Mini Billboard Campaign Harnesses The Power Of Social

If you find yourself in downtown Berlin you may notice a big crowd gathered around a photo booth wearing headphones. No need to be alarmed, it’s just a new, super smart marketing campaign from Mini that puts you at the heart of a billboard in Berlin and gives you the chances to win a Mini. If you live in Berlin, you can become part of the mini by entering a photo booth beside the billboard or, if you’re inconveniently located elsewhere, you can go to Mini’s Facebook page online to take part.

Campaigns that feature the consumer front and center are not a new concept but campaigns like this one that seamlessly integrate Facebook are propelling the user experience to a whole new level. This Mini billboard campaign has managed to not only create buzz in Berlin but also all around the world as citizens of any country can participate online. One of my favourite parts is probably the most subtle feature; participants are required to wear headphones which highlight the Mini’s snazzy mirrors. This is a great concept that is sure to generate a lot of buzz and excitement!

Can I Be Your Friend? Viral Video Promotes English Opera

Every once and a while a viral video on Youtube makes a big impact. Just last week I came across this promotional video for The English National Opera. The video is being used to promote a new opera entitled Two Boys and the performance is said to “lift the lid on the risks of life online.” To spread their message, they created an entertaining video that features one man roaming around and approaching strangers in public to ask them questions. The video is intended to open our eyes so, as social media users, we become aware that the way we’ve been conditioned to act online isn’t necessarily normal or safe. Sometimes it takes a video to make us realize that online interaction does not translate to human interaction as seamlessly as we’d like to think. Watch the video below and let us know what you think.

MobManager Helps Business Organize, Track and Analyze Daily Deals

When we wrote about Groupon a few weeks ago, we were happy to pass along the concept of preparedness to ensure that any group buying transaction pushes your business forward. In the process of researching, we’ve come across an online tool directed at businesses participating in group buying deals and it’s definitely worth a closer look.

As expected, the group buying industry has seen its fair share of growth recently. It’s no secret that consumers love a good deal and that more people are jumping on the bandwagon to save money. What fails to make news, however, is the industry’s downside. Businesses worldwide are beginning to open up to the concept of group buying and many have already begun experimenting by launching deals in their local area. The problem is that many of these businesses are slowly loosing what seems like a hopeless fight. In order for this industry to survive and continue to thrive in the future, merchants need tools and support to succeed. If the businesses can’t make it work, then there are no deals to be had! Cue the solution.

In June 2010, small business owner David Wachtendonk decided to take Groupon for a spin. At the time, there were no tools available to merchants so they could manage their own deals online. In search of more substance, David pulled together his own team and created some tools to solve his problems.

“I wanted to have more control and these new tools helped me achieve my goals,” said David, “Later on I realized that what I’d created to make my life easier could help other people as well!”

Frustrated with the lack of concern exhibited by popular group buying sites, David and business partner Christopher Lee set out to offer their services to other struggling merchants. And just like that, MobManager was born! Finally, merchants offering group buying discounts had a place to evaluate, analyze and plan for the future to ensure success for their business.

MobManager allows merchants to manage redemption, track ROI and even offers a loyalty feature that lets them follow-up with deal participants. The loyalty feature utilizes permission-based marketing, creating automated, opt-in, drip marketing campaigns. In addition, business managers can get a better understanding of their daily deal campaigns by using MobManager’s dashboards and reporting capabilities to answer questions like, “How much revenue is being generated per customer?” or “Is this daily deal campaign profitable?”

In the future, MobManager hopes to become part of a standard redemption process that will provide customers and merchants with a better experience and, in turn, positively impact the industry itself. Only time will tell if group buying is here to stay but in the meantime, services like MobManager are making the process a lot more painless for merchants that are interested in exploring new territory. To learn more about what services MobManager offers and how they can help your business, be sure to visit their website.

TV Check-in App IntoNow Rewards Users That Watch Commercials

A few months ago we posted an article about new entertainment check-in applications like Miso and Get Glue that allow users to check into television shows, music, movies, video games and more. The rewards are mostly stickers unlocked by watching special shoes or networks with the occasional discount for Get Glue users on the network’s website merchandise. IntoNow operates on the same basis except the app rewards users for checking into commercials instead of actual programming. The best part is that the rewards are a lot more valuable than a sticker! The app just launched in January and has partnered with PepsiCo to offer a delicious reward to users.

