Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Recycle This Post

101 Things Designers Can do to Save the Earth is a good read, whether you're a designer or not. And it's further proof that bad design really can ruin the world.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Just When You Thought Seeds of Compassion Was Done...

For those of you who were part of Seeds of Compassion and His Holiness the Dalai Lama's visit to Seattle in April, you can relive it here.

For those who weren't part of it, read on:

Last month Porter Novelli Seattle was fortunate to have the opportunity to manage the communications efforts for the recent visit by His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Seattle. Over the course of five days in April, Porter Novelli led the public relations strategy for Seeds of Compassion, a secular and non-political event with the goal of nurturing kindness and compassion in the world starting with children and all those who touch their lives. Through the event the important message of compassion reached more than 150,000 attendees in person and an additional 80 million through television, print, radio and online communities.

We were honored to be a part of this unprecedented effort and to lead one of the largest media management undertakings that our region has seen. Porter Novelli was responsible for coordinating more than 400 members of the media over the course of five days and assuring they passed U.S. Department of State and Diplomatic Security Service scrutiny. From international press outlets, to the Today Show and New York Times, and all local news groups, the Porter Novelli team led an incredibly complex and delicate credentialing effort that resulted in worldwide attention on both the Seeds of Compassion and His Holiness' messages to the world.

As a Nobel Peace Prize winner, a renowned author, and the most highly sought after speaker on the planet, His Holiness the Dalai Lama was in high demand during his Seattle visit. Again, Porter Novelli was humbled to be chosen to manage His Holiness' personal media schedule. Given the political sensitivities of the time, the conflict between Tibet and China, and the world awaiting the Dalai Lama's response on the Beijing Olympics it was clear that Seattle would be the center of history making announcements as the Dalai Lama spoke of the concern for his country.

In a highly anticipated interview, we worked with Ann Curry of the Today Show granting her the first US interview with His Holiness in this politically charged time. Her piece, which aired in a lengthy four-minute segment on the Nightly News with Brian Williams unleashed a flood of media activities resulting in more than 1000 broadcast stories and 100 print stories during the event. Through all the coverage--reaching an estimated 80 million people worldwide--Porter Novelli's media relations team balanced messaging to assure the higher profile Tibet story did not overshadow the real reason for the visit, the emotional and social development of youth. In all, key media pick-up represented that effort with the majority of coverage containing all major message points and highly positive headlines like the AP's: "The Dalai Lama Talks Compassion, Not Tibet". Additionally, we secured His Holiness' only radio interview, an almost eight minute conversation with Renee Montagne, host of NPR's Morning Edition.

As a special seal of approval from the Seeds of Compassion organizing committee, the Seattle New Media Team became the only new media team allowed to cover the event, resulting in podcasting, vodcasting and vlogging. Our challenge was to develop content that would extend the dialog from the initial five-day event to an ongoing online conversation. In addition to helping build a social networking site,, our New Media Team conducted on-the-ground and behind-the-scene interviews. The video and podcast interviews were produced wholly in-house in Porter Novelli Seattle's podcast studio.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Say "Cheese"

The "stupid thief" story never gets old. Why? It's comforting to know that the jerk who violates your privacy is too dumb to get away with it. Even better? When the thief is caught by their crafty victim, adding a heroic twist to the story.

The New York Times recently reported on one such victim that was able to tell the perpetrator to say "cheese" while using her stolen laptop. A friend noticed that someone had logged onto the computer, and through Apple's "Back to My Mac" service, the victim was able to get onto her computer and take the thief's picture. Brilliant.

My Mac Love aside (how cool is Back to My Mac?), this is a great story of karmic retribution for anyone who's ever had anything stolen. And this is the type of publicity you just can't plan.

To read the article, click here

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Are you YAWNING?

Being a YAWN is all the rage these days. According to The Sunday Telegraph of London, “They are a new breed of Gen Xers and Ys, Young and Wealthy but Normal, or Yawns.

A what???

They drive hybrid cars, if they drive at all; shop at local stores, if they shop at all; and pay off their credit cards every month, if they use them at all. They may have disposable income, but whatever they make, they live below their means in a conscious effort to tread lightly on the Earth. Yawns sound dull, but they are the new movers and shakers, their dreams big and bold. They are men and women in their 20s, 30s and 40s who want nothing less than to change the world and save the planet.” posted this great article about this new phenomenon and the potential effects it may have on spending in the coming years. Check it out here.

This article makes me think of a new philosophy we are trying to integrate into our outreach efforts with one of our clients. We are working to promote the positive experiences that customers get from using the service. The idea of making the actual experience more worthwhile, leaving the customer with a feeling of accomplishment and that they have done something meaningful seems crucial to targeting a YAWN.

