Moving Forward
The Billboard 2.0

We’ve all seen billboards whether it be along the highway or in a big city. They all have one goal: to bring awareness to those who see it or to sell a specific product or service. It seems as we move further along in the 21st century, new emerging technologies are appearing year after year. On November 30th, a new interactive digital billboard was unveiled in London. 

This new billboard was sponsored by Reebok to launch its new ZigTech trainer shoes. The spokesperson for this campaign was Nicole Scherzinger, member of the Pussycat Dolls and won her season on Dancing With The Stars. A huge screen pictured Sherzinger in her new Zigtech trainer shoes. Then magically the billboard came to life. Nicole interacted with guests in real time while promoting Reebok as well. A two-way camera was attached to the digital billboard.

This new emerging technology brings the billboard to a new level of customer interaction. Being able to connect with the brand and customer in real time is a fascinating thing. Think of new type of billboard as a larger-than-life webcam bringing together people and the brand. Nicole answered questions live from audience members watching as well as modeled off her new Zigtech shoes from Reebok. 

“There is no greater way to get consumers talking about a product than having them interact with the product and its endorser in real life,” said said Marketing Director, Ocean Outdoor, Richard Malton

“Digital screens now allow advertisers to communicate a much deeper message and can be used to really innovate, as a media first this is fantastic and just demonstrates just what can be done with DOOH.”

Sources:

http://www.utalkmarketing.com/pages/Article.aspx?ArticleID=19755&Title=Nicole_Scherzinger_interacts_with_public_live_on_Reebok_billboard

Male Boston University students rank who’s ‘hotter’

A website where Boston University male students rank who they believe is hotter is causing a stir throughout the campus. RateBU.com received its inspiration from the movie The Social Network, where an idea before the launch of Facebook was very similar to RateBU.com. 

"When users go to a voting page, they are prompted to click one of two photos that appear side-by-side, seemingly at random, to indicate which of the two BU females is “hotter.” Results of that voting process apparently determine a top 25 ranking list. “So far 731,139 votes cast on 388 girls!,” said the rating site’s homepage Tuesday afternoon"(Greene). Apparently a male version of RankBU.com is currently in the works.

The users who upload the pictures are asked to provide first and last name, although the last name will never be displayed publicly via the website. 

Issues related to privacy are causing the most concern among students. Students are questioning where exactly the pictures are being uploaded from. They are also not fans of their peers judging them based on physical appearance. The university issued a statement lashing out against the site which “ “encourages a culture of judgment and objectification … an offensive website that does not accurately represent the views of the student body or the culture that the student body strives to create (Greene).

If the pictures are being uploaded from Facebook, according to their policy,  “When you publish content or information using the ‘everyone’ setting, it means that you are allowing everyone, including people off of Facebook, to access and use that information, and to associate it with you (i.e., your name and profile picture)” (Greene).

No comment was received by the student who launched RankBU.com.

Does this violate privacy issues or does Facebook’s policy support the situation?

Sources:

Site asking ‘who’s hotter’ among BU students causes stir

The Times They Are a-Changin’: Hello, Social Media

Social media is a worldwide phenomenon and keeps getting bigger and bigger. The world we know is becoming connected on a level not seen before. New relationships and information are forming and becoming available on a daily basis. Social media is I believe making the world a better place. After reading Erik Qualman’s fantastic book Socialnomics, there were three topics discussed in the book that I believe are game-changers in the industry of social media.

1. Social media has connected us to friends- old and new.

Forget your cell phone or even e-mail. The primary way in contacting people in today’s society is through Facebook. The phrase “Facebook me” is becoming more prominent in today’s language. Facebook has given the world a way to connect with old childhood friends, family, and new friendships we form along the way. Through Facebook I was able to reconnect with lost childhood friends who I haven’t talked to or seen in over ten years. If I wanted to reconnect with someone, e-mail or phone would be the best means of communication. Now with Facebook, I could just simply type in someone’s name (having requested them first as a friend), and see how that person is doing through status updates, photos, and profile information. AOL Instant Messenger is becoming obsolete due to Facebook’s chat integration.

2. The consumer is now in control thanks to social media.

Word of mouth is now becoming world-of-mouth. Companies today need to pay very close attention to what consumers are saying about their products or services. One negative Facebook post, tweet on Twitter, or video posted on YouTube can spread very quickly and have the Internet buzzing. If a company does not meet the news of it’s consumers, a way to lash out is through social media.

Take for example this story dealing with the children’s medicine Motrin. Two years ago, Motrin unveiled it’s new “Babywearing” ad and immediately after it aired on television moms on Twitter and YouTube were outraged and expressed their opinion via social media. Motrin eventually dropped the campaign and issued an apology on their website.

This is the power of social media.

3. Social media is the new information portal.

When breaking news happens people usually go to a television. Now with social media, the news comes to you the consumer. Twitter has become a powerhouse in the world of social media relating to news and events happening in the world. When one logs onto Twitter there are certain “tweets” or “trends” that are popular in real-time with Twitter users. In June of 2009, news broke out about Michael Jackson’s death via Twitter and Facebook before it was on news channels like CNN and MSNBC. I remember checking my Facebook and my newsfeed being inundated with news about Michael Jackson’s death. I wasn’t sure at first if this was a hoax or not,  but many of my friends were linking to credible sources when posting on Twitter or Facebook.

Families starring in their very own commercial, thanks to Disney. Please read post below.

Magically Integrated

Imagine one day seeing yourself and your family on a nationally televised commercial. It’s happening today thanks to the creative minds at Disney.

The Parks and Resorts Division at the Walt Disney Company are rolling out the red carpet and families just like your neighbors and friends or your very own family are Disney’s newest stars. 

