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Sharing the Joy — The Blogmobile!

Introducing The Blogmobile

Cycle Oregon is one of the greatest cycling events on Earth. Each year, 2,200 cyclists embark on a 7-day ride through some of the most scenic parts of the state. Along the way, a lot of money is raised to help support the rural communities that serve as our gracious hosts. For many, Cycle Oregon is a life-changing experience and one that begs to be shared with fellow cyclists as well as non-riding friends and family. And this year, it will be easier than ever for them to do just that thanks to The Blogmobile. The Blogmobile is a mobile platform for the growing number of bloggers who cover the event on a daily basis (Including the KoiFish team, which manages and writes for the Cycle Oregon Blog). It also has a bank of PCs for everyone else to use to access Twitter, Facebook or whatever social network tickles their fancy. Our hope is that The Blogmobile also makes it easy for the community to make a collective record of the event unlike anything that we’ve previously seen before and that this record inspires a few folks to join us in years to come. You can follow the action at:

Social Media On a Mobile Phone or a Smartphone – A Beginner’s Guide

Socia Media and Cycling Go Totether Like Peas and Carrots

Today Facebook has more than 500 million users. If you’re reading this blog, chances are you’re one of them. If you’re younger than 30, chances are you already know how to post status updates or photos to Facebook from all your various mobile devices. This tutorial is not for you. If, however, you’re new to Facebook and/or accessing Facebook from your mobile device, read on. Facebook from an “old-school” mobile phone Facebook can be accessed from any mobile phone that can send e-mail. Through e-mail you can post status updates and – provided your phone is equipped with a camera – you can also add photos. The first thing you need to do is find your personalized Facebook upload e-mail. To find your upload e-mail: 1)   From a PC, log in to your Facebook profile 2)   Type in your browser and hit “Enter” At the top of the page, look for the heading that says Upload via Email. There you will find your personal Facebook e-mail address.  To update your status in Facebook (in other words, write on your page to let your friends know what you’re doing), simply send an e-mail from your phone to your personal Facebook address. The subject line of the e-mail will become your update. If you want to post a photo, e-mail the photo to the same address. The subject line of the e-mail will become the caption. That’s all there is to it. Facebook from a smartphone If you’ve got a smartphone (an iPhone, Android or BlackBerry), you’ve got options. You can e-mail updates and photos as described above. You can also simply use a Web browser – go to and use the program in the exact same way you use your PC. And once you try that method, you’ll understand completely why it isn’t ideal. The best way to do it is through a Facebook application that was designed specifically for your phone. To download the Facebook app for your device, follow one of the links below. Facebook for iPhone Facebook for Android Facebook for BlackBerry All these apps are easy to navigate and fairly self-explanatory. With any of them, you can do pretty much anything you can do from the Facebook Web page. This includes posting status updates and photos to your page as well as posting on the walls of friends or on Facebook pages that you already “like.” To post a photo to your own profile, simply login to the application, choose “profile” from the menu page, then tap on the “What’s on your mind?” area. This will invoke your keyboard and allow you to type your update. If you want to post a photo or video, touch the camera icon just to the left. You’ll have the option to shoot a photo or video or choose from one in your library. Posting to a Facebook page is also easy. For example, let’s say you’re out on Cycle Oregon and just snapped a photo you want to share on the Cycle Oregon Facebook page. Here’s how it’s done: 1)   From the main menu, touch the “search” menu at the very top of the screen 2)   Just underneath the search menu, touch the “pages” button 3)   Search for Cycle Oregon 4)   Open the Cycle Oregon page 5)   If necessary, “like” the page (if you already post stuff on the page, you’ve probably already done this) 6)   Touch the camera icon and follow the same steps outlined above It’s that simple. One thing that might not be so simple is navigating your way back to the page from the main menu when you want to post another photo. That’s because the main menu consists of multiple pages. When you open the app, you always go to page 1. To get to page 2 – where your favorite pages are saved – simply swipe your finger to the left as you would on the main phone menu page.

