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The QR code is no longer a term that makes the majority of people go, “Say what?”

Now it’s the term that makes people go “You  mean those little barcode thingys… right?”

As a growing digital trend, it’s growth has been much slower than others and has yet to really catch on at a societal level. Brands have yet to realize its potential from an engagement and advertising standpoint.

But the other day, I ran across an ad campaign for different iPhone apps. The blog I found them on dubbed themphygital,” which later research explained as physical to digital engagment. The ads are simple print ads, but they creatively inspire you to pull out your phone, scan the very nontraditional QR code, and download the app.

Ever since the QR code started to become a more well-known tech term in society, I’ve wondered when the concept of using it for advertising was really going to catch on. No one seems to have really mastered it yet, but when someone does, I can only imagine the effects it is going to have on mobile engagement with brands. It will be interesting to see where this idea of “phygital” advertising can take it.

 

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Have you seen this ad yet? It was the advertisement that, according to AdWeek, started the “social media shitstorm” that has sent ChapStick into a social media death trap.

Upon first post on Facebook, fans became quite offended by the way the girl in the picture was portrayed, and they made their feelings very clear in the comments. But then their comments started disappearing, as ChapStick was apparently going through and deleting negative comments. Since, they have removed the ad from the page and posted a statement claiming the comments that got deleted were violating Facebook guidelines.

So is this ad offensive? Maybe, depending on who you’re talking to. Personally, I found it very humorous. As a lover and heavy consumer of ChapStick, I manage to find chapsticks all over my apartment, in all my purses, in my car, etc, and I have probably found myself in that position looking for my chapstick at least once or twice in my life.

But ChapStick’s biggest problem here was that their fans felt their opinions were being silenced. What’s one of the biggest rules for brands that choose to really use social media? Transparency. It means that they are not supposed to ignore negative comments, much less delete them. Let the world see you have flaws, respond to them, and show that you are trying to fix them. Don’t hide them.

Will this incident really impact ChapStick’s brand in the long run? Probably not. ChapStick is a staple in a lot of people’s lifestyles, and I doubt the awareness of this ad and its response is even that high. But should ChapStick learn a lesson when it comes to the way they utilize social media? Yes. They really need to learn to be transparent, and if a fan isn’t happy, instead of deleting the comment, respond to it and try to fix it.

Interactive doesn’t mean it’s digital, digital media is just a good way to make it interactive.

I recently read an e-book that had a short section entitled “Interactive doesn’t mean it’s digital,” and I found it to be very insightful and make some great points. (You can find the free download of the e-book entitled “Oh My God, What Happened and What Should I Do?” here)

A common misconception about interactive advertising is that is has to be online and that is has to involve some kind of digital interaction, like a click. But quite simply, an interactive ad is something that your target audience interacts with (duh). How do you get your audience to interact with your TV spot or video? How do you get your audience to head to your website after viewing your print ad? How do you execute a gorilla marketing campaign to get your audience involved with the brand? Interaction can be achieved in many ways other than digital.

After reading this section, I immediately thought of a viral ad for Skittles that I was exposed to this past summer while I was working for Proximity Worldwide.

This ad is a perfect example of how to make your ad simple and interactive without requiring the user to click anything or go anywhere. The ad is somewhat creepy, yet so intriguing you will not be able to take your finger off of the screen or stop it. With almost 5 million hits, I think Skittles and Proximity Canada would call this a definite success.

When it comes to my opinions on Timeline… I am stuck between a rock and a hardplace… or maybe I should say between thinking it’s brilliant and thinking it’s creepy.

The idea of it is pretty cool. 20 years from now I’m going to be able to look back on my life and remember the moments that made me who I am. But do I want people I meet 20 years from now to be able to do that?

The design is genius. I think the cover photo allows for personal expression really unmatched by anything Facebook has done to this day. I’ve seen so many different uses of it, but the one I am really using right now (yes, I got beta access before Facebook got all tricky on us) is for cause awareness.

This I think is great, and hopefully will stop the minimal outcries from people who really miss the way they could customize their MySpace pages (so 2008…).

Granted timeline so far has taken me back to the beginning of my college days and reminded me what is was like to be a carefree freshman who didn’t really need to class, but it’s also taken me back to my days in high school, which I’m not too fond of. My first facebook status ever… “(Alyssa Maneri) is at home.” Monumental.

I especially LOVE the map feature that uses location tagging to show where you’ve travelled and where you spend a majority of your time. I love to travel, and I love the ability to show off the places I’ve gone.

All in all, the features put together do form something incredible, albeit somewhat creepy. A mainstream rollout will probably (as usual) cause outcries from users along the lines of “I’m going back to MySpace!” Unfortunately, the mainstream rollout and resulting outcries have been delayed thanks to legal action by a company claiming trademark infringement.

