Dr. Pepper 10 is Almost Everything Miller Light “Man Up” is Not

18 Oct

In my last post I ranted about how horribly dumb and sexist the Miller Light “Man Up” ads were.  This time around I’m going to praise Dr. Pepper for their clever and not nearly as sexist “It’s not for women” advertising campaign.

There is certainly no problem with marketing a product to a particular gender, be it men or women.  We often don’t have a problem with it because either both the product and how it is marketed falls within social norms or the message isn’t very overt.  Dr. Pepper 10 not only bends social norms it doesn’t apologize for it.  Typically diet soda (and most “light” or “diet” products) are marketed to women.  Take this as exhibit A.  So why not target men exclusively?

It might sound like I’m going against what I said with Miller Light, but stick with me here.  The big difference is that women are let in on this joke.  The commercial where an archetypical action movie star goes on a rant about how women don’t like things that men do is great.  Dr. Pepper has firmly planted their tongue in their cheek here.  They poke fun at guys liking stupid action movies that are cliché and full of mindless action. What they’re not doing is addressing a non-existent male identity crisis or mocking women.

Where Dr. Pepper does a great job with the overall attitude of the campaign, they fall pretty flat outside of the traditional television ads.  Their Facebook boasts a “10 Man-ments” section.  (Get it?  Like the 10 commandments.)  Here we get the typical “things that real men don’t do, but actually they do and no one really cares about.”  Take the commandment “Thou shalt not end a comment with a =)” for example.  Since when did emoticons become the symbol of femininity?  While I roll my eyes and sigh at the pitiful attempt to create extra buzz worthy content, I think they’re on the right track here.  Although I must say that I agree with the “man ment” about guys not  “puckering up” in pictures.  Anyone who does that needs to stop.  I don’t think it’s attractive…just saying.

So men, go forth.  Turn on the big game, throw your feet up, feast on greasy meats, and crack open a can of Dr. Pepper 10.  Just remember that when you’re significant other tells you to change the channel, put your feet down, get a napkin, and grab her a DP10, you better listen.

-Josh P Greenberg

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Miller Light Should “Man-Up” and Stop Their Ads

13 Oct

At what point does a company pull the plug on an advertising campaign that no one likes (assuming they’re able to swallow their pride for a minute)?  Is there a point?  I can’t imagine that I’m the only guy who wants to chuck an old leather shoe at the TV every time a Miller Light “Man Up” commercial assaults my intelligence. With them airing during every break on NFL Sunday I’m going to need a hell of a lot of shoes.

Agency DraftFCB did so many things wrong.  When the male identity crisis becomes an epidemic let me know.  Situations such as men being afraid of fish or carrying roller backpacks on camping trips are neither poignant nor clever.  At least with the early adaptations there was some basis for social commentary with skinny jeans and glittery shirts.

The other major problem is that these ads are unbelievably sexist.  If there are any beer companies out there listening WOMEN DRINK BEER TOO.  I’ve seen it with my own eyes, I swear.  Miller Light is saying in their ads that if you don’t drink Miller Light then you’re a woman.  Well, what if you are a woman?  Are they saying you’re butch for drinking their brand?  This is where the company PR man steps in and says “it’s just a joke” except there’s no point where Miller lets women in on this joke.

Really the bottom line is negative reinforcement will never sell me a product, especially when they’re attacking my masculinity like this.  Now every time I see Miller Light I’ll think of them calling me a sissy girl, then I’ll decide to pick up a case of beer that actually tastes good.  (Yes, Miller Light, I care about taste and don’t drink your beer).

What do you think of Miller’s Man-Up ads?  Have they affected your choice of beverage?

Josh P. Greenberg
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LEGO Builds Its Own Social Network: CUUSOO

10 Oct

Everyone can remember a time as a kid when they sat around in the living room or playroom with a box full of those little plastic blocks called LEGOs.  Whether it was building a pirate ship a scale model of the Titanic or even a creation of your own the possibilities seemed endless.

Well now you can turn that idea you had of a fully functional flying White House into real life dollars.  That’s right; you can sell your LEGO creation to the company and earn some cash off the sales.  And the best part is that it’s all social!