Here’s how the app works; consumers download the iPhone check-in app IntoNow and hit it while the commercial plays on TV. Audio-fingerprinting technology then recognizes the ad and a coupon gets downloaded to your phone for a free 20-ounce bottle of Pepsi Max. The best part for PepsiCo is that once a coupon has been received users have the option to send out a notification to all their friends on Facebook and Twitter as well as on the app itself. There’s no doubt that this is an experimental move for Pepsi Max but they’ve agreed to honour 50,000 of those coupons while getting a better idea of the potential of interactive ads.

The Pepsi Max television commercial revolves around the theme “Field of Dreams” and features many baseball players from the past and the present. The ad is already available on Youtube and is posted below. It will air during MLB games and through the end of the year. The deal is the first major brand implementation for IntoNow but if consumers catch on, it definitely won’t be the last!

IntoNow uses advanced fingerprinting technology so they not only know what consumers are watching, but also if they’re watching it live, recorded on a DVR or on some other recordable device which is very important information to advertisers. It even works if you check-in using the Youtube video! The technology, created by Auditude earlier this year, was initially intended to recognize shows and insert ads online. It takes the technology only four to twelve seconds to recognize a given clip. They have a catalogue built up of ads that have run in the last five years or so, which means chances are, whatever your watching, is recognizable.

Since it’s launch in January 2011, IntoNow already boasts 600,000 downloads and 3 million tags. It was purchased by Yahoo at the end of April for $17 million.

Surprisingly, IntoNow isn’t the first to give consumers a reason to check-in to TV commercials. Mobile music app Shazam partnered with Old Navy to offer the first 1000 users that tagged an original song during an Old Navy commercial a free pair of jeans. The main difference between this mini promotion and IntoNow’s entire foundation is that they offer the ability to check into any and every TV commercial. For advertisers it shows them who is watching their ad and it allows them to reward that attention ultimately driving offline behaviour.

Twitter Celebrates Five Years!

Happy fifth Birthday Twitter! It seems almost preposterous that the social media behemoth has already survived 5 years and in reality, things are far from slowing down! Just like any successful business, Twitter has a story to tell so it only seems fitting to take a look back, see how Twitter started, and how it became the platform it is today.

Jack Dorsey, Evan Williams and Biz Stone, all programmers at Odeo Inc in California, were the creators of Twitter. They were looking for a way to send messages on their cell phones while trying to re-invent a dying company and thus Twitter was born. On March 21st 2006 Jack sent the first tweet “just setting up my twttr” and in the blink of an eye, a communications revolution had begun. The name was originally inspired by Flickr and was chosen over other alternatives including FriendStalker and Dodgeball. The dictionary definition of Twitter is “a short burst of inconsequential information.” According to Jack it was the perfect name because that’s exactly what the product was.

Fast-forward today, 200 million users later, and an early tweet in 2006 by Dom Sagolla stating “Oh, this is going to be addictive” seems quite accurate! Almost 460,000 new twitter accounts are started each day and more than 140 million tweets are sent out on a daily basis. Twitter has exploded from 8 employees in 2008 to over 400 and still growing. Because Twitter is a private company, their sources of revenue are not completely clear, but they list their revenue at a modest $150 million annually. They also license their stream of tweets to Microsoft, Google and Yahoo. Twitter is said to be worth about $4.5 billion dollars. The possibilities for the future are endless. Twitter could start selling traditional ad space on their site or even start charging for premium accounts that push business to their sites. The only thing we know for sure is that Twitter is no fad!

The 140 character “tweets”, which are the heart and soul of the site, are a length that was chosen for a reason. The founders knew that the limit for SMS was 160 characters so they figured 140 characters would leave enough space left over for a username. At first, typing in 140 characters seemed outrageous to a person with a lot to say like myself, but the micro blogging platform is one you become used to and it forces you to focus on what matters instead of wasting characters on nonsense.

