Pongr: A Dream for Anyone Brand Loyal

If you read my blog, you know one thing about me for sure: I am extremely brand loyal.  I am brand loyal about everything from what I drink to what technology I use (cameras, phones, etc.) to even what shampoo I will use.  So when Pongr, a game that highlights brand loyalty at its best came out, I knew I had to try it out.

The purpose of Pongr is to show how people interact with a brand on a daily basis.  Everywhere you turn, you are surrounded by brands.  Pongr adds a gaming element to it and has players take pictures of themselves and others as they interact with various brands.  You are then “employed” by the particular brand and move up the ranks from intern to CEO.  They recently added more components to the game which definitely make it more challenging and exciting.  In addition to submitting pictures to the website, you must recruit others to “work” for the brand, promote the pictures you take on Facebook and Twitter and create deals that the brand could potentially use.  For example, if you send in a picture to Pongr for Android, you can get 10% off of an accessory (I think I used this when I was trying to become CEO of Android).

Every brand you can think of needs a CEO.  All you have to do is submit pictures through your phone (yes, feature phones work too which was great for me because I did not have a smart phone when Pongr first came out) or even through e-mail.  You simply send your pictures to the brand “@pongr.com.”  For example, when sending pictures to Verizon, you send it to “verizon@pongr.com.”   When sending pictures to Apple, you send it to “apple@pongr.com.”  You can even send pictures as a JPEG and attach it to an e-mail to send them in.  This way of sending pictures made it really fun for me because I could look back at old pictures of myself interacting with different brands and send them in.  It is always fun to look back at old pictures, and this time you are playing a game while doing it!

To celebrate the holidays, they decided to award a few of the newly appointed CEOs.  The first person who became CEO of a Fortune 500 company was given a $500 American Express gift card.  The person who submitted the most creative picture of their favorite pair of shoes would win free shoes.  And my favorite, the first person to become CEO of Android would receive a free Android phone.  After the death of my Droid back in September that resulted in my hatred for Blackberry (thus, the #downwithblackberry hasthtag I have been using in most of my tweets), I was determined to be reunited with Android again.

So every day since the contest was announced, I recruited others to play Pongr, sent in pictures, created deals and promoted the pictures on Twitter.  Part of the excitement of Pongr is that you never know when you will reach the position of CEO.  At the end of December, I was finally promoted to CEO and won my Android, the Droid X (which I just received a few days ago)!  Pongr has not only combined my love for brand loyalty and photography but has given me quite possibly the greatest gift possible: a Droid!

To hear more about my rise to CEO of Verizon, check out this blog post.

I recruited many people during my rise to CEO of Android.  Some of their thoughts are below!

Amy Bishop: “Some of the things I like about Pongr:

  • The ability to display and promote the brands that you support and use everyday
  • The chance to win contests and deals by just sending photos of your daily interaction with brands
  • Before my smartphone, I also loved that I could upload photos just by sending an email on a regular computer.”

Lauren Gray: “I like that you can win real prizes and submit pictures of what you are doing with the product/brand.  It’s also fun to “recruit” people because not many other geo apps have that recruitment aspect.”

Eric Mendes: “Pongr is an innovative startup that allows users to express their love for their favorite companies to the world.  Personally, I love how Pongr allows users to interact with one another and how the site maintains close contact with their users through social networks such as Twitter.  Always feels like a small connected family.”

Kara Robinson: “Pongr allows consumers to directly connect with and promote the brands they use most often.  It is a win-win situation for the brand and the consumer.  And, it’s tons of fun!”

If you have played Pongr and have some thoughts you would like to share, let me know, and I will post them above with the others!  (More are expected to come later today too!)

Check out Pongr on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube!

Promoted Tweets

So a big story this last week was the news that Twitter is going to finally have ads.  But the ads are a lot different than anyone expected.  Instead of ads on the side like Facebook or even GoogleTwitter is going to have promoted ads.  These advertisements will come in the form of tweets, so users can retweet them, comment on them, etc.  But what does this mean to the world of Twitter?

