Miss me last Friday on HubSpot TV! Check it out here!
I recently wrote a post on the HubSpot blog about marketing lessons from the Harry Potter series. However, I couldn’t let the opportunity pass to get into what this series REALLY means to me. You have probably seen a lot of tweets and Facebook posts and heard a lot of people talking about their childhood ending with the ending of the series. And I think that really captures what this series means to me.
I have always been a bit overly excited when it comes to anything Harry Potter related. When the 7th book came out, I took off of work, got the book at midnight, read until I fell asleep that night and finished the book by the end of the day. I always saw the movies as soon as they came out (gotta love the midnight premieres) and was beyond excited when I went to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando.
I also wrote a blog post after I saw Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. I think the last paragraph will give you a better idea of my excitement:
I guess all I can say now is 492 days until Part I of the 7th book comes out in theaters, and 730 days until Part II of the 7th book comes out in theaters! Then we can finally hear Molly Weasley say “Get away from my daughter, bitch!”
So between the trailer and this Hillywood spoof of Harry Potter and “Friday,” I was counting down the days. Better yet, my birthday is July 14 so right as my birthday ended at midnight, the premiere started.
I was first in line for the premiere (IMAX 3D of course), but I do have to say I’m not the craziest person out there. I love that everyone dresses up, but our theater was crazy to the point that someone who was dressed in an owl costume (as Hedwig) was flying around the theater for a good amount of time. Someone else also hushed the theater and then ran in yelling TROLL! TROLL IN THE DUNGEON! And the theater started singing Harry Potter Puppet Pals (I may have joined in with this one.)
And a big thank you to Foursquare for creating a Harry Potter badge!
So now for some of my thoughts on the movie. SPOILER WARNING RIGHT HERE!
I wasn’t sure how they were going to pick off after the previous part, but I think they did a great job of getting right into it (instead of showing flashbacks from previous movies). The first half had left off with Voldemort getting the Elder Wand, and I think it was right to start there. At first, there was more talking than action in the movie, but that quickly ended. Harry, Hermione and Ron were quickly escaping death at Gringotts.
I didn’t realize how quickly Harry returns to Hogwarts, but I was excited that the movie got right to it. I would have liked Harry and Dumbledore’s brother to go into more details about their history, but I understand that needed to be cut from the movie. Harry confronting Snape soon after that scene definitely made up for that!
But the greatest part of the movie wasn’t the battle between Voldemort and Harry or event their encounter in the forrest. The movie completely overtook me when Snape was killed and Harry went back in his memories to find out the truth about his destiny, Snape’s love for his mother and why Voldemort has been after him. I could hear everyone around me sniffling (including myself). It was just such a beautiful portrayal of the Harry Potter story.
There were also many characters who really developed so well in this movie in comparison to previous ones. Neville Longbottom was the perfect portrayal of a character who went from a scrawny, helpless boy to someone who could look evil straight in the face. The scene when he stands up to Voldemort is overpowering and inspirational. Ginny Weasley is also someone else who came into her character very well. She is now 20 and began filming with the Harry Potter series at age 9 so we really saw her grow up. But seeing her mourn when everyone thinks Harry Potter is dead was one of her greatest scenes.
Now I know a lot of people did not like the epilogue to the series, but I always loved it. I loved reading about their lives in the future after the craziness of their years at Hogwarts. It was AMAZING to see what they would look like in 20 years (and a bit funny for characters like Draco and Ron). But watching Harry give advice to his son as he embarked on his journey at Hogwarts and seeing him reunite with the now married Ron and Hermione was the perfect way to end the book.
So to J.K. Rowling, thank you for 14 amazing years of Harry Potter. Like many other people, I feel like I have grown up as Harry has grown up. And I think I speak for everyone when I say, I cannot wait for Pottermore!
Did you know that every 80 seconds there is a house fire? When I was younger, I had a tremendous fear of fires. For some reason I was convinced that my house would catch on fire. Fortunately, nothing like that ever happened, but many people aren’t as lucky. When Hana Yi told me about this virtual campaign, I was blown away by the creativity and innovativeness of it.
The American Red Cross of Greater Chicago launched a virtual campaign to raise awareness for the dangers and abundance of house fires. They wanted to show people who have not been victims of house fires about the pain that it can cause. Users will connect to Facebook and watch six of their most precious Facebook pictures virtually burn. I can honestly tell you watching some of my most prized pictures burning (even though it was virtual) gave me the chills. The pictures the campaign chose for me included pictures of my family trip to Europe and other pictures taken during college. It was terrifying to think of my memories burning away.
