Category Archives: Marketing

Attack Watch

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Ahh, it’s campaign season.  And, the Obama for America re-election campaign is once again using social media to rally the masses, however this time it’s taken a much different tone.

Obama for America has launched a new campaign, called Attack Watch (Attackwatch.com and @Attackwatch).  This website and Twitter feed, sponsored by the re-election campaign, is dedicated to dispelling campaign “lies” touted by Obama’s opposition.

“Obama for America national field director Jeremy Bird said the site offers “new resources to fight back,” including policy issue pages that fact check statements by Obama’s Republican opponents with links to “evidence” to back them up.” – ABC News

The Attack Watch campaign’s slogan “Get the facts. Fight the smears.” is shown at the top of the website where users can “report an attack” on the President, the administration or its policy.  The campaign is also encouraging followers to do the same via hashtag #attackwatch on Twitter.

While I have no problem with Obama rallying supporters for his re-election efforts, Attack Watch reeks of 1984’s “Big Brother.”  And, dare I say, when the administration launches a website called “Attack Watch” mere days after the 10th anniversary of 9/11, it may be misconstrued by many and strike fear in some.  This does not seem to be the type of dialogue that makes social media successful.

“This is a public relations disaster of the highest order. The acumen with which Obama’s team used the Internet in 2008 has become a joke today; someone should have known that an invitation to report dissent online would become an invitation to increase that dissent.” – Ology website

#AttackWatch is trending on Twitter with over 100 tweets a second, however response is not what the Obama campaign expected:

@meredithdake: “By going on offense w/ #AttackWatch Obama inadvertently gave the public a campaign-approved outlet 2 mock him in 140 characters or less.”

@JasonMKates: @AttackWatch #attackwatch is one of the funniest PR disasters in recent politics. Like telling on my brother and then getting beat for it.

@stephenkruiser: Gosh, color scheme for #AttackWatch doesn’t scream “creepy totalitarian WE’RE WATCHING U regime” at all.

@shiftzz: Hey #AttackWatch.. One of our programmers is using GOTO statements. Please make him stop!!!!!

@JMZygiel: My neighbor has a perry sticker on his car. sent FBI now. he might be a hobbit.  #attackwatch

@caldodge: #attackwatch – This woman is damaging Obama’s rep by spending millions of govt dollars on vacations. Please arrest her at 1600 PA Ave, DC

@BradThor: Is #attackwatch just another incarnation of flag@whitehouse.gov?  Wow, not only are #Obama & Co. incredibly thin-skinned, they’re paranoid.

@RyanC_Gorham: @AttackWatch I was told that if you were elected we would receive candy and unicorns, received neither #attackwatch

We can only imagine what is being sent to the website.

Here is the Attack Watch parody commercial from YouTube:

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Just Ask Your Kids…

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I think this is brilliant.  As a tech marketer, I think the most important aspect of marketing communications is to keep the explanation of technology as simple as possible.  Sometimes, we get too caught up in the bits and bytes, speeds and feeds, and forget the true value of what we are delivering.  Technology wouldn’t mean anything unless it helped people produce, create, communicate, develop – cheaper, faster and smarter. 

I hear people all the time say, “My kid knows more about [fill in the blank – social media, web design, networking] than I do.”  So, why not have children explain cloud computing?  One of the most complex – yet easy – themes in technology today.  That’s exactly what Accenture did in the YouTube video below – have the digital natives explain it to us old folks. 

TabCo Reveals Itself

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In July, I had mentioned that a “company” called TabCo was using social media to build hype for their tablet launch on August 15.  Well, the time has come – and TabCo is…drumroll….Fusion Garage.  huh?  who?  A long way from the Google, Nokia and Cisco guesses that people had.

Fusion Garage announced two products today: the Grid 10, a 10″ tablet; and the Grid 4, a 4″ smartphone/mini-tablet.  Both sport the new GridOS, based on the Android kernel, and support Android applications.  Both Grid devices also have seamless state allowing you to sync content while moving from one device to another or to your desktop, and “the Wheel” –  a pop-up menu that allows the basic cut/copy/paste functions as well as delivering automatic search recommendations, product reviews, Wikipedia entries, etc.

I’m more interested in the marketing aspect of this launch – so, if you’d like to know more about the product itself, you can read PC Magazine’s article about Fusion Garage and their products.

As for their multimedia marketing, this could be another lesson in the “You Can’t Force Viral” chapter.  At the end of the day, the WhoisTabCo channel on YouTube had total upload views of 214,893 and only 291 subscribers; and the WhoisTabCo Facebook page had 1,503 fans.

However, their hype did force PC Mag, ZDNet, Gizmodo, Engadget and others to immediately publish stories about the products – albeit somewhat prematurely since none of them have received the Grid – which likely would not have happened if the tech writers knew it was the maker of last year’s panned JooJoo tablet.

So, did Fusion Garage’s campaign accomplish what it was set out to do?  Likely not.  I don’t think the buzz hit as many viewers as they would have liked.  But, in an over-crowded tablet market, for a company with a blemished reputation, they did get some early publicity that would have likely not happened without their “Who is TabCo?” campaign.

Beautiful QR Codes

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QR (Quick Response) codes are two-dimensional bar codes that can be read by smartphones with cameras.  They look like a Rorschach ink-blot test when you first see them.  QR codes have become more common in magazines and catalogs to point people to sites for more information.  Rather than having to remember and retype a URL, you can simply scan the QR code with your phone and go directly to the site.

I love this article by Mashable on creative QR codes.  Companies are starting to get very innovative in making these codes look more like art and less like an eye-test.  Just look at this QR code made from M&M candies from QR Arts!

Fake Apple Stores

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This is another one that happened last week, that I just don’t want to lose track of.

The blog, BirdAbroad, posted an entry on July 20 where she exposed fake Apple Stores (or Apple Stoer) in Kunming, China.

She’s also started another post where she’s asking her now HALF MILLION! readers to send her pictures of other fake Apple Stores.  Pictures have come in worldwide from Venezuela to Croatia, and some even from the United States.

On Monday, ZDNet reported that Chinese authorities have discovered five fake stores and have closed two so far.

Amazing – we’ve had quite a bit of attention on brandjacking online, but who knew it could be this blatant?

Who Is TabCo?

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I am very intrigued by the marketing campaign for a new tablet launch taking place on August 15.  Why?  Because they are relying completely on social media to build hype for this device.  In fact, they aren’t even telling you who they [the company] are.  Sight of the product unseen, they had grown to over 16,000 twitter followers in just 3 days (they are now over 22,000…not astounding, but not shabby).  Their followers post things like

i cannot wait for august 15th… this tablet better be good. #tabco @AgentMomost

I’m just loving all these hypes this @WeAreTabCo is creating! 🙂 #TabCo @aminulahsan 

It all started last week when they sponsored #TabCoTakesNewYork on Twitter and posted the following on YouTube:

On Wednesday, July 20, they started sending pizzas to tech bloggers and magazines with “8/15/11” spelled out in pepperoni.

Then, they liked the word “Swipe” on Facebook, which caused even more buzz.

They have a website, to feed the hype.  It says very little nothing.  Speculation says it’s Nokia/MeeGo.  I personally wouldn’t count out Cisco or Google, even though I don’t think this fits with their brand marketing.

My favorite tweet:

I know I should write about TabCo for the SEO but i’m not going to. ‘Viral’ videos make me ill! @chippy

Uh…ok.  Good press and bad press are all still press.

Some peeps on twitter are claiming “guerrilla marketing” and just a bunch of hype.  Either way – love it or hate it – it’s got people talking.