PC Magazine had a very insightful article explaining how the whole process will work.  Basically, when someone searches for a particular item, a promotional tweet will come up first on the search list.  Chief Operating Officer Dick Costolo used a perfect example of when this could be useful to both companies and users.  Apparently, people were complaining on Twitter that their iPad battery was not charging.  “iPad battery” soon became a trending topic but clearly not for a good reason.  Best Buy recognized this problem and tweeted a solution to this problem, but the people who had already tweeted about it did not see Best Buy’s reponse.  However, if Best Buy had posted a promotional tweet, users who searched for this problem to see what other people were saying could have seen the solution at the top of their search list.  Customers and Best Buy (and even Steve Jobs if you think about it) would benefit from the use of the promotional tweet.

So what are the first companies we will see on Promoted Tweets?  Best BuyBravoRed BullSony PicturesStarbucks, and Virgin America.  Interesting variety and choice in my opinion.  I would think some of the other brands that have a bigger presence on Twitter would be included in the mix, but then again this is a trial run for Twitter.

The interested part of promoted tweets is that Twitter is not really seeing it as the advertisement I just described.  Basically if users do not retweet it, comment on it, favorite it, etc., the Promoted Tweet will disappear.  Twitter wants to continue to be a user-friendly service and keep its organic platform.

MediaPost Publications brings up a good point about Twitter.  What types of ads will people really want to retweet and favorite?  They are not going to retweet regular messages about the company.  People will not care to retweet about something that does not benefit the general public.  They will only want to retweet about sales and promotions.  I could seeJetBlue gaining a lot of attention through these promotional tweets through their weekly JetBlue Cheeps, but I don’t know if some of these other companies would be able to benefit.  But I do have to admit, Starbucks is already getting A LOT of attention by being the first company to take part of the promoted tweets.  The majority of articles being written about the promoted tweets have included the picture above of the “example promoted tweet.”

But what does this mean for Twitter?  Could it have survived without the use of the promotional tweets?  Was there another way it could have made money?  Will people become frustrated by another place that will consume our lives with ads?  Wherever you turn there are advertisements.  Even Gmail customizes its ads depending on your e-mails and what you search for in Google.  And the same goes for Facebook.  Have you ever been frustrated with an ad that appears on the side of your Facebook page?  Is Twitter going down that same route?

Verizon and AT&T…Winner: Verizon

So I think everyone knew this post was coming.  OBVIOUSLY I have to discuss the Verizon and AT&T ads that seem to be the only television commercials right now.  I wanted to provide any readers with examples of both Verizon and AT&T commercials, but (to my delight) every time I typed in “AT&T holiday commercial” or “AT&T map commercial,” etc. Verizon commercials came up.  So I’m going to share 2 of my favorite Verizon holiday commercials: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xup4tGGstgM and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YMAjLdpun20&feature=related.

Ironically, as I started typing this article, the AT&T commercial came on.  I typed in a quote from the commercial into YouTube and finally found a video (even though there was 1 AT&T commercial on a page of Verizon commercials – either Verizon knows how to pick better keywords, or AT&T is really nowhere to be found) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=igdyXceBZLA.

But anyway, back to the beginning.  How did this even start?  AT&T sued Verizon a couple months ago claiming that their ads were “misleading” and thus taking away a large part of their market share.  However, AT&T has inadvertently helped Verizon’s map campaign by drawing attention to it.  Granted, being a Verizon fan, I pay more attention to these ads, but I would have never been so excited over them as I was after I heard about this ridiculous lawsuit.

AT&T is not even denying the factuality behind Verizon’s claims.  Verizon says it has “5X more 3G Coverage.”  AT&T is not denying this but simply saying they have more coverage than Verizon’s ads show them to have.  However, a holiday promotion like the one Verizon uses would not have been focused on as much by potential consumers without the attention AT&T drew to it.  AT&T wanted Verizon to take down these commercials, but Verizon’s lawyers wrote a brilliant statement stating why the ads would stay up including one of my favorite lines, “AT&T sued because Verizon’s ads are true and the truth hurts.”  To further hurt AT&T’s cause, a federal judge denied AT&T’s request to force Verizon to take down these ads.

AT&T made a HUGE mistake by calling attention to these ads.  Even if they had won the lawsuit down the road, by the time Verizon’s ads are done playing (when the holidays end), the lawsuit would not be over.

Everyone makes mistakes.  I have many friends who use AT&T and constantly complain about it.  Many just put up with its service because they want an iPhone.  Soon enough Verizon will come out with something better than that, but for now I can settle for watching them win minor battles like this one.

And to close, one more Verizon holiday ad:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4JgrBtn8XdU&feature=channel.