These 140 character updates have ultimately changed the media, business and even the world of politics. News has a new medium with live tweeting and updates, political messages are now widespread and no longer controlled by a single group of leaders, and businesses are re-defining customer service and employee communication. The future seems bright with Twitter as new technological advances and creative uses of the platform are popping up everyday. So, in honor of five years, it only seems fitting to honor the social media giant that started a communications revolution and has allowed us to declare our cereal addictions, bad habits and personal preferences to the world since 2006. Cheers Twitter, may we celebrate many more years in the future!

Blab’s Social Media Oscars 2011

After spending a few hours watching the Academy Awards and catching up with the red carpet gossip on Twitter, we couldn’t help but wonder what the Oscar ceremony would be like if instead of actors and actresses, the crowd was filled with brands and businesses vying for the top spot. Imagine McDonalds rubbing elbows with American Express, and Chapters walking down the red carpet with Ford. In honor of the yearly event we’ve decided to nominate businesses that truly deserve a Social Media Oscar for their dedication and creativity.

The Best Interactivity

There’s nothing better than visiting a social media fan page and being able to truly interact with the brand by sharing content and helping to build the community online. This Oscar belongs in the hands of Mountain Dew. Their wall is filled with posts giving suggestions on new flavours or campaigns, people confessing their love for the product and sharing photos, videos and stories of their experience with the brand. You can’t fake brand loyalty like that.




The Best Sense of Humor

It takes a lot to convey a joke through a status update but the people over at Skittles seem to be doing just fine. There’s nothing quite like a good giggle and there are no shortage of them on the Skittles fan page. Silly updates, questions, and just plain crazy antics cover their wall and their fans can’t get enough. Skittles has a quirky brand personality and it shows in their advertising and their social media efforts, which makes the brand not only entertaining, but cohesive across all platforms.



The Best Promotions

Everyone loves a great deal, especially when it’s available to a social media community. For quite some time now, Chapters Indigo has been rewarding their online fan base with exclusive savings that deserve a standing ovation! They’re always adding new tabs with discounts online and in-store that you only get if you become a fan on Facebook. It’s a great way to spark some conversation within the group and get people talking about what they plan to use the coupon to purchase. Partially rewarding loyalty and partially learning more about their customers buying habits, it’s a win-win situation!


The Best Creative Use Of A Platform

It’s all about what’s happening next, what’s trending next and what else is possible in the future and that’s why this Oscar goes to Threadless for outstanding innovation! As a Facebook user you can check out their new t-shirts, let your friends know what you think, and order them in your size right from the Threadless Facebook page. They also have a frequently asked questions tab built in to address user concerns about things like shipping and returns since they can buy directly from the page. It’s the integration of this technology that earns Threadless the top spot for creative use of the Facebook platform. Plus who doesn’t love t-shirts?!


The Best Overall Community

Winning this award was not an easy task but Mashable deserves it! In our opinion, the definition of the best overall community is a place where we can go to interact with other users, share opinions and comments freely, keep up with current news and most importantly, educate ourselves. With tons of resources and a great user environment, Mashable never fails to impress. Congratulations to the social media giants for winning over The Academy this year.



Which companies do you think deserve awards for their social media efforts?

Tim Hortons To Roll Up More Winners After Social Media Frenzy

This past Monday marked a milestone for Tim Hortons as they started yet another Roll Up The Rim event. This year was different though, the company was determined to change things and this sudden reaction came from a serious backlash through social media platforms in 2010. There were blogs simply dedicated to keeping track of how many coffees were winners, there were angry social media status updates and countdowns which undermined the company by stating that the odds were horrible and the contest simply wasn’t worth it anymore. With people all over the country getting fed up with Tim Hortons, the company knew they had to make changes fast for the next Roll Up The Rim event; and that’s exactly what they did.

As of 2010, Tim Hortons claimed that the odds of winning a prize were 1-in-9 and that these odds are audited daily when producing new cups for the contest. The number of available food prizes are part of the changes Tim Hortons made to the Roll Up The Rim contest this year. Last year there were 31 million food prizes and this year that number has been bumped up to 47 million to increase the overall odds to 1-in-6 and boost the number of winning cups by about 50%.

