As a life-long huge fan of the show, Family Guy, I was beyond shocked when they killed off one of the main characters, Brian Griffin, in November 24th's episode by hitting him with a car and his wounds too severe to fix.
The aftermath of killing off the family dog resulted in an outrage on Family Guy's Facebook page, the creation of multiple tribute pages and photos, and general rage in Fox's decision to kill him off. To even further enrage the fans, the show replaced Brian's character with another dog in the same episode.
This left fans wondering: Will he ever come back?
Family Guy has killed off characters in the past only to bring them back in later episodes, reveal the episodes were dream sequences, or have Stewie simply go back in time to save who ever was lost. None have created quite this much chatter, however.
So this left me wondering: Is this simply a huge publicity stunt?
Why would Family Guy choose to kill off one of the main characters so suddenly? The marketer in me immediately saw red flags. It created so much buzz for a show that is in its 12th season (numerous blogs and articles, huge interaction on social media, news stories, and an overall talk about why they killed off Brian) that is was almost impossible for it not to be one.
Fans even went so far as to start a change.org petition that prompted more than 128,000 people to ask to bring Brian back.
The show still has a solid following with its many loyal fans, but maybe this was a way to capture those who only occasionally watch the show, but are vested enough in the story lines to be upset of the killing. It worked. People that had forgotten about the show were suddenly very upset that he had been killed; many vowing to never watch the show again if they won't being him back. Life long fans were suddenly reminded how much they have invested in his character over the past 12 seasons.
Well, either the show listened or it was their plan all along.
It was announced today that Brian Griffin will, in fact, be returning to the show in the December 15th episode, which is titled "Christmas Guy". The synopsis states that "Stewie devises a master plan to get the one and only thing he wants for Christmas". It is unclear, however, how he will be brought back and even if he will be brought back for good. I guess that remains to be seen.
So why did they do it? We may never really know, but I can assure you that publicity had at least something to do with it!
Life long Family Guy fan,
Many people expect marketing companies to work absolute marketing magic in a very short amount of time.
"I started paying for SEO a week ago. How come my business hasn't reached page 1 of search results yet?"
"You started managing my Facebook page a few weeks ago. How come I've gained so little likes?"
"You made a YouTube video and posted it 5 days ago. How come it hasn't gone viral yet?"
"I've been paying for your marketing services. How come I haven't seen more sales?"
Of course these are all valid questions and life for marketers would be wonderful if things really did work that way! But unfortunately, life and marketing results aren't that easy.
Good marketing takes a good amount of time for many reasons.
Let's take a minute to talk about what marketing does for your business. Marketing creates sales. Marketing builds brand recognition and helps to establish your brand. Marketing helps put your name out there. The whole point of doing things like social media, YouTube videos, and airing ads is to build your brand and help your company become a household name. Let's take the Lansing company, Michigan Plumbing, for example. I bet at least 7 out of 10 people reading this that live in the Lansing area could sing me the jingle and probably 5 out of 10 could describe their logo to me. Why is this? They market across multiple platforms and spend a lot of time and money doing so. Have I personally used their services? Do I really know what all of their services include? No, but I somehow know who they are and if I ever needed a service related to plumbing, their name certainly is on my call list. (Along with Michigan Creative's client, EB Companies, of course!)
Processes like going viral and getting to page 1 of Google results take time for different reasons. Most of these being the unspoken and unwritten rules of the internet. It takes a little bit of luck, a little bit of money, and a whole lot of patience for these kinds of things to happen. It's all about using great keywords in the tags of your YouTube videos and picking the right key words for SEO. Then you must wait for them to effectively drive traffic.
One of the most difficult things to explain is that good marketing may not result in immediate sales. Of course things like promoting an event or advertising a discount can, but that's obviously not all of your marketing. (If it is, it shouldn't be) Anyway, going back to a point a made above about building and establishing your brand, that's really what good marketing does. Good marketing doesn't just provide you with a temporary boost in sales; it works to secure a long-term increase in sales to really help your bottom line. Isn't that something every business owner would like?
So my message to you is to not give up on your marketing company! Truly great marketing results takes time (okay, and a little bit of money) and patience is a must. Long term marketing plans are the best for your business and for many marketing companies, that is what they want to provide for you!