It’s called CUUSOO (still no idea what the acronym stands for) and it’s in Beta right now.  Here’s the deal.  After signing up for a free account you can publish any number of your masterpieces.  Designs are submitted by posting a picture of your creation and filling out a sort of bio explaining what the design is and any significant meaning it might have.  Of course that’s only the beginning.  Think of your creation as your profile.  From there you can branch out to peek in at other people’s ideas and give them a nod with a “support.”  To get your project approved you’ll need 10,000 of those (think of them as likes).  LEGO CUUSOO borrows more than just the thumbs up system from Facebook.  You can leave comments on other peoples’ pages, create a group of friends, and even pick up a few followers along the way.

I’ll tell you why I love this campaign so much.  First of all, and most importantly, it’s completely social.  The ability to use their brand to create interaction between other people is just genius.   It goes beyond a Facebook wall where the brand is always involved moderating the conversation.  With CUUSOO,  LEGO has set the ground rules for a forum and left it up to their fans to do the rest.  This hand-off approach takes the corporate agenda completely out of the equation and allows for customers create a community on their own terms instead of feeling like dollar signs.  Of course it doesn’t hurt that there is incentive.  Once you reach the 10,000 supporter line you’ll receive 1% of sales from your creation.  That doesn’t sound like much, but for a company like LEGO any slice of that pie will be worth the time invested.

Even if you’re not interested in making a model there are some really impressive ones that have already been made.  Right now I have to say the SHINKAI 6500 submarine and Love Boat replica are my favorites.  Although, it’s hard to ignore the De Lorean from Back to the Future.  Now I’m wishing I had kept the schematics I had for that boat castle I created in third grade day care!

-Josh P Greenberg
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Steve Jobs (1955-2011) and His Impact on Advertising

6 Oct

Steve Jobs will be talked about for many years even after his passing.  All forms of media were pouring with sympathy and prophetic comparisons for the co-founder of Apple.  Steve Jobs was one of those rare individuals that was able to impact the masses.  Not only did he help create some of the most widely used technology of our time, he helped us to think in a different way.

A culture sprung out of his concept for what Apple meant to him and what he wanted it to mean for others.  One of the most talked about and an analyzed advertisement of all time was the Apple commercial based on the book 1984.  I still get chills sometimes when I see that very 80’s looking woman hurling a sledge hammer into the teeth of Big Brother.  That ad was symbolic of more than the release of the Macintosh.  It was an analogy for how Jobs saw the purpose of his company.  He wanted to give people something that they didn’t even know they needed.

Actor Justin Long probably owes a part of his early career success to Apple.  Who hasn’t seen the “I’m a PC.  And I’m a Mac” commercials without chuckling a little.  Even the jingle was so infectious that it has become almost synonymous with Apple.   As a PC user you couldn’t help but buy into the Jobs idea.  Apple is innovation.  Apple is style.  Apple is here to help YOU.

Often imitated (Mark Zuckerberg trying to do a presentation in jeans and a hoodie) but never duplicated.  His impact was on much more than just computers.  He created a  way of viewing life.  We may never see another Steve Jobs again.

Josh P Greenberg
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Ben & Jerry’s Roll Out Their “Schweddy Balls”

23 Sep

“No one can resist my Schweddy balls.”

Ben & Jerry’s is hoping that Alec Baldwin was right when they unveiled their newest flavor this past month.  The Ben & Jerry web site describes “Schweddy Balls” as “vanilla ice cream with a hint of rum & loaded with fudge covered rum and malt balls.”  That sure does sound tasty.  You can find “Schweddy Balls” on page three of the flavors menu.

Besides the unappealing visual of sliding Ben & Jerry’s “Schweddy Balls” into my mouth I love the name of this flavor.  Unfortunately, not everyone does.  The American Family Association (cue sighs and eye rolling) says, “The vulgar new flavor has turned something as innocent as ice cream into something repulsive.  Not exactly what you want a child asking for at the supermarket.”  I wonder if the AMA felt the same way about “Half Baked”? My guess is not.

What I like about the name is exactly what the AMA doesn’t like.  It’s cheeky, fun, and actually has a story behind it.  Ben & Jerry’s is about a consistent a brand as there is out there.  Their message is “If it’s not fun, then why do it” and they’ve stuck to that message throughout their existence.  In an age where everybody suspects corporate America of hiding something the best way to build brand loyalty is through trust built by consistency.  I personally don’t believe the line between fun and indecent was crossed here.

This isn’t even the first time the ice cream maker has come out with a controversial flavor name.  Brand marketing firm Cone helped launch the “Hubby Hubby” campaign in September of 2009, which celebrated gay marriage.

