 4Chan community to get him the most votes.
Here is one of the creepy posts:

The contest was then terminated as the radio station claimed the contest had been compromised.

Neither situation ended well for Taylor. I do think that Taylor handled the first contest well with the hefty donation to the school and free concert tickets. She did not bow down to the internet prank and resolved the situation in a respectful way. However, I’m not sure I agree with the way they handled the meet and greet. I don’t blame Taylor for not wanting to meet this guy in person (I wouldn’t want to either) but was it really necessary to terminate the whole contest? Why not just award the prize to the runner up who abides to the contest rules?

Do you think Taylor handled these situations well?

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Google more than just a search engine

Google India released a online advertisement that has you reaching for a tissue. The 3-minute mini-movie tugs at viewers heartstrings by telling a tale of two elderly men, one in India and one in Pakistan, who had been childhood best friends. Separated by the partition of the two countries, the men had been out of touch for 66 years. With the help of the India-based mans granddaughter, and of course Google search, the two men are brought back together for an emotional reunion.

The video went viral on social media in the two countries with over 2.5 million views, receiving comments like:

“Google brought nations together in 3 minutes 32 seconds. The politicians of both countries couldn’t do this in 66 years,”


“Wonderful campaign highlighting all the similarities and shared experiences instead of the differences,”

The campaign was developed with hopes to further push its products in India, such as Google Chrome, Google Search, and Google Maps – on both desktop and mobile.

I find that emotional advertisements are very effective in catching my attention and are usually the ones that resonate with me the most. I almost forgot that it was an advertisement for Google because the story line had me captivated. It definitely shows people how effective Google can be in doing pretty much anything you want.

Did the advertisement trigger an emotional response out of you, or do you find the story line a little too far fetched?

Do you think this was a risky move for Google to advertise on the sensitive topic of the India-Pakistan history?


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TOMS Gets Shady

TOMS Gets Shady

TOMS is famous for their do good approach to business. With every pair of TOMS shoes purchased, TOMS donates a pair of shoes to a child in need across the globe. The company has given out over 10 million pairs of shoes since 2006. But TOMS hasn’t stopped there..

On October 10th, TOMS launched a campaign for World Sight Day. They produced a limited pair of TOMS branded sunglasses, and for each pair purchased, TOMS would provide eye-care to a person in need. This could be through providing prescription glasses, medical treatment and even sight-saving surgery! TOMS challenged people to show their support and raise awareness for the visually impaired by “Being Shady”. People were encouraged to wear their shades in an unusual setting (e.g. in the mall, at the gym) and then share their photo via social media using the hashtag #BeShady.

I love the TOMS brand and their business model. I think they effectively use unique guerrilla marketing techniques, such as this campaign, and the “A Day Without Shoes” campaign to engage consumers. However, many people criticize that its “raising awareness” campaigns are merely just marketing ploys to raise the awareness of TOMS, and the “Buy one Get one” model actually fails to give people what they really need.

Have you ever purchased a pair of TOMS shoes? Was the “Buy One Get One” model one of the deciding factors of your purchase?

Would you participate in the #BeShady campaign on social media?


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Durex Condom Emergency

Another campaign gone wrong: Durex SOS Condoms.

In a recent attempt to increase Durex’s social media presence, the company launched an app on the App store. The app asked Facebook users which city they believe should get Durex SOS Condoms, a rush service which delivers condoms to those in need. Durex even promises to deliver it in a “discrete” and professional way.

The campaign went faulty when Durex failed to give the voters a predetermined list of cities to choose from. Instead, they let voters choose themselves, causing the leading “city” with the most votes to be “Batman.”

Although some people found the prank funny, others were upset. Durex accepted the fact that the campaign had been hijacked, and decided that the best decision was to close it down and move on.

In my opinion, Durex could have easily avoided this issue. They should have expected that launching a campaign with user generated content requires strong monitoring. They could have continued with the campaign, choosing the next best response that was a legit city. Better yet, a predetermined list of cities that the users could select from would have avoided this issue completely.

Do you think Durex handled the situation well? Was shutting down the campaign the best strategic decision?
Do you think the app would have been a success? Or do you think Durex was promising too much?


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McDStories turns into a McDistaster


People either have a love or hate relationship with McDonalds. Although they possess many customers who are brand advocates, they also have many haters.

This became apparent in their twitter campaign, where they launched the hashtag #McDStories with promoted tweets, hoping that their brand advocates would write in, expressing their feel good stories about McDonalds.

This was a risky move for McDonalds. They have already taken a lot of heat from the myths about their quality of their food, and the Twitter campaign just escalated it. People began using the hashtag as a medium for their McDonald horror stories:


The campaign was quickly pulled once they saw the responses. According to Rick Wion, McDonalds social media director, there were 72,788 mentions of McDonald’s overall that day so the traction of #McDStories was a tiny percentage (2%) of that. However, due to the nature of crowd sourced content, it never fully disappeared. The hashtag #McDStories still lives on twitter today.

Personally, I do not eat much at McDonalds. But when I do, I know what to expect – greasy, fattening, poor quality food. What do you expect when your whole meal comes out to less than $3.99? Yes, I believe that the idea behind the Twitter campaign was poorly chosen, and the McDonalds bashing to this extreme could have been easily avoided. But this does not drive me to choose another fast food, say Wendy’s or Burger King, over McDonalds instead. I believe if any fast food place were to launch a similar campaign, their results would be the same.

For the McDonalds lovers – Does seeing these tweets make you less likely to grab your next lunch at McDonalds?

Are your #McDStories heart filled or horror filled?


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Would you Share a Coke?


Coca-Cola has always been a leading company in evoking an emotional response from its customers, as we saw earlier this year from their Security Camera campaign.

In the UK, Coca-Cola is giving customers a chance to get a personal experience by printing people names on the Coke bottles. They chose 150 of the most popular names, and created bottles with the labels reading “Share a Coke with [Name]“. The purpose of the campaign is to encourage customers to connect with one another by seeking out and purchasing the names of their friends or family and “Share a Coke” with them. The campaign also had a Facebook application, where users could create and share a virtual Coke for their friends.

The results were huge. Within 3 months, Coca-Cola has seen its Facebook community grow by 3.5% and globally by 6.8%. The hashtag has also been used 29,000 times on Twitter.

In my opinion, I believe that the campaign is brilliant. It gives Coca-Cola a chance to get personal with their consumers and make them feel special. People will buy key chains, pencils, jewelry, and more products that are personalized with their name on it, so why not a Coke bottle too? Not only did they launch a campaign that would attract their core target market (ages 18-25), but it is attractive to people outside of that age group as well. It also connected the online world through user generated content to blow up on social media.

Would you be more inclined to buy a Coke if it was personalized with your name / friends name on it?
How about the people who’s names were excluded? Would they react negatively to the campaign?


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