I think my biggest current question regarding the new Facebook timeline is this — with a revamp this big to personal profiles, what are the new Pages going to look like, and how is this going to affect Facebook companies for brands in the long run? Because we have yet to see even a glimpse of what a new Pages page will actually look like, that for now is a mystery…

Yesterday a full page ad ran in the Sunday edition of the Austin American Statesman. The headline read:

“An Open Letter from Business Leaders Concerning the Big 12”

The headline was followed with copy that explained how the writers valued the tradition of the Big 12 and how we as a conference need to unite in order to keep our conference alive. It was signed by Red McCombs, Drayton McLane, Past Gov Mark White, and the Past Mayor of San Antonio Phil Hardberger. You can head here to download a PDF of the ad (not very good quality). If I can find a good quality image, I’ll post it later.

This ad was brought to class by a professor of mine today and sparked quite the discussion.

Who is this ad talking to? They are running it in a dying medium… It’s obviously not the students– we don’t really read newspapers — so possibly the alumni. Is it worth what they paid for? From the little information I’ve found online, this ad also ran in the Dallas Morning News, Houston Chronicle, and the Oklahoman. It could have even run on the West Coast to show the Pac-12 that we aren’t 100% sold just yet. And if they’re smart, they’ll run it again — because frequency is the key to a medium as cluttered with advertisements as the newspaper.

This sounds expensive, though. They can only hope that their ad with their letter creates enough buzz about the topic to be picked up by different publications to create enough sentiment about the issue to influence the real decision maker at UT… Bill Powers. As of right now, it’s gotten a few mentions, one on the Dallas Morning News website and one on ESPN. The only other place I’ve found it mentioned online is a few Aggie forums… needless to say, they are whining about “Texas whining” and ready to throw away a 100 year old rivalry in favor of the SEC. (Guess its time to change your fight song and the fact that you use the defaced version of our logo on A&M merchandise more than your own)

Personally, I’d love to see the Big 12 stay in tact with the addition of a few new teams. I love the rivalries we have with Oklahoma and A&M — it makes football season that much more fun. I love the tradition of it all. Here’s to hoping.

The Longhorn Network kicks off today in front of the tower on the UT campus with ESPN’s college gameday.

And no one is going to be able to watch.

Not one cable provider in the UT Austin zipcode is showing TLN yet. Only one provider — Verizon — has it. And that is one company that I didn’t even know provided cable.

I guess right now my question is: how are they making money?? How are they going to secure advertisers for the first batch of programming when viewing is going to be so minimal? I can only hope that advertisers have enough faith in the network to place ads there, but it is inevitable that in the beginning, the ads aren’t going to lead to as many impressions as it would if Time Warner or Dish Network were signed on.

I can guarantee that Longhorns aren’t the only ones that are upset about this. The first game of the season, Texas vs. Rice, is available exclusively on THN. This was a cool thing at first, until we realized that no one is going to be able to watch us play — including the Rice fans back in Houston. This is bad. Bad. Bad. Bad.

I really hope by some miracle these deals between ESPN and the cable company can come together before September 3rd. I really wish these negotiations had started months ago.

They want people to “Put Your Eyes Upon Texas,” but they aren’t really making this easy, huh?

If you want an idea of what’s coming our way on the Longhorn Network (once the cable companies sign on of course), check out the opening sequence here.

Jersey Shore quickly rose to the top of pop culture buzz shortly after it’s season 1 premiere in December of 2009. Teens and young adults, including myself, watched each week, captivated by the stupidity and drama of the cast members. I remember returning to school from that winter break and the line up of Jersey Shore rush parties that were taking place at fraternity houses all over my college neighborhood.

Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino is obviously the most notorious, mostly for the fact that he is now over 30 and still flashing his abs and partying like a college kid. Teens noticed him. Then parents started noticing him. And now brands are noticing. And they are not too thrilled about what a correlation between this reality star and their brand could do to their sales.

The Ultimate Brand “Situation”

I first read about this in a Wall Street Journal blog post. Abercrombie and Fitch executives were not too pleased when they found out the reality star was donning a pair of A&F sweatpants in the second episode of the show’s fourth season.

Their question: how do they get him to stop? Because they obviously don’t like this type of brand exposure. Their solution? “Pay to not play.” As in, they are going to pay Mr. Sorrentino to not wear their clothes. It’s a win-win situation for him. When brands love him — he gets paid to endorse the product. When brands hate him — he gets paid to not wear their clothes.

My question: how different is this character really from their typical advertising?

Mike is more of an icon because of his need to show off his abs to every girl he sees and the fact that he brings home a good majority of them to his bedroom, not as much for the partying that Snooki and JWoww may be known for. What does typical A&F advertising show? Half naked models in sexual poses.

Thoughts?