Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Cookbooks= A Dying Breed?

I find myself often being a new media naysayer. Orally punishing many of the new media for taking away our outside time, our vacations and our piece of mind. But, I must admit, the FoodNetwork is doing something cool…

Not only does it provide site users with thousands of recipes organized by categories, or show, or chef, or type of cuisine…but the site produces recipe cards in different sizes to print off!

I do not have a Rolodex of recipes like my mother does, and my grandmother… but I love how the channel respects this more romantic, archaic and flour-covered practice and acknowledges it online. You can choose a 3x5 or a 4x6 card to print of the recipe you chose that will fit into your recipe archive. I often find the recipe I need at work and print a recipe card off for my trip to the store on my way home.

It is amazing how sites like Foodnetwork.com have really replaced the common cookbook. Why go buy cookbooks that only contain a limited number of recipes when you can get everything you need online?

I now cook not with a book, held open by a mixing spoon, or a spatula- but instead with a laptop in the kitchen. Sites like these are a great resource for young chefs and gives them much exposure to the shows and products produced and sponsored by the network. I am hooked.

The Internet and smart, user-friendly sites like Foodnetwork.com are changing the way we cook and eat.

Online cooking demos never hurt a novice in the kitchen either.

No Ancient Sea Scroll

Our firm developed the following site and I wanted to introduce you all to a cool web site effect!

Check out the site here!

This site was developed for a local restaurant with a cool, eclectic vibe, therefore we found it fitting to explore the horizontal scroll. The entire sit sits on one page and uses javascript to navigate the site content. It changes the way people usually navigate sites and therefor is memorable. It produces a unique online presence for a place with a unique physical one.

When you select the menu items to the left, you are taken to a certain place on the site’s “one page.” I personally like sites that strive to provide a unique site user experience. Although there are many sites out there that continue to push the proverbial bar and play with our senses, I just wanted to bring up this site as it resonates in my headspace as something that “works.”

What do you think?

Monday, July 21, 2008

Is your web site stock-e?

I am personally astonished by the ease of availability of stock photography. Whereas single images were at one time only purchasable for thousands of dollars, images are now available for around under ten dollars in various qualities. iStockphoto.com for example is one great service.

Photographers too benefit from the purchase, as they receive royalties from the purchase of their images.

However, many question if these web sites and services are actually shooting photographers in the foot, as they are needed less for commissioned shoots. This is an interesting consideration. At least we know wedding photographers are safe.

When working with clients at work, we often use stock photography as it is easy to purchase and so many images are available for public use. One risk that you take is having a competitor utilize your same imagery, however due to the number of images out there and services that provide them, this almost seems a moot point. Unique, and professional photography very often can make an online presence very special, but for generic images, stock photography is economically advisable and hard to pass up.

So why don’t all web sites get a little stock-e? It will help them save money and be able to visually demonstrate EVERYTHING they need online.

GENERATION X............BOX360

I will admit, I have been an XBOX hater. I have cursed its name. I have hoped for harm to it its first born. I have wanted to throw it off rooftops and see it break into many small pieces down below.

I found it a loud screaming nuisance keeping my romantic life at bay with my boyfriend and allowing the voices of small obnoxious boys from all over the world into my living room through XBOX Live.

Not into recently- and the purchase of "Lego Starwars The Complete Saga" have I become to appreciate this world a little more, and realized the marketing mastermind that is really is.

Whereas XBOX was once just a video game system, like Sega, or Playstation- where you insert your game and play…it has now blossomed into something much more powerful, with many more powerful implications to the world of marketing.

Now, when turning on the system, you are welcomed by your XBOX dashboard. Through your XBOX, you can preview and purchase anything from movies, primetime TV shows, cable network shows, other games, music and much more. You are no longer just playing one game anymore, but instead being exposed to many other media that you just may need to purchase. It has now evolved into a one-stop Media Center- offering everything you may want to see or hear from your TV.

NetFlix is also coming to XBOX this fall, making it maybe unnecessary to ever turn this fabulous, buzzing machine off. I am anxious to see what else will come into the XBOX world.