Until next time,
Relocating an entire business, mountains of video equipment and all, definitely doesn't sound like much fun, right? Well, even though the actual moving process is kind of a pain, it means that your business is doing great! Moving to a new, bigger office is like getting to take over your older siblings bedroom (the bigger one, of course!) when they move out. You're moving up in the world, your business is growing, and you're just a happier person overall.
Right now all of us at Michigan Creative are in the process of doing just that; we are moving out of our little home here at the TIC in East Lansing and over to the NEO Center between here and Old Town!
As I was packing up all of the video equipment this morning, making a new inventory list and checklists, I thought about how that might be something helpful for everyone else to know (that doesn't already). When you move to a new apartment, house, or wherever, you (and the rest of us, too!) are probably guilty of putting piles of maybe-related things into boxes, thinking you'll either remember where you put it or "find it when I unpack". Granted, there are a lot of people that actually are really organized and on top of things when moving, but most of us could use a little improvement.
Making a list of everything you pack up not only helps you remember where things are when you unpack, but it also helps you to make sure you actually have everything that you're supposed to. We had some old checklists here of what is supposed to be in each of our video kits, so I redid those as I packed, checking things off as I found them, and adding anything to the lists that were missing. I noticed that there were a lot of things like USB cables, adapters, chargers, etc. that didn't belong in a kit, but are still important to keep. So, I decided to make a full inventory list of ALL of the equipment. It took a while, but now we can be sure that nothing will get lost in the move and we can keep making the best content we possibly can to help YOU grow YOUR business!
See you soon at the new office, and Happy Thanksgiving!
Brought to you by Michigan Creative [Video]
Welcome back to Michigan Creative's small business showcase folks. Today we feature a campus favorite that has been popular since I started at MSU, and that is the lovely Yoga State yoga studio.
Founded by yogi Jen Hayes, Yoga State is a small yoga studio with 2 locations in both East Lansing and Okemos. We would specifically like to focus on the East Lansing studio, located on Grand River upstairs above Campus Street Sportswear. The studio features classes in various styles of yoga, (hot vinyasa being my my personal favorite), spinning, and spinyasa (a mix of the two).
Hot yoga includes yoga flows in about 100+ degree room temperatures. Hot temperatures calls for lots of sweat, which essentially cleanses your body of toxins. You are required to drink lots of water before, during, and after. This workout is a great way to concentrait on your mind and body for 1.5 hours. You practice deep breathing (a natural relaxer), mind and body control, physical strength, and balance.
I have had the pleasure of visiting Yoga State multiple times and one of my favorite classes is their $5 promo on Sunday's nights. The last class I took with Brooke and was refreshingly cleansing, challenging, and entertaining. We had a great mix of men and women working together to center ourselves after a long week of class, work, and stress. One of the best things about doing yoga with Yoga State is their upbeat instructors and great taste in music during flows. While you are sweating it out and trying to balance on one leg with the older high in the air, the last thing you want to listen to is classical boring crap.
So next time your sitting on your butt watching TV and stressing about all the homework you should've done over the weekend instead of going to the bars, take a time-out and check out Yoga State - Mind, Body, and Soul. It will be the best 1.5 hours of your life....then you can start stressing again.
Brought to you by Michigan Creative Marketing.
Till next time!
Everybody knows that a testimonial can work wonders for acquiring new business, but anyone who has seen their fair share of late night infomercials would agree that they often seem overly scripted and forced. Through conventional media outlets, such as TV and radio, testimonials lose a lot of credibility because the audience does not have an opportunity to challenge what is said, as one could through face-to-face human interaction. Apparently, Canada's Royal Roads University agrees and their latest stunt is definitely turning heads.
The university set up a digital information kiosk in a local mall displaying what looks like a recent alumnus LinkedIn profile, showing her career achievements, and a giant touch screen 'Connect' button. When curious passersby attempt to connect to the digital profile, a secret door slides open, revealing the live alumni hidden inside the kiosk! After the brief stage of obvious shock and disbelief, the conversation shifts to Q&A about her alma mater. The casual face-to-face conversation makes the testimonial much more believable and easily caters the conversation toward the individual's interest. Not to mention, cramming yourself into a tiny box to promote your university is already saying a lot.
This seems to be the new trend in video and interactive advertising. Go out into the public, make a lasting impression on a small group of people, then post the stunt online. Seeing the unscripted reactions and emotions of the random strangers plays on our empathy, developing a similar brand image in our heads, despite only watching it vicariously. Just look at the success of the coffee shop stunt last month, promoting the 2013 remake of Stephen King's Carrie. Or Pepsi's 'Uncle Drew,' though its getting kind of old on it's third installment. Pure advertising gold.