“Schweddy Balls” might not have nearly the same political affiliations, but it is conceived from the same notion.  Enjoy life and have some fun eating your ice cream.  So I encourage all of you to watch the SNL skit with a bowl full of the freshest “Schweddy Balls” you can find.  Might I also suggest whipped cream?

Do you think the name “Schweddy Balls” is offensive?

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Twitter Is Not The New England Patriot Way

22 Sep

“Just waking up after a late arrival, I’ve never seen a machine operate like that n person, to see video game numbers put up n person was WOW”

For some reason this tweet lit a fire under the butt of ESPN analyst Tedy Bruschi.  After Tom Brady and the Patriots left Dolphins fans wondering if they would ever stop scoring, Pats wide receiver Chad Ochocinco (@ochocinco) sent this message over the Twitter airwaves.

At first I jumped to the conclusion that Bruschi is just a pumped up ra-ra ESPN analyst trying to make waves in the kiddy pool of “former players turned ESPN analysts that aren’t any good” (By the way, notice how they call him “Ex-Patriot” and not ESPN analyst on the mothership’s website).  While I still lean towards that theory I might have another one.  Maybe he wouldn’t have taken so much flak if Chad had made this comment any other medium than Twitter?

In part of Tedy’s rant he said, “Stop tweeting and get in your playbook.”  First of all, as an “analyst” Bruschi should know it takes all of 30 seconds to send a tweet.  I’m would hope Chad has 30 seconds in his day to socialize with his fans.

People that don’t understand the use and value of Twitter see it as another narcissistic platform where people can tell others what they had for lunch.  While Tedy may have been upset by Ochocinco’s misunderstanding of the “Patriot way”, it was Chad’s choice of media platform which caused the ruckus.

Clearly though, Bruschi didn’t care where Chad said it.   He’s a Patriot through and through.   Anyone who isn’t in lock step will probably bother the guy.   He was more upset by what Chad said than where he said it.  So maybe instead of being a pumped up ra-ra ESPN analyst, he’s now an old crotchety pumped up ra-ra ESPN analyst that also doesn’t understand new media.

Do you think the medium effected how the message was received in this case?  Do you think Twitter is seen as an unsophisticated platform?

Note: Bruschi has a Twitter account @Brufasa (unofficial?) with 0 tweets.

-Josh P Greenberg
Follow: @JoshPGreenberg

Related Story: “Chad Ochocinco Tweet Draws Ire From Ex-New England Patriot Player Tedy Bruschi”

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Strangers Can Follow You On Facebook Now

15 Sep

picture via "Inside Facebook"

I remember the first time I heard about Facebook.  My first thought was, “that sounds like a god awful idea.  I can talk to people with AIM.”  There’s a reason I haven’t become an angel investor.  It didn’t take long before I was checking out the site.  The only problem was that I was in high school and didn’t have a college account, which meant I couldn’t sign up.

Today, Facebook introduced a new feature called “subscribing.”  Essentially subscribing takes the idea of following people on twitter and gives you even more control over what messages you view.  That whistling your hearing right now is the proverbial bomb that I’m about to drop.  You can also follow…excuse me…”subscribe” to people that you’re not friends with.  This means, you guessed it, people can subscribe to you too.  Facebook does emphasize that you need to opt in to allow people you’re not “friends” with to follow you.The idea of exclusivity which Facebook was born out of is withering to nothing.  It started with them dropping the need for a college email account.  Then Facebook advertising, business pages, a marketplace, Facebook chat, and the list goes on.

All that being said subscribing sounds like a great concept.  I love the idea of choosing what messages I see.  The way everyone used to describe Facebook was it’s a way to keep up with old friends.  I would argue that they’ve gotten far away from that concept subscribing helps bring it back.  Now you can filter the messages of people on your peripheral so that you only get the important info.  You might not care about the fantasy football team run by a guy you went to high school with, but you might care if he moved to the UK or got a new job.

Google plus might have been the best thing that happened to Facebook.  Since then they’ve made some great changes that make their UI even better. In the process the mega social media platform may have sold what little was left of its soul.  With social media becoming exponentially more popular each day will we ever see a “private” network again?  Or was the cult like atmosphere of Facebook’s early days just a fad?  What do you think?

Josh P Greenberg
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Google Plus Will Punish You For Not Using Your Real Name

9 Sep

Google Plus might have an issue with Ron Artest's new name

What’s in a name?  Have you thought about all the different monikers you’ve ever gone by?  How many different usernames, screen names, nicknames, and pseudonyms have you created in your lifetime?  Probably more than you can count or even recollect.