Delta Sky Miles Dining — How NOT to Do Social Media

Come on, Delta, understanding social media isn't hard -- the Golden Rule is that the community comes first

I recently heard a tale of sadness and despair from my normally cheerful and up-beat father. He is a member of the Delta Sky Miles Dining program, which offers extra bonus miles when you use your Delta credit card to pay for meals at certain restaurants (three miles for every dollar spent). As part of this program, diners may leave reviews on the Delta Dining Website about the participating restaurants they visit. More specifically, they may leave POSITIVE REVIEWS. Alas, dear old dad had a terrible experience at one of these restaurants and submitted an appropriately negative review to the Delta Dining community. Sadly, his review was never posted. Concerned for his fellow diners, he called Delta Dining to find out what happened. Point blank, he was told that they can’t post negative reviews. They have a policy that forbids it. After all, these participating restaurants pay good money to be included in the program and bad reviews would make them sad. It doesn’t take a genius to see how short-sighted Delta is being here. In fact, this provides a stellar example of a company not understanding the whole point of social media. If you are going to ask for feedback, you have to take what you get. Otherwise your credibility is shot. And once that happens, the backlash can be severe. Since Delta is pretty much ripping off CitySearch or Yelp, by adding a reviews component to the site, they should take a few minutes and realize WHY those sites are successful in the first place. The reason is obvious — credibility. While there will always be positive reviews for crappy restaurants and crappy reviews for excellent restaurants, the reviews for any given establishment — when taken as a whole — are usually pretty accurate. You can almost always weed out the reviewers who don’t know squat (or don’t care) about food. You can also easily spot the people who are just looking for a venue to bitch because that’s what they like to do. Even if you aren’t sure, if someone is really far off, the community will let this be known. And that’s the whole idea. Because when it comes to social media, you need to trust, respect and protect the interests of your community. Sponsors may come and go, but once the community realizes you have sold them out, they are gone for good. For the record, the restaurant my dad visited is Joseppi’s in Tacoma, WA. His chief complaints were that the restroom was dirty and the hostess was too busy talking on the phone to her boyfriend to do her job. He also found the food to be mediocre.  Looking at reviews for Joseppi’s on Citysearch and Yelp, most people find the staff friendly and helpful. Some like the food and some find it so-so. Taken collectively, I think I get a pretty good picture of what to expect — decent service and lousy food. I’d expect the food to be bad because a large number of people in this part of the country don’t know  good Italian food from Chef Boyardee. If several find it mediocre, that’s a bad sign. Regardless, if I visited Joseppi’s based on a bunch of glowing reviews from the Delta Sky Miles program, I’d almost certainly be in for a nasty surprise. And that’s just not cool. Sorry Delta, but you blew it.

If Your Next Marketing Campaign Involves Tattoos, it Might be Time To Hire an Agency

Harley doesn’t have to pay for it — they get it for free

Branding is a very powerful thing. One of the best ways to know your brand has truly struck a chord with customers is when it starts showing up in tattoos. It is entirely possible that, at this very moment, someone somewhere is getting the words “Harley” and “Davidson” forever inscribed on their skin. After all, Harley is a truly iconic brand that, for millions and millions of people, defines cool (despite the fact that Harley makes crappy motorcycles). Unfortunately, over the past several years, there have been some marketeers who have seen fit to create marketing campaigns involving tattoos. Perhaps the most famous is Golden Palace, an online casino that actually found someone so desperate for cash that she was willing to have the company’s logo tattooed across her forehead for $15,000. The move was demeaning and sad, but generated a ton of publicity. While nearly all of it was negative, the campaign met its objective — to get the company’s name out there. It’s OK to be gross if you are an online casino. Earlier this month, a video of a guy getting a pair of Ray-Ban sunglasses tattooed on his face went viral. It isn’t clear whether Ray-Ban or one of its agencies was in on it (or even whether or not it is real). If Ray-Ban is behind it and actually paid this kid to get that tattoo, that is pretty awful. Even if they got away with it without being directly implicated, I still don’t think it does anything to help the brand. Unlike Golden Palace, Ray-Ban does have an image to uphold. Convincing some rube to get a terrible tattoo on his face as a marketing stunt isn’t hip — it’s immoral and wrong.

Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should

Right now, Titus Cycles is running a campaign on Facebook where people design a Titus Tattoo and tell the community of Facebook fans where on their bodies they would put it. Fans vote on which concept they like best and the “winner” is flown to Titus headquarters in Arizona, gets the tattoo (applied by an artist of the company’s choosing) and is awarded a mountain bike worth about $5,500. It is true that Titus does make one hell of a mountain bike (I actually own one and love it). Some might even say the brand is tattoo-worthy. But this campaign is sophomoric and shows the company doesn’t truly understand either branding or tattoos. Titus makes high-end, high-dollar bikes. While I’m sure there are plenty of potential Titus customers who dig tattoos there are many more who probably don’t. Tattoos just aren’t an integral part of the cycling or mountain biking culture. And, while tattoos are a lot more mainstream than they used to be, they are still pretty edgy. The problem is, Titus doesn’t come off as a particularly edgy company, nor should it. Titus has actually earned the right to position itself as a premium brand. When a company legitimately can position itself that way, it absolutely should. Obviously someone at Titus understands this nuance because the company’s new Website does just that. It is gorgeous. It is worth noting that most of the riders pictured on the site are conspicuously ink-free. Then there’s the matter of the tattoo itself. When people choose to get a tattoo of a brand, it’s because they identify strongly with that brand. In a way, they are using the meaning of the brand to help define who they are. They are doing it because they want to, which makes it an authentic form of expression. Paying someone to get a tattoo of a brand changes all that. At the end of the day, it just turns the person into a living billboard. At that point it stops being authentic and is just lame. In addition, no serious collector of fine ink will let just anyone slap a tattoo on them. Many people — at least those with truly great work — will wait months or even years to get an appointment with the right artist. At the end of the day, there will always be people willing to do all sorts of odd things for a little bit of notoriety and a few dollars. But just because you can find people to do those things doesn’t mean you should. That tattoo is going to last a lot longer than any buzz you generate and, quite possibly, longer than your company will even be around.

Local Marketing in a Global World and Political Correctness Gone Wild

I’ve written a lot on this blog about edgy vs. inappropriate advertising and where to draw the line. There’s a new controversy afoot over a KFC ad from Australia. When viewed through American eyes, it is nearly impossible to see this ad as anything but racist. However, apparently when viewed from an Australian context, it is anything but racist. You can read all about the controversy in Mashable. The sad part is that the outcry was enough to make KFC chicken out and pull the ad. Worse yet, pulling the ad caused a bit of an outcry with Australians — and rightly so. If the ad wasn’t intended for an American audience and wasn’t ever going to run in America, why should the campaign be changed just because some ignorant whiners in the US didn’t understand it? Yes, companies do need to realize that even local campaigns may be seen globally thanks to social media. And, yes, this is something global companies might want to consider. On the other hand, perhaps the people who are always on the lookout for things to become offended by just so they can feel “progressive” should be ignored from to time. Getting all worked up about an ad meant for another culture (even if that other culture happens to speak the same language) is lame. Part of being politically correct is accepting that you don’t know everything and minding your own business.

Communications On the Edge II — Pepsi's Done it Again

Another sign that we are doomed as a society or just some juvenile humor?

Another sign that we are doomed as a society or just some juvenile humor?

Last year, Pepsi found itself in the middle of a controversy over some suicide-themed ads they put out that were pretty tasteless. My assessment of that particular issue was Pepsi messed up good and proper. Now the company is back in the hot seat over a (sort of) tasteless iPhone application it created to help promote its AMP energy drink. The application — like the drink — is marketed to pubescent males. The idea is they can use the app to get advice on how to score with different types of chicks. Unfortunately, they took it one step farther by also building in a feature that lets them brag about their conquests to their friends. As was obviously expected, the campaign got Team Political Correctness all up in a tizzy. Pepsi then “apologized” to those who were offended on Twitter and asked people to Tweet their opinions about the issue. They even asked people to use a pepsifail hashtag.  Brilliant. What they didn’t do is immediately kill the application (which they have since done). CNN had Adam Ostrow of Mashable and PR “guru” Kevin Dugan on to discuss the topic. Both made some excellent points about the pros and cons of the campaign and whether or not Pepsi should pull it from the Apple App Store. I tend to agree with Adam on this one. Yes, it is tasteless; but, at the end of the day, it is designed to appeal to young boys and that’s what young boys like. Yes the “brag about it” part was a little over the top and was probably not necessary. Yes, it was bound to piss people off — and get a lot of publicity in the process — and there is no doubt that this was a calculated strategy. But should Pepsi have pulled the app? Ultimately, I say yes but ONLY because AMP is owned by Pepsi and the Pepsi brand needs to stay squeaky-clean. If AMP was its own company, I would have said there would be a strong case for keeping it, political correctness be damned. It might get some people’s panties in a bunch, but not AMP’s target audience. In a way, the controversy is good for the brand if the goal is to appeal to pseudo bad-boys. And, as Adam pointed out, a “sister” app. that poked fun at guys would have been another legitimate way to mitigate the “outrage.” I also suspect that the reason Pepsi didn’t pull the app right away is because they wanted to get the Twitter publicity first. By “admitting” they screwed up, they had already set the stage to later make it right. I also suspect that if the “it’s a joke — lighten up” crowd dramatically overwhelmed the “oh my heck, I’m so appalled” crowd they would have kept it up. Pepsi took a risk. I think it paid off. They also provided another great case study for savvy social media marketing.