After you watch your pictures virtually burn, you are brought to a page where you can donate to the Red Cross. Then you can tweet about it, post it on your Facebook wall or write about the campaign like I am doing here.
This campaign is truly genius. Targeting their audience online was very smart of the Red Cross, and incorporating Facebook into the campaign was even smarter. People cherish their Facebook pictures and love looking at them. Everyone always asks “Did you put up the pictures from last night yet?” or “Did you see the picture that was just tagged of me?” “Burning them” over the Internet and having people imagine that their prized pictures are gone forever is the perfect way to show how much pain can come from house fires. A good friend of mine lost most of her prized possessions and photographs due to a house fire many years ago and is still saddened by her loss. Showing people what it would be like to lose as much as she did is the perfect way to get people to understand this harsh reality.
For more information about the campaign, check out the news release from the American Red Cross of Greater Chicago.
What do you think about this campaign?
Yesterday, I had the great opportunity to hear Chris Brogan give a presentation about branding at Boston University. He was extremely entertaining and informative and provided the audience with a lot of information about marketing and public relations.
He started off by asking everyone who was a marketing major, public relations major (there were only four of us, surprisingly), etc. Then he asked who was in sales and few people in the audience raised their hands. Then he told us that if we were in these fields, we were all in sales and customer service.
He told us a world class brand has velocity, distribution, relationship skills and true measurement. Nobody cares how many Twitter followers you have or what your Klout score is. These four items are what matters when working in these disciplines.
As companies adjust to using social media in their marketing strategies, it is also important to remember some of the older tactics. Citibank conducted a survey of people 18 and older to see how they had a relationship with brands. Four percent said their relationship was through Twitter, 15 percent by Facebook and 93 percent still claimed that they used e-mail. Brogan did say that if e-mails from companies are sent from a “do-not-reply-I-don’t-want-to-talk-to-you” address, they are not doing e-mail marketing the right way.
When pitching a product, service or brand, remember that brevity rules. 200-500 words in a blog post and e-mail works. People do not want to hear everything that exists on a topic through these mediums. And they most likely won’t read everything.
Marketers often forget to LISTEN to what people are saying. Brogan said to stay topical and current, you have to listen to what people are saying they want. Comcast did a great job of this through their Twitter handle @ComcastCares. They listened to customer complaints, responded to them, fixed many of them and had increased revenues as a result.
Many people think marketing campaigns can be measured by how many people like a page on Facebook or follow a company on Twitter. The real opportunity is to make the next thing happen after the like.
In terms of networking, Brogan referenced the Dunbar Effect that says that you only have 150 people in your network. He said to try to be part of everyone’s 150 network. And the best time to keep your network alive is when you do not need the person’s help.
Marketing should never be safe. The best campaigns are often the most risky ones. Brogan said the cool, awesome thing with many of the new tools out there is being flexible and trying something new. Coke had a very successful campaign with user generated videos, but they will not be able to do something again. Marketing is about fresh, new ideas and keeping a brand alive. He did admit though that Geico’s Gecko can be used repeatedly without being stale.
When keeping in touch with people, interact with them through multiple mediums. Brogan has a huge network and keeps in touch with people by posing questions at the end of his blog posts, commenting back to comments on his blog and even commenting on other personal blogs.
Some other interesting facts he said included:
- 40 percent of business do not have a web presence. They live by what other people write about them.
- The #2 search engine in the world is YouTube.
- 1 in 6 Facebook users is a Facebook fan of Disney.
- The Will It Blend campaign was created by the person in charge of the agency (not an advertising agency) and led to a 500% increase in sales.
Thank you again to Chris Brogan for an informative and entertaining lecture. What did everyone else think?
The entertainment during this year’s Super Bowl may have been unsuccessful, but at least the advertisements were great (well some of them)! Between Christina Aguilera forgetting the words to the National Anthem and the Black Eyed Peas having a total fail for a performance, the advertisements may have saved the Super Bowl (not including the actual game, of course). Below are my thoughts/reactions to some of the commercials that stood out (either positively or negatively).