If you are working on a green initiative for a client or trying to influence influencers, the Earth-consciousness of the YAWNs is something to consider.

Monday, May 12, 2008

What's Your Price?

Okay we have a very important survey here. How much money would it take to eat one of Brent's two year old twinkies displayed at his station. According to Hostess the recommended shelf life is 25 days. But don't fret because a twinkie also is basically void of any real dairy product so not much in there can really spoil. So what's your price?

I'll start it out. Mine is $1,000 - can't drop below the four figure amount.

I think Noah would do it for $3,000 or a new air conditioning system for his Audi, installed.

Who's next?

Morocco Pops, Sour Milk Fizzles

I've become akin to a local god in the apartment building I'm staying in (literally, I was told "God bless you and your travels for coming here" or something like that) thanks to fixing the WiFi connection, so I decided to take advantage of it by checking on my beloved Fizzle-Pop. It took a while to log in unfortunately due to Google's excessive helpfulness. Please note the tiny arabic writing on top of our banner in the above screenshot. If anyone can tell me which one of those is "Sign In" please let me know. 

Anyways, things are awesome. Don't worry Martin/Katie, I still haven't checked my work email. Props to all the new contributors and the new posts. And it looks like Rob and I are both still alive, so we are both "winners" on that bet. 
Other highlights include:
  • Getting sick from sour milk. Yeah, they serve it sour on purpose.
  • Quality time with the lady.
  • Testing my natural resistance to mosquitos/malaria.
  • Meeting what are quite possibly the nicest and most generous people ever.
  • Finding out that bread sucks in America, and cheese sucks in Morocco.
  • Getting a text message from my Blizzard friend randomly that Blizzcon is on again this year... so I'll probably be gone sometime in October doing "competitive research."
  • That I can't play the race card and have my "Puerto Ricaness" save me from bad sun burns.
  • Discovering that the climbing mechanics found in the game Assassin's Creed would indeed be possible in cities such as the ones i've been staying in.
Baslama. See you all on Monday.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Facebook Lexicon Pops!

Looking for a way to gauge your brand's penetration into the world of Facebook? Interested in whether geeks around the world talk more about Star Wars or Star Trek? Want to know whether Lindsey or Britney is the hotter topic of conversation? A quick and dirty way to find out is Facebook Lexicon. Lexicon shows the number of users that posted each term per day on a profile, event or group Wall on the popular social networking site.

It's great for comparing competitors or analyzing emerging trends (for example, the term "cyclone" has seen a huge jump in the past 5 days). While it doesn't provide raw data (it only shows the relative position of a term over time against itself or other words), it can be very helpful in getting a snapshot of how the community is reacting to you.

You can view the trend over several months or just a few hours.

So, hop on to Lexicon and start exploring what's hot on the Facebook network!

Monday, May 5, 2008

"Sports Marketing"...the Seattle Way

Well, if someone were to ask what comes to mind when you put the words Sports and Seattle in the same sentence, I'm guessing one of the following four "fizzles" would come to mind:

1. the lame duck departing Sonics (what a long and painful goodbye...get them out of here already)

2. the successful but hardly known Storm (yes, it's an actual WNBA team here in Seattle)

3. the lame but always hopeful Mariners (and even here, the optimism is waning)

4. the somewhat successful Seahawks (although when will it be "our day"...who knows)

Well ladies and now have a fifth option...the Seattle Sounders FC are on their way... according to their web site only 300+ days and counting! But how will the latest in major league sports franchises be received here in Seattle, not exactly the hot bed for major league sports to date! Will there be more excitement and fanfare than this non-sporting town has ever seen before or just the typical passing interest in whatever new is happening in the city?! Me thinks it might be too soon to tell.

If how the league and team leaders have been marketing the Sounders FC (that stands for Football Club for those of you scratching your head) over the past several months is any indication, this may be yet another bumpy ride. It's been several months since MLS announced Seattle as ther recipient of an expansion team and we've already had a handful of polls to make the community feel a part of the team. Yeah, like that ever works!
The first was a poll to name the new franchise...meanwhile most everyone knew the name was likely already decided upon from the very beginning...after all we did already have a soccer team in Seattle called the Sounders...shocking, I know. Then there was the poll to determine team colors which, again, most everyone already knew would have green as a base color (we are the Emerald City, after all) and likely some form of blue like our friends the Mariners and Seahawks...and then there was the poll on what was the next most important thing to focus on...apparel? coaching staff? player recruitment? I'll let you know the winner of that one once they announce it.
So while 'attempts' have been made to include the fine people of Seattle as part of their decision-making process, let's just move on and start actually building a team...and excitement...and support (at last count Facebook had barely 3000 fans signed up for the Sounders FC Group)...until then, the polls are just ways to fill a lot of empty time...and this consumer and marketing professional doesn't buy it for a second. I love this city like it's my home town...but how to build and support a major league sports team is DEFINITELY not a strong suit!
I will reserve my final opinions until I see how the season ticket selection process, talent recruitment and apparel design activities unfold...but for now, I'm giving the Seattle Sounders FC organization a C+ at best...which in my estimation, doesn't qualify as a "pop"

Happy Cinco de Mayo!!!!