If you are planning on executing a similar video with hopes of it going viral, here are some tips to make it a success:
Play on the strongest human emotions
Fear and love. Both seem to have extremely profound, lasting effects on us. If you are able to genuninely evoke these emotions out of your crowd, chances are your message will not be forgotten. Look at the power of the London's anti-drunk driving PSA and Coca Cola's 'Look at the world differently' campaigns respectively.
Make sure you are representing your brand correctly
As fun as it would be to go out and terrify strangers, to later reveal they were on a hidden camera shoot, it may not be the best choice of action if you are trying to advertise for say, homemade baked goods. Make sure the emotion you are capturing fits your intended brand image and tells a story about your brand or product. Toronto creative agency, John St., depicted this perfectly in their spoof video, ExFEARential.
Focus on audience reaction
The reason these videos go viral is because the way they are shot gives the viewer the feeling that they are there watching in person. No matter how elaborate and stunning your stunt is, if you dont capture your audience, it just doesn't seem real. We want to see the people whispering between their friends in disbelief or scrambling to their smart phones to record a developing flashmob.
Share, Share, Share!
Even the best video wont be a success if it can't reach the general public. Get out there on all of the social media outlets and let your work be seen. Don't count on just one, viral videos rely on word of mouth, so the more people viewing your video the better. Generate traffic from Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Youtube, Vimeo, Pinterest, Reddit, StumbleUpon, Vine, Instagram, the list goes on and on.
It is often hard for people to realize that creative minds are behind every great project we see online. After a while consumers begin to see a brand as a lifeless entity. The best way to give your brand character is to go back to your content and respond to comments, answer some questions, and show off some personality! Tesco Mobile, a UK cell phone provider, is notorious for their outside-the-box twitter battles with customers and other companies! It seems to be working wonders for their image.
Good luck going viral!
Facebook is doing Facebook all wrong*.
Recently, I visited the company's official Facebook page to report a problem with some recent posts on the business pages I run. I noticed that the posts were only reaching one or two people.
Naturally, I wanted to go to Facebook's Facebook page and let them know but upon visiting, I immediately identified three main problems.
Problem #1: No Wall or Ability to Message
Facebook has disabled their wall so users do not have the ability to write on it. Users also do not have the option to message Facebook. So how exactly are users supposed to ask for help? Facebook should know that many Facebook users use the social network to contact businesses, ask questions, and submit requests.
I do understand that the reason they do that is most likely due to volume. At the time of this writing, their official page has over 105 million likes.
So I'm going to give them a mulligan on that one.
Problem #2: They Don't Respond
So I understand the user load in regards of wall messages and inbox messages, but the number of comments is much less. Their most recent posts have between 1,000 and 12,000 comments. Some are (of course) useless comments, but mixed in are genuine concerns and complaints from users; things like posts not working, business pages not working, analytics not working, and so on.
Even with the lower number of true complaints or questions, Facebook chooses to absolutely never respond. I scrolled through many of their recent posts and did not see one response from Facebook. Instead, users reply to each other with useless information and spam.
Problem #3: They Don't Post Consistently
Facebook posts barely once a month. Don't you want to inform your users of the latest and greatest things your product can do? Facebook makes updates every single day--don't you have things to talk about? What about when Facebook has issues--don't you want to address them and/or let your users know when they are fixed?
By posting inconsistently, you are not building a relationship with your customers and not doing a very good job of keeping them informed either.
Problem #3 exemplifies why I think they should take care of Problem #2!
So what is my point? Don't have a Facebook page if you aren't going to run right. What good does it do if it doesn't inform or help customers and presents an image of a company that doesn't care about their customers?
*Of course recognize that this blog is probably a very large moot point because they won't change and you could kill most of these points by saying 'they simply wouldn't have time to do any of this'. But I still wanted to share my points!
Until next time!
Brought to you by Michigan Creative
All Photos by Gianluca Giannone courtesy Blinking City
It can often be seen in fantasy movies and paintings; ships slowly rising from the water and flying through the clouds. This kind of scene now comes to real life in the studio of an 83-year-old elder. His name is Luigi Prina, originally from Italy, who was an architect for 20 years. This retired architect has been producing a variety of ships that not only have fantasy shapes, but also have the real ability to fly.