As we know, XBOX is not just a system for 12 year-olds, but actually attracts crowds of all ages and of both genders (my 27 year-old boyfriend is a good example), so the product offerings are widespread. It is for this reason, I do not see this as marketing targeted at children- but instead at the world of gamers that come in all shapes, sizes, ages and education levels.

The media integration plays in perfectly with the more lackadaisical common gamer mentality...why not have it all in one place? Why have to get off the couch more than I need to?

Ma, more meatloaf!

Impersonal Shopper

The world of eCommerce is getting smarter.

It is widely known that people shop online, a lot. With the ease of shopping from your living room, office, or bed- you can scan countless online stores, accessing a plethora of products. You can see the products on many sites in multiple views and colors. It seems you can do everything aside from touch the product and you can have it shipped to you in record time!

It is also more secure than ever. "They" say it is safer to give up your credit card info online than it is to give your credit card to a waiter who must do a roundtrip walk through a restaurant to process your payment. There are more opportunities for identity theft in that 10 meters, for example, than there are disclosing information online.

The rise of popularity in online shopping is no surprise.
Last year online consumer spending was on target to reach $200 billion by year end. Overall U.S. online consumer spending for 2006 totalled $170.8 billion.

How could this get any better? Our online worlds are so convenient and we needn’t spend a dime on gas!

Well for the shopper like me often hunting clothing, shoes and handbags, etc…it has with shopittome.com. Imagine getting notified of sales of products in YOUR SIZE in the brands you pick, out of 537 options whenever you want to!

You pick your brands, your sizes, and when you want to hear about sales- and shopittome.com does the rest. It appears the new web sites and inventions that are successful in some way make life easier. That is just what shopittome.com does. It keeps you from needing to search countless sites. And it keeps you from the disappointment when you learn the item isn’t in your size.

I shop it to me every Friday. It is so dangerous, but so convenient at the same time!
P.S. This site also serves men and children!


Cruel In(line)tentions

Have you heard of the Dirty?

Just recently, a new type of blog site has launched, and has hit America by e-storm: causing tears, breakups, revenge, insecurities, fights and breakdowns from coast to coast.

“Nik Ritchie, the first ever reality blogger” has created http://thedirty.com.

With nothing less than the cruelest intentions, this site allows people from cities and universities across America to send in pictures and stories about people they don’t like, or that they deem are “dbags” or “tools” or “sluts,” etc.

[Oh and nice try on the emulation- (Perez Hilton (Paris Hilton) /Nik Ritchie (Nicole Ritchie)...
you are about as clever as the second person that tells any joke.]

At Thedirty.com, people are allowed to anonymously badmouth individuals online whenever their hearts desire! There is even a strange native tongue resulting from this web site, where acronyms and webspeak mean certain things, or rankings in people.

Personally Nik Ritchie, the ultimate reality blogger, I think it is you that is sad. People will always be mean and insecure, and well done Nik (with no C) for inspiring and cultivating even more of it.

I can’t imagine the money you make from the dirty ads that line your site and your "dirty gear" is enough to convince you each day that you are a good person.

Rant over.

Nik, I will now sit and wait for your first shiny defamation case, so I can see your small, self-important and pretentious empire fold like your integrity did the day you took the site live.

Marketing the Hamburglar?

Did you all hear that the new voice of the McDonald’s marketing front might have actually robbed the place?

McDonald’s teamed up with Myspace to create a little buzz- by allowing anyone to submit a remake of the two all beef patties, special sauce, etc. song that would be used in this year’s ad campaign.

Of the five finalists, one actually robbed a McDonald’s at gunpoint back when he was 14- and has spent 12 years in jail as a result!

At least they can say they are an all-opportunities employer!

Check out the video here!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Who do you first turn to?

Here is another (frightening) account from my vacation.