Tim Hortons has also decided to offer social media users something extra in hopes of drowning out the complaints. They created a photo builder on their Roll Up The Rim page that allows users to upload a photo of their choice with a frame and multiple statement options such as “I ♥ RRRoll Up!” They’ve even added a RRRoll up the Rim Roulette game on their website that gives registered users an extra chance to win every day by spinning the wheel for a $25 Tims card or the grand prize of free coffee for a year. If you’re a big fan, don’t forget to enter into the Longest Rolling RRR contest. All you have to do is record your longest rolling RRR right on the Time Hortons website and upload it with a photo. Your entry is automatically entered and posted to Facebook for fans to view. Who knew coffee could be so interactive?

It seems like the coffee giant has really taken a lot of things into consideration. I’d like to congratulate them on being so proactive by taking the time to listen to their customer complaints, researching their online brand reputation and using this information to move their business forward. This is a great case study for businesses of all sizes! Sometimes it’s difficult to research all the negative comments and feedback, but in the end, the more you know the more changes you can make to improve customer experiences and repair any damages your brand may have encountered online and offline.

Social Media Makes Breaking Up Hard To Do

It’s that time of year again and as usual, Valentines Day has created a stir of emotions online. It seems that people either love it or hate it, there’s no in between. With social media becoming a stronger presence in our lives, holding together a solid relationship is getting complicated. Before Twitter and Facebook breaking up was a simple task involving a phone call or face to face chat, packing up all of your ex’s items into a box and leaving it on their porch. If they tried to make contact afterwards you just didn’t answer their calls. But now, with breakups becoming extremely public and relationship status’ stirring up drama online, it’s difficult to hold things together for yourself and not let curiosity get the best of you.

In a world so consumed by technology where every detail of our lives is available for the world to see (or at least a large list of approved friends), it’s awkward to announce a breakup of any kind and then endure the questions and concern that come flooding in from people you forgot you knew. While these social networks get a bad rap for hindering communication in the real world, they are still excellent communication tools when used properly. After all, you can’t rely on Facebook alone to have a mature discussion with your partner. There comes a time when a good phone call or meeting up over coffee is the most appropriate thing to do.

Unfortunately this new technology makes snooping and spying a lot easier and as a result it becomes difficult to move on, even though we know it’s over. Let’s face it, we’ve all visited an ex’s page on Facebook, creeped their photos, and checked their status’ on Twitter. With all this information available at our fingertips it’s hard not to re-visit the past when it’s one click away., a love and relationship advice hub, released a series of survey results that shed some light on how social networks have affected relationships. Seventy-four percent of people look up their ex on the Internet, 86 percent admit to clicking through photos of them (14 percent of those people are married) and 50 percent called, texted, emailed or IMed an ex when that probably wasn’t the most advisable move. Arguably because of all of this mess, 71 percent say that they think about their ex too much.

As a result of these responses YourTango created a “Break Up With Your Ex Day” yesterday, February 13th. They encouraged people to unfriend, unfollow, block and basically stop stalking their ex’s online. They even created an online badge that users can post publicly once they complete the required steps to cleanse themselves of their ex. For those of you who aren’t sure how obsessed you are with your ex, you can take the quiz and find out if you need help or not. YourTango’s website also has a good amount of pro-valentines day articles that will help you choose a date idea or a movie for the special occasion but they also have a fair amount of anti-valentines day articles that any sceptic would find entertaining.

Whether you’re dating, in a serious relationship, married, divorced or enjoying the single life, keep in mind that your past is never more than a click away and only you have the power to move on with your life and put a stop to the social media stalking. This Valentines Day, take the pledge and free yourself for good!

Facebook Profile Pic Hack Becomes The Next Big Internet Meme

Facebook is no stranger to Internet memes and with the introduction of the new Facebook profile, some users welcomed the change with open arms. Alexandre Oudin, a French artist, has been credited for starting the next big craze that has more and more people participating as each day passes. Since the creation of Facebook, users have always experimented with photos but the new profile redesign allows for seriously clever animations, typography and photographic magic.

By now there are tutorial videos floating around that teach users how to create some magic of their own and it seems like a Facebook banner application is also cashing in on the trend so it may only be a matter of time before this really catches on. In the meantime, we’ve searched the web and found the top 10 Facebook profile pic hacks. If you’ve been getting creative with your profile, we want to see it!