The ships are there, hanging down from the ceiling, waiting for a person to walk through. They are not in search of ocean. They come to life, yearning to sail in the sky. It feels like you are always ready to let them go, free to fly high above the ground.
The story of this miracle creator is warm and inspiring. It begins from a little boy’s beautiful dream.
The dream of building flying ships sounds unrealistic, but it has been in Prina’s heart since he was little. Luigi Prina entered and won a national aircraft modeling competition when he was 16 years old. The organizers asked the boy why his father couldn’t come and collect it himself when he went to claim the champion and prize. This little boy not only had big dream, but also owned great talent that others finf hard to believe. Nearly fifty years later, the now successful architect doesn’t need to prove himself anymore.
How did he get the idea of making a flying boat? One day he met a painter named Eugenio Tomiolo, who is also a boat builder. While they were talking, they made a bet that perhaps Prina could take one of his small model ships and make it fly like an airplane. It wasn’t long before a small flying boat was whirring in circles around Prina’s small studio. The studio coincidentally had lot of clouds painted on the ceiling, which made the ships look like they were sailing through the sky. With that, a new passion was born and Prina has dedicated nearly 20 years of his life to building flying model boats, bicycles and other unconventional aircraft.
The amazing boat models were made from lightweight paper and wood in order to reduce the weight. The final product usually weighs between 20 to 50 grams. The propellers of boats are driven by elastic rubber bands.
Luigi Prina regards all of his boats as his babies. He takes care of them, repairs them, and wipes away the dust, day and night. His whole life is lightened up by that small happiness everyday. It was a gift for Luigi Prina, as well as all of us. We arefortunate to see such wonderful creativeness with our own eyes.
Prina is like the Leonardo Da Vinci of flying boats. He had the ambition and strength to realize his dream. His talent is his tool. His eager is his incentive. Creativeness is something hiding in our daily lives. We all cansmile like a child when we find the thing that we obsessed with, as Luigi Prina does with his boats.
Written by Veronicka and Brought to you by Michigan Creative
Campus Martius, Detroit - Photo by Dig Downtown Detroit (CC by 2.0)
From expensive plane tickets to unpredictable weather, traveling at the holidays is a hassle. Thankfully, Michigan has a plethora of events celebrating winter’s arrival and along with it the holiday season. Below I’ve rounded up a few events that will help get you in the holiday spirit.
Silver Bell’s in the City: A trip to Rockefeller Center is not the only way to see the lighting of a Christmas tree. Every year Lansing hosts Silver Bell’s in the City: a winter and holiday themed event leading up to the lighting of the official state Christmas tree. This year’s festivities include a 3k fun run/walk, a parade, concerts, shopping and a fireworks show following the lighting of the tree. Silver Bell’s in the City is scheduled for Friday, November 22nd from 5pm-9pm.
America’s Thanksgiving Parade: Nothing quite kicks off the holiday season like America’s Thanksgiving Parade held every year in Detroit. Now in its 87th year, the Parade is expected to draw hundreds of thousands of parade goers to the city on Thanksgiving morning. For those early birds looking to get in a little pre-turkey workout the 31st annual Turkey Trot will take place before the parade! But don’t forget to pre-register, this race fills up and race day registration is not offered. Also, for those parade attendees not in a hurry to get to a big Thanksgiving turkey, why not stick around the city for some additional fun? Watch the Detroit Lions take on the Green Bay Packers at 12:30pm or swing by Campus Martius and spend your day ice-skating in downtown Detroit.
Winter Glow: On Saturday, December 7th, East Lansing, MI will host its annual free, outdoor winter festival, Winter Glow. This year’s event will involve a heated music tent, kid’s carnival, a special holiday market, plus many other fun activities! In conjunction with Winter Glow, the city is also hosting a Green Friday shopping event. On December 6th & 7th East Lansing retailers will be offering special sales to shoppers. Instead of waiting in infinitely long lines and fighting crowds this black Friday, why not shop local and support East Lansing businesses.
Christmas and Holiday Traditions Around the World: This holiday season take a break from the hustle and bustle and take a walk through the Frederik Meijer Gardens in Grand Rapids, MI. From November 26 – January 5th the gardens transform into a winter wonderland, decorated with over 300,000 lights. Inside the gardens you will find horse drawn carriages, strolling carolers, and much more. A day spent in the gardens will remind you why this is truly the most wonderful time of the year.
Well there you have it, a sampling of just some of the events going on around Michigan this winter. I hope this list has inspired you to go out and have some fun over the next few months!