Bud Light: I usually don’t enjoy the Bud Light commercials. They are normally the same thing: Person 1 is just SO excited that they have a Bud Light, and their entire LIFE is now better. It is always the same exact thing. The first commercial was the same theme as well. BUT the second Bud Light commercial was a change from before AND for the better! Bluntly incorporating product placement into Super Bowl ads, one of the biggest opportunities for product placement was genius and funny too. Having a medieval play with random Bud Light product placements…genius…just genius.
Doritos: The first Doritos commercial was pretty elementary, but they definitely made up for it as the commercials continued. The third commercial with the chip’s crumbs bringing everything back to life was pretty entertaining, and kind of creepy when it brought the kid’s grandfather back to life. But still a bit more creative than the usual “DORITOS ARE JUST THE BEST” mentality.
Pepsi Max: Now I’m not a huge Pepsi fan (which would normally mean I wouldn’t write about it on my blog), but I have to mention the Pepsi Max commercial with the geek being made fun of by the “pretty, popular kids.” Definitely entertaining watching the kids get shown up by the geek and his cool gadgets/toys. Ya gotta love how nerdiness is the new “cool.”
Bridgestone: Kudos to Bridgestone! I think you tapped into every person’s fear of hitting “Reply All” by accident and sending an e-mail out to many people who were not supposed to read it. I’m sure everyone has done that once or twice. Granted, Gmail has an “Undo” button now, but what about those e-mails you don’t realize you sent for awhile? But anyway, Bridgestone just related to EVERY person who has ever sent an e-mail. Great job, great ad.
Go Daddy: When I first started my blog, I used Go Daddy. That year when I saw the Super Bowl commercials, I was so excited because not only did I use this service, but their commercials were so creative! That being said, that time has certainly passed with the abysmal showing from them on this year’s ad.
Coca-Cola: Everyone expects the polar bear in these commercials, especially if the commercial isn’t going to be something unique. I hate to say it because I am TOTALLY brand loyal to Coke, but this commercial was lame. It was the same commercial they have ALWAYS had but with dragons, warriors, whatever they were. I was hoping for something at LEAST as creative as their “Open Happiness” campaign. I hope they bring something better a bit later.
Volkswagen: This ad was great. The little boy trying to have Star Wars powers was absolutely ADORABLE. I have nothing much to say besides good job, Volkswagen. You got everyone’s attention in a positive way. No complaints here, and I haven’t even heard any complaints on Twitter (which is even more impressive)!
Snickers: What was that? Like seriously…you went from Betty White to that? It wasn’t funny this year, and I stopped watching before I even knew it was a Snickers commercial (I only saw people tweeting that it was a Snickers commercial). Not impressed.
Chevy: If you wanted to get the attention of any advertising and PR people, well you did it. There are no complaints from this group as Facebook is more than an addiction – it is a way of life. The tweets after this commercial were beyond excited as they saw the best possible scenario: driving AND having Facebook statuses read aloud. Great job, Chevy.
Carmax: This was a commercial that definitely got an “LOL” out of me. I had never even heard of Carmax before, but it definitely made a lasting impression on me. Very catchy commercial, and definitely kept my attention the entire time. “I feel like a kid in a candy store…” Beautiful start!
Staples: When you think of Staples, you think of the “easy” button and the silly “That was easy” line. I think Staples did a really great job of showing their products while still maintaining their brand image with the easy button. Very nicely done.
Etrade: Let’s just put it this way, you can never go wrong with a talking baby. They will be funny no matter what.
Best Buy: Great line: “What’s a Bieber?” I have nothing against Justin Bieber. Personally, I think he is a great kid and very talented. BUT it was a great way to get some attention for Best Buy by making fun of him.
Groupon: I am a big fan of Groupon. Love the company, love the deals, love just about everything. But I think they could have been a bit more creative with these advertisements. They seem to be making light of serious situations around the world. And while I sort of see their point, I just think they could have been more creative.
Chrysler: Using Eminem in this commercial was perfect. “Lose Yourself” playing in the background was a great addition. The brand was prominent, everyone’s eyes were interested in Eminem (especially since his appearance in the Brisk commercial wasn’t too exciting) and Chrysler got their message across. Their cars were branded as cool, luxurious and made for a star.
BMW: Who doesn’t like game shows? And who doesn’t love FUNNY game shows? “Cram It In The Boot?” Who thinks of something like that? But it was complete genius. It was funny, got the attention of America who loves game shows and showed the purpose behind the commercial: the fact that this car has more trunk space and can really fit all your possessions. Great use of strategy and humor.
