Marketing

Stop Hating on Oprah’s Favorite Things

oprahs favorite things

In one of the most exciting announcements thus far for the Christmas season, Oprah has announced the return of her favourite things show and it’s bigger and better than ever.

Christmas 2011 just wasn’t the same without being exposed to the extravagance of $100 cupcakes and thousand dollar home theatre systems.

Yes, everything is luxurious, expensive and out of the budget of most viewers. But that’s why we’re so intrigued.

Why do people watch TMZ or read US Weekly? To live vicariously through the rich and famous. Favorite Things is no different. It’s an escape from everyday reality and the mundane lives some people lead.

It’s the same as gazing through the window of Coach, Tiffany & Co. or any other store on 5th Avenue in New York City and dreaming of a life where you can afford those products.

Remember 2008, when she did the “budget” version of the show because of the recession. Lame and boring. People want flashy spectacle to aspire towards, not something that reminds them of their awful financial situation.

I find it awesome seeing people get taken by surprise. The show is worth watching for the reactions of people alone. Many of these people are super deserving of being treated to these things: military personnel, teachers etc.

It’s also a fantastic experiment in what is appropriately dubbed “The Oprah Effect.” Essentially anything Oprah touches turns to gold, but in reality increasing the sales beyond imagination. So much that many businesses with products featured on the show can’t even keep up with demand, as it’s kept super secret until the show airs if their product is included.

So get over yourselves Favourite Things haters. Stop complaining about how the 99 percent can’t afford the items and enjoy looking at amazing things that you would never know about in the first place. Let the magic of holiday cheer and happiness take over your soul and be happy you have the luxury to complain about not being able to afford luxury items, instead of dodging bullets in a war-torn country.

Oh, and you actually do have a chance at getting these things for free by entering the contest on the Oprah site.

Are you a Favorite Things Hater or Lover? Let me know in the comments.

The Next Adventure Begins

I’m excited to announce that I am heading out to Calgary for a new job opportunity starting November 1! (More details about my new position to come.)

Calgary

Interestingly, I was in Calgary when I got hired at Circus Communications in Ontario, so I find it quite fitting that I am now heading back to Alberta for a new opportunity in marketing & communications.

Anyone who knows me shouldn’t be surprised, this is the fourth time I’ve moved for a job. 🙂

It’s definitely been an amazing experience working at Circus. I’ve learned so many new things and met amazing people in my time there.

circussite

I originally applied as a copywriter after a friend pointed out the job listing,. The position ended up being a Social Media Coordinator & Writer position. Little did I know that I would end up wearing MANY different hats unrelated to my job description, and that was awesome. Before working at Circus, I knew nothing of Facebook Pages, Google Analytics and AdWords, loyalty program creation, shopping mall marketing….the list goes on.

To say they created a social media monster is an understatement. As anyone who has been bombarded by my tweets, blogs, status updates, videos and more is well aware of. I love my social media!

I had the pleasure to work with an amazing group of people with skill sets all over the map. It’s cliché to say each day was different, but that’s the truth. One day I was writing social media reports, the next I’m in Ottawa making videos in a mall on a research trip for a client pitch.

My manager Angie wrote some kind words to announce my departure and I think they sum up everything quite nicely:

Where does one go after an exciting career full of rollercoasters and ringleaders? How about the rodeo? It’s with mixed emotions that we will be bidding Brad farewell as he heads westbound to find new adventures in Calgary.

Brad’s been an integral member of the social/digital media department and will be missed for all he contributes to the Circus team, from writing to reporting, to Apple genius to man-on-the-street video interviewing… and everything in between!

His last day with us will be Friday, October 19th – details of farewell festivities to follow.

To everyone I worked with, thanks for a great experience. On to the next chapter of the unpredictable life I live. Don’t worry, you’ll still be bombarded with updates from me so it’s like I’m not even gone. 😉

Revealing the secrets behind McDonald’s food

In case you haven’t heard, McDonald’s Canada has pulled back the curtain to showcase how their food is made. In a bold attempt at transparency, they are letting real consumers ask any question they like about the food. Instead of the usual corporate B.S. the public is used to getting, they are actually addressing the questions on a dedicated site using videos and real answers. Ever wanted to know how the food looks so perfect, or what’s in the secret sauce? All is being revealed over at McDonald’s Canada Youtube channel and the Your Questions microsite.