The Social Media Revolution — Literally

This picture might be worth two thousand words

This picture might be worth two thousand words

I’d like to think that now we are finally done with the social media naysayers who can’t seem to understand its value. Expel the correspondents











Social Media T Shirt

social_media_md The image pretty much speaks for itself. This is from a T shirt brought to us from the folks at If we can’t laugh at ourselves, at whom can we laugh? Poke around the rest of their Website if you like to look at humorous take-offs on those cheesy corporate motivational posters. I know I do.

The Power of Social Media — From Zero to Hero in 24 Hours

Strangely Compelling

Strangely compelling

If you’re like most people, you can recall a time in your life when you might have wished you had more friends. 24 hours ago I thought about how nice it would be to become a tad more popular and decided to do something about it. Today I have people from all over the globe clamoring to make my acquaintance and I’m struggling to figure out how to stop the madness. Frankly,  I’m not 100% sure I have figured out the best way to put the genie back in the bottle. You see, in my quest to stay current on all things social media, I recently started playing Mafia Wars. Mafia Wars is a very simple — yet surprisingly compelling — game you play with your pals on Facebook and/or MySpace. The goal is to become the wealthiest, most powerful mob boss you can be. And, in the world of organized crime, you need a lot of troops to make this happen. Unfortunately, most of my real-world friends have lives. They have jobs and families. They choose to spend their free time constructively. Far too few were interested in helping me satisfy my virtual bloodlust.
Typical Real-World Friend

Typical real-world friend

So I did what I had to do and visited the Mafia Wars forums where you can actively recruit new Facebook friends to join your mob. Without giving it much thought, I added myself to a list of folks looking for new “associates.” I figured this would be a good way to find a few dozen like-minded psychopaths to help me crack a few safes and break a few knee caps. I was wrong. It wasn’t dozens of people, it was hundreds. I’ve been getting friend requests from people around the globe at a rate of about 1 every 30 seconds. On the one hand, this is kind of cool. My “family” is now a force to be reckoned with. I’ve also become an international sensation. And, most importantly, I do have a lot more younger, hipper and better-looking friends than I did yesterday.
Typical Virtual-World Friend

Typical virtual-world friend

On the other hand, I’m wondering how long it will take for my virtual popularity to subside. I’m beginning to think I’m going to continue getting requests from strangers wanting to join my mob long after my interest in the game ends (I give that another week tops). It also occurred to me last night that my fellow mobsters have the same access to my Facebook information as my real-world friends. This meant I had to pull some personal information off of my profile. When I decide to call it quits, I’m going to need to put the e-mail I use for social media experimentation into the witness protection program for a while until things cool down. I’m also going to have to spend a few hours “unfriending” people so my Facebook account is once again manageable. I suppose that’s all part of the fun. This whole episode is yet another example of just how powerful social media can be for important as well as trivial matters. It also serves as a reminder of the need to use caution and common sense when messing around with applications such as this. Had I used my work e-mail for this adventure, I would have caused myself a ton of unnecessary grief. But, at least for today, I’m going to enjoy my popularity, rally my troops and whack a few rivals. I think I’ll also be able to earn enough money to buy that casino I’ve had my eye on.