NFL: This was one of the greatest ads I have ever seen. It may not have been the funniest or best at promoting a product, but it was certainly the greatest ad of the night. Watching all of the different shows celebrate the Super Bowl was fantastic and so nostalgic. From the older shows like Happy Days, Full House and Seinfeld to most modern shows like Friends and Family Guy, this compilation of shows was truly top notch.
Bridgestone: Bridgestone has done a great job tonight. First with the Reply All and then with the beaver commercial. Great use of a cute animal to get your point across (kinda brings me back to the Geico commercials that I used to look forward to). But not only is the commercial cute and well received (at least on Twitter), but it really incorporates the car well. A lot of commercials are cute and use animals that don’t relate as much to the product they are selling, but Bridgestone is able to do both.
Verizon iPhone: I could probably write a full post on this advertisement. In fact, I will probably end up writing a post about the Verizon and AT&T ads that have been produced since the iPhone was announced on Verizon. But tonight…tonight this single ad has made my ENTIRE NIGHT. Not only does it show the sleek, magnificent iPhone, but VERIZON BROUGHT BACK THE “CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW” GUY! That basically makes all my hopes and dreams come true. Definitely the best ad of the night. Perfect advertisement for the Verizon iPhone and PERFECT way and reason to bring back the original face of Verizon with the “Can you hear me now” actor.
And that’s that for this year’s Super Bowl ads. Congratulations to the Green Bay Packers! (And me, for picking them to win tonight!)
As I said last week, I am very brand loyal especially when it comes to Verizon Wireless. Yes, I have always wanted an iPhone, but I was NEVER going to consider switching over to AT&T. Let’s be serious, there is no network that even comes close to being as reliable as Verizon. Can you hear me now? Yes, because I have Verizon. Dropped calls are unheard of on this network! But let’s get back to what happened today…
There have been rumors for months and months about the iPhone coming to Verizon (if not years). After all, the iPhone is the phone that single handedly helps AT&T compete against Verizon. When my phone broke in September (or you could say, drowned in a rain storm), I wanted to wait until the iPhone potentially came out at the beginning of the year. I even subjected myself to using a Blackberry (see #downwithblackberry) for three long months as I awaited the iPhone. So when the Wall Street Journal published “Verizon Finally Lands the iPhone” on January 8, I started to take the rumors seriously. My “Verizon Wireless” Google Alert has been posting stories about the iPhone coming to Verizon for months, but until a reputable source published the story, I was not going to believe anyone.
That’s when my world exploded, and the clues just all appeared. Fast Company published “Verizon’s iPhone Tomorrow: Everything You Need to Know” on January 10 explaining everything that was going on. To quickly summarize this article, they displayed the invitation from Verizon to the press event, stated that Gizmodo was not invited (which could possible be due to their disagreement with Apple when they leaked the iPhone 4 pictures) pointed out that Verizon’s official tweets were coming from an iPhone instead of the web and wrote about the design and plan for the Verizon iPhone. Gizmodo commented in their article “The Verizon iPhone Will Be Announced on January 11” saying they were not invited to the press event even though they are normally invited to Verizon press conferences, but they still love Verizon anyway. What great sports!
So while I was basking in the glory of all these articles, journalist Jon Swartz from USA Today tweeted “Any Verizon customer who’s been waiting for a chance to buy an iPhone? Can I interview you?” My fellow Verizon supporter, Jenna Glynn, tweeted back at him saying “@jswartz652 you should talk to @RSprung! She is a Verizon SUPERFAN & tomorrow is her Christmas.” He immediately got in touch with me, interviewed me and published an article entitled “Would a Verizon iPhone be a hit?” quoting me! More excitement for my Verizon holiday!
This morning was quite exciting. I set myself up in front of the computer with multiple websites open awaiting the 11:00 press conference starting time. Engadget was posting live from the event. Lowell McAdam, President and COO of Verizon, began the press conference right on time (I really adore him). Some key highlights:
11:00 am: “Okay, it looks like you’re expecting a big announcement. I don’t think we’ll disappoint. If the press write something long enough, eventually it comes true. We’re very very excited about our announcement today.”
11:05 am: “This is putting us at the hub of the wheel driving this industry. Collaboration is the key to innovation. We’ve worked with partners across the industry.”