Around 4 am in the morning, we had just passed through Atlanta, Georgia. We were on 75 east, exhausted, movie-ed out and ready for the sun to be up and to have arrived in South Carolina. My boyfriend was driving in the lane next to the fast lane, as he wasn’t actively passing other cars. All of a sudden, we heard police sirens and saw police lights coming westbound (on the other side of the highway). In that moment, my boyfriend noticed a car, with headlights off, driving the wrong way on our side of the highway, in the fast lane. The car also flew by and was definitely speeding (as people usually do when they flee from the cops.) The car had actually passed us on eastbound 75 going westbound and was at one point, 12 feet from our car, full of precious cargo…

I am thankful I did not actually see the car as I was turned around retrieving something from the backseat- however my seatbelt was off for that temporary moment. Another friend of ours was laying down sleeping in the back, sans seatbelt. My boyfriend looked like a ghost for about the next two hours, hair standing up on both arms, and on the back of his neck. It is so terrifying that the little decisions we make can change our lives. Had we stopped at a different gas station to fill up, had we had decided to pass a driver in the fast lane…

All you can think in that moment is, “What if…”


Okay so what’s the tie to New Media? Well it is a stretch, however- I will pull tautly anyway.

After the initial shock , and recounting of the story to each other…and even before the goose bumps relented, we wanted to know what happened. We wanted to know who would do that. We wanted to know why. We wanted to know if anyone was hurt behind us. We wanted to know it all.

And where was the first place we thought to look?

The Internet.

The fact there is basically no lagtime makes the internet such a great and primary resource. The radio was no help as we struggled to find clear stations that would even discuss news. Not to mention, we all knew that the radio would not be reporting the story so quickly.

Thank God for the power of the internet. But more, thank God we were not in the fast lane.

Your vacation choice- Explorer? or Safari?

Vacation: va·ca·tion n
1. a scheduled period during which the activities of courts, schools, or other regular businesses are suspended
2. a period of time devoted to rest, travel, or recreation
3. an act or an instance or vacating something

I ask myself if vacation is really vacation anymore due to our, uh-hem, exciting and busy new media…

I am currently in the process of driving back to St. Louis from Hilton Head, South Carolina, where I took 5 days of vacation with a few friends.

Round Trip Stat- 1800 miles and about 26 hours of driving

Unfortunately, I have a hard time believing that work and school are ever really suspended anymore, and even if we did in fact rest, and vacate St. Louis—this new virtual, and mobile world still follows us.

It is our omnipresent shadow now. And almost our crutch. We cannot stand in darkness or on our own.

I was pleased to find that cell reception was poor in the house, somewhat saving ourselves from ourselves. However, there were still some hotspots if you wandered around to find them. To add, the house was equipped with wi-fi, ensuring that at any moment we were in the home- one computer was alive and processing- whether it was facilitating online poker, the following of a baseball game in Philly, or the checking of work email, etc.

We all love our wireless world, right?

And we can’t imagine what we did before it.

What would I have done if I had not worked on homework? Or corresponded with work folk? Or caught the game, play-by-play?

Maybe, I would have actually vacated.

I think as IMC practitioners, we must not completely and excitedly exploit the VACATION. And I fear in many ways, we are working hard to do so.

Second Greatest Day in the History of the World

It's here! It's here! It's freakin' finally here!

So was everyone excited about the new iPhone? Was Friday, July 11, 2008 the second most triumphant day in history (following of course only the launch of the original iPhone)?

Personally, I was baffled to learn that people were lined up days before in cities like New York. Really? Were vacation days taken, tents bought, and babysitters hired for a phone? I was watching the Soup on VH1 and they had a very entertaining “mockmercial” for the new iPhone, and by entertaining I mean beautifully sarcastic. The commercial discussed how due to how overpriced the phone was, compounded with the rip off that was the first iPhone, for many…the new iPhone would enable people to get their eviction notices and collection agency phone calls easier than ever.

In a very tongue in cheek voice, the commercial also brought up how Apple pulled the fast one last year of dramatically lowering the price of the original phone a short time later.

I have not caught the iPhone bug and thought this jab at Apple was hilarious. I know Apple’s marketing and the anticipation they produce for a product launch are powerful, but my, are we lemmings. Lining up. And then lining up again.

Evidently thousands of people could not even activate their new gem of a phone due to infrastructure issues. My Apple, you sure do have the bark, but what about the bite July 11th? Maybe these technical matters should have been better considered, considering there were lines of people receiving docked pay to receive a phone that wouldn’t “phone.”

“iPhone with my other phone.”