Wushu in a McDonald’s Commercial

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Advertising Done Right

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I found some commercials that I think have the right ingredients of really great advertising. If you’ve read the book “Made to Stick – Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die” by Dan and Chip Heath, you’ll notice that the following commercials have many of the characteristics that make them “sticky”.

A little info on these commercials: They are part of a campaign to promote life insurance policies by “Thai Insurance”, one of the big Thai insurance companies. They are in Thai, but somebody has taken the time to add English subtitles to them. You’ll have to pardon the translation as it’s a little rough sometimes, but it gets the meaning and message across.

Apart from the fact that they are all really well done, I like the narrative style and the visual style. I don’t know if the impact of the message is lost in translation, but as a Thai, I was certainly moved by all of them. But let’s get back to what Chip and Dan think are elements of great ideas and how we see them in these commercials.

  1. Simplicity – each of the commercials is trying to convey one idea, not try to throw 10 things at you hoping one of them sticks
  2. Unexpected – I would say the last commercial was definitely unexpected
  3. Concrete – each of the 3 stories is a concrete idea that can be grasped, not some abstract thought or generalization
  4. Credibility – although I certainly wouldn’t want any of these to happen to me or anyone I know, we know it COULD happen.
  5. Emotional – ditto
  6. Stories – each one of these is a single story that can be easily told – hence transported

I hope that gives you some ideas on how to make your message “sticky”.

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Target Coupons: How Not To Do Viral Marketing

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My wife got some Target coupons for $5 off $25 in her email, and we were more than excited to go do our grocery run there this weekend. We had 2 of them and being cheapskates that we were, we were going to split up at the counter to get our $10 off $50. So we shopped and more than filled our cart. When it came time to pay up at the counter, we were told that they do not accept those coupons anymore due to fraud. Both of us begrudgingly paid and left.

Shady Target Bait and SwitchNow don’t get me wrong, we LOVE Target. We love their Archer Farms line of products, and we love the affordable yet stylish clothes there. Once I picked up 5 pairs of summer shorts no kidding. However, this episode left a bitter taste in our mouth. It’s a total bait and switch. How can you NOT honor an email coupon? The idea is great. Send your customers email coupons; they send it to their friends some of whom may or may not even shop at Target thus introducing them to this wonderful store. So yeah, Target loses $5, but they have so much more to gain. By back peddling on their offer, not only have they pissed off their loyal customers but also new potential customers who try Target for the first time thinking they were going to take advantage of this coupon. Our grocery run just now was more than $130. Was a $5 coupon really going to break their bank? Just when we were slowly buying more from Target and relying less on Jewel. I guess it’s back to Jewel.

Let’s talk about 2 companies that do it RIGHT. Take Bed Bath and Beyond and Linen and Things. These 2 companies REGULARLY mail 20% off paper coupons to our household. The wonderful thing about both of these companies is that they will honor the OTHER’s coupons and their own regardless of the expiration date. They know that if the customer is at the counter with merchandise in hand ready to spend their hard earned money on them, and they jip them on this little gesture, the customer can just as easily switch to the competitor the next time. So they take the long term customer service view and say we’ll do right by you even if it’s a slight hit on us because you’re here and not at my competitors.

Now I’ll still shop at Target. I just love their Archer Farm chips and granola bars too much. I think they’ve come a long way as far as positioning themselves as affordable and having good quality. However, if more episodes like this ensue, it will definitely makes us think twice.

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Make Money On Your Blog – As An Amazon Affiliate

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Every blogger’s dream is to either to have a large readership or to make money blogging. Until your an A-list blogger with crazy traffic and advertising deals, you’re going to have to find easy ways to generate what little income you can get.

My blog is a little over a month old and I can tell you right now what’s worked for me is being an Amazon affiliate. Last month when I just barely started my blog, I had just 1 Amazon referral. That referral was a direct word of mouth recommendation to a friend of mine who ended up buying it from my blog as a thank you for recommending it. It wasn’t surprising since I pretty much had no traffic. This month however, traffic picked up via a couple of social bookmarking sites and has already resulted in 8 Amazon referral fees. A couple more of these and my hosting for the month will be paid for. You can imagine with enough traffic to your site, you could earn a nice chunk of change.

So let me tell you a bit about the Amazon Associates program. Now I don’t have anything to do with them; I am not an Amazon employee. I get no benefits from you joining the program. I just whole heartedly think it’s a cool program and since I shop at Amazon all the time and like their online store, I figure many other people probably do too.

Basically the Amazon Associates program is an affiliate program. What this means is that if you successfully refer any business to them, you get a little kickback. You can earn up to 10% in referral fees. By joining, which is free btw, you get access to the Associates site which provides you with tons of ways to create links and widgets to Amazon products on your blog. What’s cool about this is say you recommend a product: If your visitor clicks on the link and does not buy that product, but browses Amazon and ends up buying another product, you still get a kickback. The visitor can even close the browser and start a new session. If they come back to Amazon on the same day and buys something, you also get a kickback.

Now you think wow, I can just load up my site with tons of Amazon products. That’s probably not going to work for you. Think about it, if I saw a page like that, wouldn’t it be easier for me to just go to Amazon? What I do is review the products that I’ve actually used (or at least experienced through a friend) and think they are worth recommending. Part of this is your reputation. If I recommend a crappy product, people are less likely to trust me and/or buy the products I recommend. If I recommend good quality products that I genuinely believe in, people are more likely to buy it and I’m more likely to make money. It’s that easy.

Here’s an example of a widget you can add to your site:

Here are some examples of what I did:
5 Ways to Accessorize and Customize Your New MacBook Pro
Buzzmarketing Book Review

So what are you waiting for silly blogger? Join the Amazon Associates program now.

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Weekly Favorite Links

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Some of these links are kinda old, but I figured I’d share them with my audience anyways. The focus of this week’s links are robotics and user interfaces.

Boston Dynamics Big Dog Quadruped Robot Showcasing real time walking and balancing. Your jaw will hit the floor when you see it recover from slipping on ice.

Dean Kamen, inventor of the infamous Segway, shows off his “Luke” (as in Luke Skywalker) prosthetic robotic arm. I thought this was amazing and even more profound than the segway.

Hot along the heels of the movie Iron Man, this is a real life exoskeleton suit reminiscent of Ripley’s powersuit in Aliens. It augments the wearer’s strength and is quite mobile.



Other Links

  • The Eco Zoo is a site done in Papervision3D (an open source 3D library for Flash). This is probably the coolest Papervision site I’ve ever seen bar none.
  • Browse the Flickr universe not just metaphorically in this Papervision browser.
  • Some really creative advertisements.
  • Livescribe digital pens. Not only does it digitize what you write, it also records the audio to go along with it. I want one of these, but I’ll wait for Mac support.

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