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Why I Love Commercials

And it’s not because other people hate commercials. I’m not a contrarian (or at least, I try not to be). Also, It’s really a coincidence that I am writing this after one of those politically advertised elections of all time–I actually just wanted to talk about this today.

Anyways, I love commercials. I haven’t always loved them, but over the past year I have noticed something very interesting about the trajectory this form of traditional advertising is on.

Think about it. The advent of on-demand television and Netflix has made commercial advertising trickier than ever. I don’t think I need to really emphasize just how easy it is for us to bypass commercials altogether. The unintended consequence of this new reality is that advertising quality and creativity have only made commercials better.

Gone are the days when commercials could just blanket every market because executives were confident their message would be seen no matter what. Here are the days when more money than ever before is being spent on market research, target demographics, and well, production.

Even over the past 4 years, I’ve noticed a sharp increase in commercial quality across the board on the same channels, especially cable networks such as FX, TBS, and Comedy Central. Compared to just a few years ago, I find myself more engaged and more likely to respond to television advertising, which let’s face it, is necessary during these changing times.

Commercials are now more interactive. They share ideas with social media. I saw a commercial the other day that made me laugh out loud, and that never happens. It may not even be that the content is that much better than it was a decade ago or the products are better. It’s really just that advertisers are doing a better job of capturing our attention.

Just look at the commercial I used as this post’s featured image (clicking on it will take you to the youtube video for the commercial). Amazing right?

How am I so sure that this is a result of more challenging advertising hurdles? Well, I’m not. Correlation is not akin to causation and all that. Still, I can’t help but believe this is a case, due to the fact that I find myself actually enjoying commercial advertising for the first time, even on Hulu.

Whatever the reason for this perceived increase in commercial quality, I find myself being a person that enjoys people trying to sell me things in-between my favorite shows. Let’s just hope this won’t have an adverse effect on my wallet.

JN

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Let’s Talk About Social Media for a Second

It’s the weekend (almost) so I thought it would be appropriate to talk about something a little more light in regards to business, PR and everything else you expect from this site.

Let’s talk about social media for a second. I’ve been a obsessed consumer of the medium since an old friend introduced me to Myspace and how the addicting (and rewarding) nature of social life can actually translate beautifully online.

I’ve since made a career surrounding the medium in terms of being a communications technician that solely uses social media as a public relations and advertising tool. It’s been a pretty great ride, but here is what still fascinates me:

We have all of these countless social media sites and startups. It seems like new and amazing ideas are constantly showing up on our screens, and I’ve never once felt ahead of the game. This became obvious to me for the first time about a year ago, when a few friends and I were talking about social media sites we loved.

I was amazed at how many social sites were brought up that I had never heard before. Me. The self-proclaimed social media guru. Joking aside, I was initially disappointed at myself for not being more embedded in this so-called tech culture.

Luckily, I kept at it and disregarded how others could potentially view my Klout (intentional pun). I learned to love social media for its benefits the world and consumers, not just myself. This positioning of the social media ideal now makes me hunger for more knowledge with the medium.

Oh, I have so much more to learn fundamentally, and I will probably never run out of exciting new tools to play with. The difference is that now when someone brings up a social media site I’ve never heard of, I hunger to learn more about it and discover it for myself. The best part is sharing these evolving ideas and concepts with others and starting great conversations about, well I shouldn’t have to say it again.

Speaking of the evolution of social media, I want to write an article soon about my thoughts on the latest book I’ve been reading, The Dragonfly Effect, by Jennifer Aaker and Andy Smith. This book addresses the big scheme of things if you will in how social media can make a real difference in the world and actually affect social change. It provides tools and insights, mainly through stories, of how we can use social media to actually make the world better. What could be considered a loftier goal in this profession?

JN

Want To Get Paid For Your Pinterest? Pinbooster Can Help

To start off, I am happy to announce that I am now a contributing author for Startup Addict, a website that covers startups, social media, marketing, technology and more. I’ve been following the site for some time, so I am definitely excited to be a part of their growth. So, since I will be handling social media and startup news, it was a no-brainer for me to talk about Pinbooster to get things started.

This brand new startup went public just a few days ago and is looking to make a big impact on the Pinterest network, notably using the Pay-Per-Tweet model to cash in on influential Pinterest users. Put simply, brands can now sponsor/promote their pins by paying influential pinners to share their content.

It’s a brilliant idea considering the virility of image-based content and could shape entire advertising campaigns in the near future. Getting set up as an advertiser or paid pinner is beautifully simple, since all you need is a Pinterest account.

If you’re there as a pinner, Pinbooster will analyze your influence based on their own algorithm and determine what you should charge advertisers per each pin (with the price starting at $1). So far, one of the most impressive payouts has been the sum of $1,000 for a re-pin, but small-time pinterest users will probably expect sums much lower.

One of the main reasons I am excited about this startup is because of the impressive results from beta testing, which are showing that this new tool is on the path to being extremely useful in getting Pinterest on the marketing map.

I’ve written in the past about how inherent obstacles among the Pinterest experience can inhibit companies from taking huge risks with the platform, as we see with Volvo’s “JoyRide Campaign”. That said, a Pay-per-pin model can help brands break through the most challenging obstacle on Pinterest, which is building a huge following quickly and driving traffic.