I am lover of alcoholic beverages and although beer and wine are both great I am especially fond of cool, creative and yummy cocktails. So for the first installment of hopefully a running series on cocktails I am focusing on tequila in honor of Cinco de Mayo. Because there is no bigger American past time than embracing holidays outside our own country as long as they include plenty of drinking.

So here are two unique cocktails using tequila as the base. I cannot take credit for these recipes. I had them this past weekend at Sambar, my favorite bar in Seattle. So mad respect nods go to the Sambar mixologist.

Not your ordinary coffee cocktail
1 shot of espresso
1 shot of tequila - please use a good tequila
About a 1/2 shot of Tia Maria
A dash of cinnamon
A dash of cayenne
Serve in a champagne glass

Let's name this the Fritz Special - perfect beach cocktail
Tequila - again, only the good stuff
Fresh pineapple juice
Fresh lime juice
Dash of black pepper on top
Yes, I did not give you exact measurements - play with it and have some fun. The key is the fresh pineapple juice.


Libations B

Friday, May 2, 2008

Happy Birthday Hoes!

I just have to get this off my chest. I received an evite this week from a friend of mine - an invitation to her Cinco de Mayo themed birthday party. Sounds harmless, right? Just. Wait.

So, it's a potluck. I'm being asked to bring my own food and drinks. Ok. Whatever. I get it, food prices are on the rise, blah, blah, blah. I can totally get behind the potluck thing. But then just before I scroll down to RSVP - the zinger: "Instead of gifts, XXXX wants everyone to hang out after the party and pitch in some good 'ol elbow grease by helping us fix up the yard."

Um,.... seriously?

I mean, first of all -- we are grown-ups. I had NO INTENTION of bringing a gift. (And not to get petty here, but especially not when I'm bringing my own food!) Secondly, I have my own freaking yard that is neglected and overgrown. I do not like doing yard work AT MY OWN HOUSE. In fact, I have been avoiding having my parents come by the house for this very reason. (You see, apparently having an unkempt yard is "not how I was raised.")

Furthermore, she lives in Everett. For those of you who do not live in Seattle, Everett is code for really far away. Let's review: I have to pack up the car with my own food and drinks for a little road trip to Everett where I will be assigned back-breaking work in someone else's yard. I don't know about you, but I'm thinking PAR-TAY!

I consider myself to have at least a modicum of self-awareness, so I realize that it is possible I could be perceived as snob-like in this particular scenario. But I have to believe that there are others out there who were "not raised" to invite people over to celebrate the passing of time and weeds. Help me out here!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Puns and Puppies Defeat Fizzle-Pop

Well hell. After deciding to declare war on a random blog so that I could cause an explosion on the interwebs, I received a few suggestions. Then the NY Times had to come along and ruin it with this story about a dog, and her blog. You see, Bella is a Boxer, and she writes blogs. She also happens to be kinda ridiculously cute, and thanks to the NY Times impressions, probably a little bit more popular than she was before.
Bella's blog is written by her owners, two PR/Marketing types in Portland, OR who decided that their traditional PR methods were too old, and needed new tricks. So they gave their dog a new role at the office, as the Director Of Goodwill (D.O.G. eh, get it?!?!?!), and got her to start blogging.

She "writes" about politics, marketing, food and anything else really. The entire blog is from her point of view and has grown in popularity quite a bit (despite not being linked to, or from, the PR agency responsible for coming up with it.)

In an odd twist, pet product companies have even gone so far as to solicit Bella to endorse their goods giving the canine's PR firm a bevy of examples of how other competing PR firms do their business and providing multiple examples of "best of" practices. 

One of the few companies that actually convinced Bella to endorse them did so by describing how their product would benefit an urbane dog such as Bella. "Their internal PR team contacted me (or should I say Bella) with a pitch for their new refrigerated dog product. They did everything right. For example, they were “in” on the joke and addressed everything to Bella." 

It makes me wish we had taken a similar approach to pitching Zero Punctuation (by playing to his schtick and creating a crappy flash video asking him to attend our event).

Additionally, it makes me realize that Fizzle-Pop has no chance of competing with something as adorable as Bella... unless we come up with something even cuter. This is a call to action to anyone who thinks they have something (anything) that can out-cute Bella and be used for Fizzle-Pop mascot purposes.