Until next time,
Brought to you by Michigan Creative
Last month, hackers got into Adobe servers and released a list of 130 million (and growing) user logins and passwords. These accounts, some active and some inactive, were linked to Adobe products, credit card information, personal names and addresses and a multitude of other customer information.
Jeremi Gosney with "Stricture Consulting Group" analysed the password and user information and found that a very large percentage of the people that use Adobe were not using strong enough passwords; ones so weak in fact that they could be easily guessed by anyone. The top 10 passwords used were:
While Adobe is clearing stuff up on their end, how do you know if your account was on the list? And if so, what can you do about it?
1. CHECK IF YOU ARE ON THE LIST
The first step would be to check if you were on the list of compromised accounts. LastPass, the company that helped release tools during the LinkedIn and eHarmony compromises, just released a new webapp that checks if your account was on the list, it's as simple as typing in your email address and pressing "TEST MY EMAIL".
2. CALL YOUR BANK
Due to the fact that many Adobe accounts are also linked with banking and credit information (to purchase the products) it would be a good idea to call your bank and see if there have been any weird transactions recently, especially if you are one of those with credit information attached to your account.
3. CHANGE YOUR ADOBE PASSWORD
The next step would be to log into Adobe's website and change your password.
4. CHANGE YOUR OTHER PASSWORDS
Is the password you used for your Adobe account the same you use for everything? If so it's time to change that password for all of your accounts, ESPECIALLY IF THAT EMAIL ADDRESS IS THE LOGIN EMAIL FOR MANY OTHER ACCOUNTS WITH THE SAME PASSWORD. The reason being is that since this list of emails and passwords are all public, hackers will be adding these to their lists of passwords and usernames to when performing "brute force attacks" or other automated attacks.
All in all, Adobe made a few mistakes but are quickly working to fix everything with the help of FirstPass, law enforcement and many others.
One of the most interesting pull aways from this attack is the sheer amount of password/username analysis that was done with the list, which really showed how weak most people's passwords were. It is probably the easiest of all security tips, yet the one that fails the most.
One trick I use to remember passwords, while also keeping them complex and different for every account is the sentence technique. I will think of a sentence, say for example that sence is "Bob Dole Loves To Talk To Bob Dole" I would take the first letter of each word (sometimes replacing words like to and for, with their numeric equivalent) in the sentence to craft the password, which would end up being "BDl2t2BD!". This technique allows me to remember a weird password that contains upper and lower case characters, with numbers and punctuation by only remembering that simple sentence.
Another trick I have used would be the unrelated word technique. To do this, think of 3 or 4 full words and make your password that. For example: "yellowbananacowboyparachute". Remember that this technique will sometimes not work depending on the website, because some sites force you to use capitals/numbers/punctuation while others sometimes limit the amount of characters used, however this password is still very difficult to crack with any traditional method.
Brought to you by Michigan Creative
With the holiday season quickly approaching, what is your small business doing to prepare? Check out these 5 quick tips to help your business be on the nice list!
Start working on your campaign now. Have you turned on the TV since Halloween? I'd say a good majority of the commercials deal with the holiday season. People are shopping earlier than ever for gifts and adding your marketing to the mix will only help you.
Tell people why they should shop at your store rather than the big box stores. The big box stores have million dollar advertising budgets and will draw many people in almost automatically. You need to tell your customers why they need to shop at your store instead of big name retailers. Using things like Small Business Saturday, stressing your unique inventory, and offering 'limited quantity' items are all great ways to draw traffic.
Host a holiday season kick off. Have a tree lighting, wine tasting, holiday food sampling or a visit from Santa to bring people into your store. Get into the holiday spirit and really go all out decorating and promoting your event for optimal results.
Make a daily sale calendar. A great way to drive traffic is to have new specials often. You may find it useful to offer a new special each day; $5 burger special on December 5, $1 greeting cards on December 15, and $5 Christmas lights on holiday blow out December 20. This draws traffic into your business all month long; just make sure the deals are good and you are well stocked on your sale items!
Use social media. I wouldn't be the marketer I am without reminding you of this FREE option. Make Facebook events and invite your customers and friends, promote posts, share funny pictures, and involve your customers to increase sales.
Jump start your holiday sales and end the year with a bang by using these simple tips.
Until next time!
Presented to you by Michigan Creative: Inspiring a Creative Local Economy