Lexd's Blog

I write about what I want!

Marketing to Online Communities July 22, 2010

Filed under: other,social media — lexd @ 3:14 pm
Tags: , ,

It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of social media and online networking. At the tender age of 10, I began my foray into this realm with a membership on the Nintendo bulletin boards (BBS, if you will). And, I was hooked.

Things have changed a little bit, but 15 years later I am still pretty thoroughly involved with iterations of these types of sites, particularly Reddit. This oddly coincides with parts of my profession as a public relations/marketing professional, where my job is to reach people. This will come into play a little further along.

If you haven’t heard, Old Spice recently did a social media campaign that I fully intend to case study when they publicize the results. In a nutshell, they took their popular “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” character and translated his presence from TV commercials to online videos. I don’t need metrics to tell you that the campaign was an outrageous success. In an Internet marketer’s dream, the videos “went viral” on some of the most cynical and cutthroat web sites on the Internet, including Reddit and 4chan.

As you can imagine, people went haywire over what Old Spice did. There were blog posts and articles in the New York Times. In forums where marketers are shunned, terrorized and run out of town, the team behind TMYMCSL managed not only to stay in the arena … incredibly, some of the videos (and the campaign itself, eventually) attained meme status.

Of course, people everywhere are analyzing the campaign (especially in my industry) — what did they do right? How did they pull this off?

While the lynchpin of this entire campaign was Procter & Gamble’s willingness to give the Old Spice marketing team the freedom to conduct the campaign as they saw fit (see PRtini’s post for more on that), I think there’s another reason that was equally important:

They used the right people for the job.

Sure, TMYMCSL had already gained some momentum through TV commercials. (“Swan dive!”) But the people behind the online campaign weren’t resting on those laurels. They created videos that not only achieved the goal of promoting Old Spice products, but (and this is crucial) they did it in a way that incorporated the tone, memes and attitude of each community. That is, they demonstrated knowledge of and prior involvement in the communities.

In my 4-year experience with 4chan and Reddit alone, I’ve noticed that a good number of users on these sites think they are above marketing. They can see right through your crappy messaging and client/product placement. These sites often have a “hivemind” mentality, and if you come in intending to pimp a product/client and NOT add anything to their community, they’ll run you out of town (and if it’s 4chan, they’ll probably order thousands of pizzas to show up at your office’s front door).

How is this NOT what Old Spice did? During the campaign, they managed the following:

  • Transparency. They didn’t hide that they were promoting a product/brand.
  • Commitment. They made good on promises (creating video responses for top-voted comments on Reddit, for example).
  • Respect. They observed community guidelines (on Reddit, they posted the campaign thread to the r/entertainment Subreddit).
  • Understanding. They incorporated community jokes when appropriate (“monocle smile,” from Reddit).

Essentially, the tone of the videos was: “We’ve been here before, and we’re creating something we think you’ll find funny.” And so the Internet laughed.

All of this being said, I saw a ProfNet query this morning asking for PR media specialists to talk about 4chan. Specifically, “Is 4chan the equivalent of a tough neighborhood you just don’t want to mess with? Or is it the most visible part of a growing Internet community that will fight back when they feel they’re being pitched or marketed to?”

At this point, I think you know where I stand. I’ll be really interested to see this column when it comes out.

Note: You’ll probably notice I refer to Reddit a lot more than 4chan in this post. TBH, it’s because I monitored this campaign from my desk at work and while my boss is pretty cool about this kind of stuff, I don’t think he would approve of 4chan

image from homard.net


Random Friday July 16, 2010

Filed under: other — lexd @ 6:36 pm
Tags: , , ,

You know, I had a very coherent idea for a blog post today, but threw it out (well, actually just delayed it) to announce the following:

  • While peanut butter is fantastic, this morning I discovered that there is such a thing as “too much peanut butter.” I didn’t have any fun fruit to throw into my green monster and I refused to have a plain one on a Friday (gotta take every chance you can to celebrate the end of the week). So, I swiped the jar of PB from our pantry and put nearly 2 tablespoons in. THIS IS TOO MUCH. It tasted amazing at first, but about halfway through my stomach and even my tongue were like, “you know what? we’re about done here, Lex.” I powered through it and I think the extra protein kept me full until 12:45, but … yeah, maybe less next time.
  • I just had a fantastically fun Friday lunch with a bunch of people in PR/social media here in Orlando. We met up at Dexter’s in Winter Park with a visitor from up north: Jason from IWearYourShirt.com. We definitely talked some business, but somehow I managed to mention the combine derby I went to, as well as the lady who cut me off on I-4 while eating corn on the cob last weekend. Sometimes I wonder why I can’t have normal stories, and then I realize that I laugh every time I tell these. Sometimes I have fun being me (well, most of the time) 🙂

Check out my lunch (before I demolished it): The cast iron skillet salad with salmon. Lookie, you get real (although less pretty) pictures now that I’ve entered 2010 and gotten an iPhone!

Have a wonderful weekend! With any luck, I’ll have my thoughts on the Old Spice Guy’s (well, Procter & Gamble’s) social media campaign this weekend or Monday. Here’s a huge hint: I LOVED IT.