Now, there is still a bit of controversy surrounding whether or not Pinterest actually has high conversion rates, but what we do know is that people spend more on Pinterest according to this RichRelevance study. When you consider just how engaged users are with Pinterest content, the floodgates could be opened for advertisers looking to find a cheap way to channel their content through something besides a Facebook page.

Of course, I wouldn’t be very fair if I didn’t address some issues I foresee with the service. One main complaint we can expect is that this will downgrade the quality of pins tremendously, which is a huge draw for Pinterest. Another potential problem is that advertisers could be disproportionate to pinners, as you would reasonably expect. Plenty of people will be willing to sign up and await their angel investment, but how many advertisers can we really expect to jump on board?

At any rate, I expect this project to at least build a model of hope for marketing on Pinterest, and we have to start somewhere. Let me know what you think in the comments, and be sure to visit the site here and see if you have what it takes to be a Pinbooster success story.

Jon

Quick Copywriting (and Twitter) Tip

I’ve been writing a lot of google ads the past two days, which has forced me to re-evaluate my copywriting strategy. Copywriting, like tweeting, is known by many to be one of the absolute hardest forms of writing since you are trying to convey in a few words what could take paragraphs.

Of course, practice and time will surely help boost your copywriting skills, but here is a quick tip that may give you some more legs to stand on: when writing copy, write out everything you want to convey first. From there, analyze the most important details and go from there. Keep a thesaurus handy and make sure you’re using the most concise words possible. Finally, punctuate! Make sure your sentences flow smoothly and don’t use conjunctions or semi-colons that will just drag your sentence out longer.

Hope this helps!

Jon

Give with no Intention of Receiving

I was listening to a podcast featuring Chris Brogan yesterday that coincided perfectly with the Donald Trump story regarding the idea of giving to charity. It seems like the stars aligned this week because the company I work for is also pushing content related to “Giving with an Agenda,” and why that can be harmful.

Anyways, Chris Brogan said something on this podcast that really resonated with me. He was discussing ways in which we can effectively create relationships online through Twitter, our blogs, and anything else. He mentioned how we are used to be bombarded by sales, which everything ultimately comes down to. It seems like every conversation we have online or in life boils down to, “What can this person do for me?”

Brogan pointed out a simple truth. When you give with no intention of receiving, that is, you give without an agenda, people respond. Relationships and intimacy are formed between two entities. Giving without expecting a return may not always be easy to display, but when someone is convinced that you are genuinely trying to help them, they are much more likely to trust you.

I’ve experienced this myself just by writing this blog. I make no money from this and expect nothing in return from the people who gain value from reading this. That is why this blog has gained a following. It’s not because I’m some genius writer (although you’re definitely allowed to think that) because I make mistakes all the time. The point is that you will find much more success in branding something when your mission is trust, and real trust has to be earned.

Jon

Why Donald Trump’s Challenge to Obama Probably Won’t Work

I say “probably” because hey, anything can happen right? That said, the odds that this will actually change anyone’s mind or perception of Obama is rather slim.

Here’s the context. For days, Donald Trump has been hinting at a big “announcement” he would make today (Wednesday). Many speculated on uncovered divorce papers while some even argued he was revisiting Obama’s birth certificate. Turns out, the notorious Trump is offering $5 million to the charity of Obama’s choice if, and only if, he releases his respective college transcripts, including his passport.

This request comes from the notion that the president is hiding a shameful record of low grades during his time at Columbia University. Here’s the thing though: Obama has already admitted that his grades were mediocre during his time there in his book, “The Audacity of Hope.”

Of course, this raises the valid question of why his records are sealed in the first place. Even if he had poor grades, that would change few minds about reelecting him since this happened decades ago. As some have pointed out, however, poor grades mean that Obama could never have gotten into Harvard Law School or kept up scholarships that would have to pay for his education since he did not come from a wealthy background. So, what exactly could the president be hiding?

The real point, however, is that this would change nothing. Obama will never release his college records at the request of a private citizen. That would be political suicide unless he has a sterling record, which is highly unlikely given that he sealed them and because of the points above. Obama will play this off as “political football” and let his constituents attack Trump for him as his advocates. That is the obvious strategy that will inevitably make this issue fizzle out. Some more people will hate Trump. Some more people will distrust Obama. That’s about it.

That is, however, unless something completely unpredictable happens between now and October 31st, which I am all for.

Jon

What The Weekends Should Be For

At least for me, my work week is packed full of writing. In other words, I spend my time at work just putting out tons of information from my mind. For you, that can be in the form of something else, but the idea remains the same.

When it comes time to plan out my weekend, I am then faced with trouble. I want to be productive, but I am mentally exhausted. What can I do to keep myself from being lethargic without missing out on much-needed rest?

For me, the solution is reading. After days of spouting content from my mind, it is actually refreshing to just take in some profound insights from something else. Escapism if you will. The key is to find something that isn’t just entertaining, but thought-provoking as well. In other words, if it isn’t interesting enough for you to talk about the rest of that week, you’ve probably wasted your time.

JN

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