“Ever wanted to ask us about the food in our Canadian restaurants?  Now’s your chance! We’ll answer any questions about our food – even  the tough ones – then post a personal reply from McDonald’s® Canada.”

Simple, direct and honest. This is social media at it’s best: opening a two-way dialogue, creating buzz and being super awesome. It’s genius.

In this always connected world where every brand is now under the spotlight, McDonald’s is taking control of their message and showing they have nothing to hide. They have even revealed how to make the secret sauce for the Big Mac.

I must say this is the best advertising campaign I have seen in a long time (and it’s not just because I happen to worship McDonald’s!). The takeaways here aren’t anything new: be open and honest and everything else will fall into place. Many brands just haven’t got that message yet. Social media is helping them understand there is nowhere to hide anymore!

Of course there are critics, this is a billion dollar brand that is known for many controversial issues (pink slime anyone?), but McDonald’s has reacted in a perfect way that resonates with consumers.

The campaign is picking up a ton of momentum, I’ve heard people talking about it on radio, television  and all over the web. News outlets all over the world have picked up on the campaign. This is a viral campaign in every sense of the word: it’s spreading like virus!  Everyone wants to know the secrets behind the biggest fast food chain in the world. Many urban legends and misconceptions have circulated the internet for years, and this is their bold attempt at stopping them in their tracks.

One point of criticism: Users can’t comment on the videos, and while they do show real behind the scenes, they are also very controlled. While very open and honest, key information is being left out of the conversation. Maybe the next video can detail the food additives and manufacturing process of the food before it gets into the store. Either way, at least the world now knows how to make Big Mac sauce.

Great job McDonald’s! Now to head to my kitchen and attempt to see if I can make a Big Mac that is just as good as the restaurant!

How do you feel about this campaign? Do you love it, or hate it? Leave me a comment below and let me know.

11 Wicked sources to stay updated on Social Media

There are way too many places to get information these days, it’s overwhelming. In order to stay on top of the game and know what’s going on in the world, it’s really important to read as much as you can about your industry. Mine happens to be social media, marketing and advertising. My last post detailed some tips about how to consume information, now I’m going to focus on the sources I use to be the most up-to-date person you’ll ever meet. I spend hours each day reading anything I can get my hands on. Not only about my industry, but things that are completely unrelated. It helps my personal brand, at work and even when I watch Jeopardy! I’m going to reveal some of my sources,but remember this is the tip of the iceberg.

Here is the list of some of my favourite sources to get the latest & greatest information about marketing, advertising, social media and business:

Mashable

This site was cited at Social Media Week as the most important source for any person new to social media. They do post a lot of fluff, but if you can wade through that, it’s a valuable source for social media and tech news.

Social Media Examiner

Great daily articles about the social media world, but beware it’s very sales oriented towards their success summits.

Smartbrief on Social Media

A great newsletter that grabs the most important headlines of the day and brings them to your inbox.

Under the Influence

A homegrown podcast on CBC Radio about marketing and advertising. with Terry O’Reilly as its host. The most informative half hour of my week. New episodes every Sunday.

TechCrunch

Another tech blog, great for coverage of the newest technologies and apps.

Forbes

Information and inspiration about the world’s biggest brands and idea makers.

TED Talks

Videos from the super expensive and exclusive TED Conference. They range from design to business and marketing. All very informative and inspirational.

Inc.

Great articles on startups, business strategies, tech, marketing and ton’s of other things.

Ad Age

The advertising industry bible. A must read to keep abreast of the latest campaigns, strategies and ideas

Marketing Magazine

The Canadian version of Ad Age, a great overview of Canadian agencies and accounts moving around. It’s nice because most of the other trade magazine focus on the U.S. budgets and statistics, where this gives Canadian stats.

PR Daily

Focused on public relations, with articles about writing, spelling, grammar and other related topics. Great source for social media crisis management.

As I said before, it’s a lot of work to stay updated with these sources. The payoff is worth it: you’ll be better at work, and more importantly with your personal brand. Look for my next article detailing what that is and how you can manage it. Remember, things change very quickly and news breaks fast. These sources are a great start, but there are many more. Now that I’ve shared some my sources, what do you recommend I add to the list? Comment below and tell me!