And my favorite:
11:06 am: “Today we’re partnering with a giant of the industry, and that’s Apple.”
11:06 am: “Late in 2010 we started offering the iPad… today, we are extremely gratified to announce that the iPhone 4 will be available early next month.”
And some quotes from Tim Cook, COO of Apple:
11:09 am: “Tens of millions of customers have purchased the iPhone around the world. Customers have downloaded billions of apps. I am incredibly happy, and I can tell you all of Apple, is very very excited to bring the iPhone to Verizon’s customers.”
11:10 am: “We’re incredibly pleased to give Verizon’s customers the choice we’ve been waiting for. We’ve designed an iPhone 4 which connects to the CDMA network — and it has all the features that you’d expect. Like FaceTime. Features like Apple’s stunning Retina Display.”
11:11 am: “5 megapixel camera, HD video… the custom A4 chip. But most importantly, it provides an integrated customer experience that’s far beyond what anyone else is providing. From iOS, to iTunes, to the App Store — they’re all designed to work together.
And some quotes from Dan Mead, CEO of Verizon Wireless:
11:13 am: “We’ve built our business on building the very best network — and now our customers have a choice for the iPhone 4 on the nation’s most reliable network.”
11:17 am: “On February 3rd our existing customers will have an opportunity to pre-order… on February 10th, everyone will be able to order online, in stores, or in Apple stores.”
And right as this was announced, the beauty that you see below was updated on Verizon’s website AND Apple’s website!
And Mashable posted “It’s Official: The iPhone Is Coming to Verizon.”
Check out the Wall Street Journal’s great recap (and video) at their article “Verizon Wireless to Offer iPhone 4 in February”
I’m expecting AT&T to come out with all sorts of insults about how you cannot go on the Internet while on the phone, but the truth is Verizon is the superior network. They have the more reliable service. There is a reason Apple felt the need to bring the iPhone to Verizon customers. AT&T was unable to fulfill all of the needs of the iPhone. Enter: Verizon!
And that’s that! The iPhone 4 will be on Verizon starting February 10, and my entire life is now complete!
What are your thoughts about the release? Disclaimer: Negative comments are not welcomed on #VZWiPhone Day!
I think this has been the longest that I haven’t updated my blog, so instead of writing about a specific topic, I decided I was going to just give a general update (thus the creative title) about what has been going on in my life.
So after spending a few weeks at home (for the first time since I went to college – maybe even before that), I started my internship at Burson-Marsteller. I did not know what to expect walking into the internship. Every student who has taken PR classes heard about some of the famous campaigns that this agency has led. Even though it has only been a couple weeks, I have constantly been impressed by the time and attention the interns in this program receive. Everyone has gone out of their way to make sure I understand assignments and clients. They explain how my contributions are a piece of a puzzle that accomplishes a larger goal. I have been quickly welcomed as part of a team by my supervisor and practice group.
In addition to learning from hands-on experience, I have gained a lot of knowledge and insight through the training sessions provided to the intern program. Our session on media relations provided me with a greater understanding of the strategy behind reaching out to reports for placements. The presentation showed me yet another piece to the puzzle that makes up Burson-Marsteller. We have more presentations on the agenda for the summer, but we will also have the opportunity to learn from past interns and evenHarold Burson at luncheons throughout the summer. The combination of learning from presentations and mentors is extremely beneficial as we become public relations professionals.
I also went to Scottsdale with the new PRSSA National Committee. We had two days of meetings and discussed all of our plans for the upcoming year. It was truly motivating to be in a room of such ambitious and intelligent people. And I must say, this organization is going to see great things in the upcoming year starting immediately. But I am honestly counting down the days already until the PRSSA 2010 National Conference in Washington D.C.
And even though this is completely off topic from my internship and retreat, I have to mention it. I saw Toy Story 3 in 3D. I laughed, and I cried (literally cried with tears streaming down my cheeks). It was a great movie. But it also made me realize that one day EVERYTHING is going to be in 3D. I wonder what things my children will laugh at me for not having when I was younger (like I laugh at my mom for not having color TV or things like that), and I realized that this is going to be one of them.
So that is the gist of what has been going on in my life. I’m exploring NYC, interning, PRSSAing (yes, that should be a verb) and seeing movies (Eclipse to come in 9 days!) More posts to come (and not just “general updates”)!