Google+ wants to simplify your life by only allowing you to use your real name.  No longer will the web know you as HelloKittyGirl99 (I love that this is real) for those of you with Plain Jane names.  Google Chairman Eric Schmidt said in a Q&A session, “Google+ was built primarily as an identity service, so fundamentally, it depends on people  using their real names if they’re going to build future products that leverage that information.” To which Andy Carvin of NPR commented, “Regarding people who are concerned about their safety, [Schmidt] said G+ is completely optional.  No one is forcing you to use it.  It’s obvious for people at risk if they use their real names, they shouldn’t use G+.”

That doesn’t sound like the type of message a social networking service should be sending out, especially one that is trying to take down Facebook.  I might agree that if your life is in danger by using your real name that it isn’t worth the sacrifice so you can +1 your friend’s cat picture.

Many people on Facebook change their names.  A number of them do it to dodge employers, stalkers, or to change a generic name so they can be found if desired.  Sometimes it’s as simple as using your middle name instead of your last, while others go for the full blown name change.  Even William Shatner had his profile suspended for not following the rules.

Does the Google+ model completely break down if you want to change your name from Yoshihariana to Yoshi?  I would think not.  It feels more likely with each passing day that Google will sell out its followers to advertisers or the like.  Maybe not anytime soon, but if this project really does make a social mark we may not be able to hide in social networking witness protection.

 G+ has an agenda here for sure

-Josh P Greenberg
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Need Help Managing Your Twitter Account? Un-j.am it!

8 Sep

Image via Geekmom.com

If you are a heavy Twitter user (like what I aspire to be) then you’ll find that your Twitter pipeline can get clogged very fast.  There are ways to divert the constant flow of information like using lists, groups, or searches all of which some with pros and cons.   Lists need regular updating as your network grows and unless you’re already using a third party provider you can’t save searches in Twitter.

As I was reading an article on tools to simplify your online life I came across a gem, Strawberryj.am.   It’s a web based program that organizes your tweets in order of what posts are mentioned the most.  For example, if a post is sent out by Mashable and 30 of your twitter followers share the article then it will show up in your Strawberryj.am feed as “popular”.  That way you’ll be able to tell what other people think is important industry news. Oh ya, and it’s free!

After spending a short time using the service I feel that this is more geared towards Twitter accounts with many followers.  I’m currently at about 100 followers which is nothing compared to most. My most mentioned post count is typically only at around five, so it might not be the best gauge for me.  I still think it’s a great way to find out about articles that might not be on my radar.  Strawberryj.am also has other features such as saved searches, tags, and lists.  I haven’t seen an option to add multiple accounts yet though.

What I’m also very excited about is their plans to integrate with Facebook in the future.  Facebook news can be just as hard to keep up with  as Twitter.  This will be a welcome addition when it’s up and running.

At the time that this article was posted Strawberryj.am was in beta.  You need an invite to join, but you can request one from their website.  Be patient.  It took me a few days to receive mine.

-Josh P Greenberg
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Twitter’s Biggest Enemy: Spam

31 Aug

Spammers have been around since the dawn of time.  I bet that back in the Stone Age people would come home to their caves only to find the wall covered in pectorals trying to sell them a bigger club.  With each new medium that becomes popular it’s only a matter of time before the spammers flock.

Twitter is absolutely no exception.There are two ways an enterprise like Twitter can handle spammers.  They can be overly active causing a few innocents to be locked out as collateral.  Twitter can also be less active and annoy a large mass of people without restricting use.  They’ve chosen path number two.Twitter spammers have become the bane of my existence.  They are like cockroaches to me that serve no other purpose than to infect my feed with useless blather.  If it doesn’t give my computer a virus I’m afraid that it will make me physically nauseous.

For those of you that aren’t too familiar with spambots on Twitter here’s a crash course on how to spot them.  They’ll be following a large number of people while having a fraction of those people following them back.  They’ll often have not tweeted or when they do it’s the same thing said in different ways (probably your biggest indicator).  If they haven’t received a follow from you within a few days they’ll release their leachy grip on your account to search for their next victim.  You can help by reporting someone as spam, although that’s like killing gnats at a landfill.

As Twitter continues its campaign to keep its members more active I hope that they pay more attention to this problem.  While I think most people are savvy enough to spot a bad account when they see one, it only takes one follow to let the spam flood gates open.

-Josh P Greenberg
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Related Article: Twitter Direct Messages or Direct Spam! (also credit for the picture)