Disney understands its guests and the emotions brought to life when they spend a magical vacation at their parks. So why not combine emotion and memory to create a fantastic campaign that resonates with families who have stepped through Disney’s magical gates? The campaign is called “Let the Memories Begin”.

Through various mediums on the Internet, guests simply create a username and password and upload a video, picture, or story explaining why this is their favorite memory while visiting the parks.  Guests can do this by submitting digitally on Disney’s Youtube, Facebook, and MySpace pages, as well as a website designed specifically for their new campaign.These families can then possibly see themselves on the many 15 second to 30 second commercials being shown right now throughout the country on television and online. The campaign doesn’t stop there, this is Disney afterall! There’s a little “something extra” Disney is planning to unveil to fully integrate this wonderful campaign.

Starting in 2011 at Walt Disney World in Florida and Disneyland in California, park guests each night can have the chance to see their photos in a larger-than-life spectacle. In Florida, guest’s photos will be projected on Cinderella Castle and at Disneyland the photos will be projected on the exterior of “It’s A Small World”. How awesome would it be to see you and your family’s photo being shown on one of the most recognized icons in the entire world? This is truly something only Disney can pull off.

Well done Disney, my hat goes off to you.

Ten Tips About Web Site Design

I recently read Seth Godin’s The Big Red Fez: How To Make Any Web Site Better for my graduate course on New Media. I found the book to be very interesting and could relate to many of the “negative” examples of a poorly designed site or feature to the site. Although some of these examples were based on the early stages of the “world wide web”, they are still relevant to today’s web designer. Here is a list of ten useful tips relating to web design.

1. Don’t make it easy for you, make it easy for me

Web engineers can create the most flashy, eye-catching website on the Internet, but if it doesn’t please its consumers, you have an ineffective website. Users want accessibility and know what they are looking for, especially if the user is a repeat customer to the website. If the website is not user-friendly it is worse for a first-time user because they will most likely not return to that website.

 Example: my.sbu.edu This website is for St. Bonaventure University students to check e-mail, register for classes, check their grades, etc. It is not very user-friendly due to countless and repeat log-ins to gain access to other parts of the website. The site also expires after a period of time retiring your session and also reaches a maximum number of “cookies” which after this fails to load any web pages.

2. Search engine problems

Searching for something on a website and having nothing show up in the results can have a negative effect on a user’s experience to your website.Example: It is especially odd if you are on a college website and you search “financial aid” and nothing appears after hitting search. They have a whole financial aid section on their website!

3. Registering for websites

 It is very annoying when users are on a website and trying to look up information and they have to register in order to use that website. It is just a ploy to end up on the website’s e-mail distribution list and they will send you endless e-mails.

Example:To even look at openings for jobs I had to register all my information (gender, income, education, etc.) After registering it turned out there were no jobs related to the field I was interested in.

4. Is the Internet like television?

Well today it really is. YouTube clips now have: 15 To: 30 ads that force the user to sit there while the commercial plays. Usually when this happens I minimize the window and do something else for the 30 seconds instead of staring at a pointless advertisement that doesn’t relate to me at all.

5. Thank you goes a long way!

 Simple two words mean the world to many customers. Amazon.com does an excellent way of continuing the relationship between the company and the customer post-purchase. As soon as you click “Submit Order” an e-mail instantly thanks you for your purchase. The e-mail also suggests other products similar to the ones you purchased that you might like in the future. Amazon also provides you with the necessary shipping information, as well as a new feature to send you text messages to update you on the tracking procedure of your order.

6. Pop-ups: Don’t use them.

 This is probably the most annoying feature of a website or an advertisement. It can definitely grab your attention, but for less than split second. The pop-ups that are really annoying are the ones which you cannot click out of them, or the ones that take up the entire screen. It is an instant bad vibe from the customer because you are bugging them and telling them “look at my ad!!”

7. Screwing up: it happens to all of us.

Nobody’s perfect, and neither is Apple, Amazon, or Netflix. If something should go wrong on the company’s website, bad news, etc it is a great idea to instantly send an e-mail to all your customers explaining the situation at hand.

Netflix example: The Watch Instantly feature was down for a few hours one day and that very night I received an e-mail from Netflix explaining the situation. Netflix offered to add a 3% credit to my next bill for the inconvenience. I still love Netflix to this day.

8. Don’t make customers fill out their life story.

 Have customers fill out the basic information for which you can contact them like e-mail address and other information like name, phone number, and address; that’s it. Please do not ask them other frivolous questions that would just waste their time. Amazon.com does a great job of doing this: when you sign up for an account all you have to do is fill in your password and all your information is saved like billing/shipping address, credit card information, etc. Customers are done in a few clicks when ordering from Amazon.

9. Make a great first impression

Make your website inviting and not overpowering with information that intimidates or frustrates the customer. Make a separate page for first-time users and returning users. You want new customers to feel welcome to your website and that your website will help them fulfill a need or problem.

Example: GoDaddy.com This website has so much going on its homepage it is very hard to comprehend all the information being thrown at the customer. I couldn’t even find a “start” or a link to introduce me to it’s services.

10. Engage with your customers; they just aren’t numbers.

 Interact with your customers, see how they are doing, and send them e-mails that are related to them in some way. Amazon.com does this exceptionally well. Trans-Siberian Orchestra held a contest 3 or 4 years ago explaining on their website for their fans to orchestrate Christmas lights to their music. The winner received tickets to a show in Chicago. The many houses entered in the contest were critiqued by fans via YouTube as well as the company Symphony In Lights. Fans of the orchestra had a rocking time  showcasing their creativity with Christmas lights to the tunes of their favorite Christmas-with a-twist orchestra.