Currently loving: Soreness from yesterday’s Pilates workout, Happy Hour with coworkers tonight, and the obligatory “IT’S FRIDAY!”


PR 2.0 Chat! April 7, 2010

Filed under: social media — lexd @ 9:38 pm
Tags: , , ,

I have to plug myself for a second and direct you to my friend and former colleague (Heather Whaling) PRtini’s web site. Last night, during the #PR20chat she helps run, one of the questions was centered around “people you SHOULD know.” Guess who made the list 🙂 Thanks, Heather!

I mentioned it in the comments on her site, but this right here is why I love social media. Let the naysayers (“you’re so narcissistic blah blah blah”) say what they will … Twitter enables me to constantly be plugged in to people who I think are funny, or who consistently bring value to their followers.

“Value” can be defined differently for everyone, but for me, it’s some mix of the following:

  • Humor
  • Unique insights about PR/SM
  • Distributes interesting information (links to articles, etc)
  • Conversational
  • Asks good questions

That being said, I take Heather’s endorsement (and yes, it was made with full disclosure that we worked together) as a huge compliment, and that I bring value through my Twitterstream.

I also made sure to follow everyone else on this list (which I’m pretty sure almost everyone else did as well) … and I’m liking them already. I’ve found a fellow Yankees fan!

image from carrotcreative


Internet Fuckwad Theory March 24, 2009

Filed under: other,rant — lexd @ 3:21 pm
Tags: , , ,

As much as I would like to think that the Internets have been around for a while, people are no longer socially maladjusted, etc etc etc …

People CONTINUE to prove me wrong! I’ve decided that the majority of the comment boards on the Orlando Sentinel’s web sites are like 4chan /b/ without pictures for the ignorant and bigoted who think they are funny. Except it is in no way as funny as 4chan sometimes is.

I’ve been on comment boards, discussion boards and forums around the county (and even some around the world), and it blows me away that people who comment on the Sentinel’s posts still just don’t get it. They are living proof of John Gabriel’s “Internet Fuckwad Theory”:

A reporter just told me they’re looking into registration that’s a little more intense, but will that really help when all these people are just THAT STUPID?


On Twitter March 23, 2009

Filed under: rant,social media — lexd @ 9:40 pm
Tags: ,

It’s no secret that I love Twitter, so take this with a grain of salt, but … if you’ve been on Twitter for less than two weeks, I don’t really want to hear what you have to say about the service. I’m getting seriously tired of people (especially in the media, oddly enough), who try to “see what this Twitter thing is all about” and spend a few minutes, hours, or even just days trying to use the service. 

Inevitably, they end up following 15 people or fewer (most of which are friends who don’t even update regularly) and having a tweet stream that actually follows the Twitter prompt, “What are you doing?”, which means they’re tweeting the most boring stuff in the world: “Eating breakfast, my bagel is perfectly toasted” “driving home in the rain, sad face,” ad nauseum. And seriously, who wants to read that? 

The thing about Twitter is that there is a pretty steep learning curve, and when it comes down to it, you get out of it what you put in. If you update irregularly and just put out garbage that nobody cares about, you’re not going to enjoy it, because as many Twitter-haters say, NOBODY CARES WHAT YOU ARE DOING EVERY FIVE MINUTES. That being said, people I know who enjoy using Twitter and who find it brings value do the following:

  • For goodness’ sake, ignore that stupid prompt. Nobody cares what you are actually doing unless you are actually doing something awesome.
  • Seek out people who talk about what YOU are interested in. Use search.twitter.com and look up terms: Video games, Anime, NASCAR, badminton, fashion, cooking, hamsters, pencil sketching, Dave Chappelle, cleaning products, flute playing … and then follow those people! They are producing content about a topic that interests you … isn’t that what you’re on Twitter for, anyway?
  • Engage! Whether you’re just re-tweeting (RT) others or actively contributing to discussions, engaging people on Twitter is the best part. Just remember that you’re potentially being watched by thousands, so don’t say anything you wouldn’t want your employer to read. 
  • FOLLOW, FOLLOW, FOLLOW! The more people you follow, the busier your Twitter is going to be, and the higher your potential is for getting information that you enjoy. #follow fridays are a great place to start – on Fridays, Twitter-ers recommend someone to follow. 
  • It bears repeating: Don’t follow the Twitter prompt.

Not related, but funny nonetheless


Facebook – come ON February 16, 2009

Filed under: rant,social media — lexd @ 3:39 pm
Tags: , ,

I’m pissed about Facebook’s new terms of service. They’ve decided that they can use whatever I post, however they wish, without asking or paying me anything. 


So, they think that one of my pictures would work swell in a new advertisement? They can just lift it and go. I could end up in a Valtrex commercial, for all I know. 


Well, maybe not, but you get my point. 


I guess that, beside the obvious, I’m just irritated because I’ve overlooked FB’s past shadiness because I enjoy the platform, and I think it’s a great medium for sharing pictures, communicating with friends, etc. I detested MySpace, and FB was a great alternative to that cesspool. 


But this? Come ON, Facebook! I’m a pretty hardcore fan, and if this continues, I’m thinking about pulling my account. I don’t want to, but the new TOS don’t give me much of a choice (personally). 


(not mine)