Flip the Switch

This Saturday, we have an opportunity to take part in something historic: Earth Hour. The World Wildlife Fund is asking both businesses and individuals to turn off their power for 60 minutes. Deeming this the "world’s first global election, between Earth and global warming," the Foundation wants people worldwide to show their support for our planet by flipping the switch.

Earth Hour began two years ago in Sydney, with 2.2 million homes and businesses participating. This year the goal is one billion participants, so on 3/28 at 8:30 p.m. local time, do your part (and encourage other to do the same). We only get one planet.
Visit http://www.earthhour.org/home/ for more information.


Svedka Sucks

There's another ad campaign currently plastered all over the bus stops and billboard of Chicago that I am not lovin': that for Svedka vodka. Case en point numero uno:

Not enough? Here's another:

OK, OK... I get it... sex sells. If this were a woman (and not a fembot composed of simply, well, big boobs and long legs), this ad would be a blatant but boring example of that school of thought. But since it IS a fembot, does that change? In my (ever-so-humble) opinion, no. It is simply a hot girl (er, you know) hawking a product -- if you're gonna come from that 100% unoriginal angle, at least use some subtlety!

Per their advertising, Svedka is trying to take the lead as the "vodka of 2033" -- but really, what does that even mean? If so, the future is looking bleak, considering it will hold subservient trophy wives made of titanium. True, you can argue this campaign worked since it has me talking... but trust me when I say I will not be buying Svedka any time soon.

Call me crazy, but what about getting people talking about how innovate/creative/fun their ads are (see Pepsi blog post)? Trust me, I have a sense of humor and can appreciate vulgarity, but I think these ads completely miss the mark. I mean, at least make them funny, over the top or meaningful. As is, they are simply lame.


The craic is 90!

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Here's a link to a great St. Paddy's Day commercial (complements of Guinness): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eteWVqVPcTQ

And now, some history for ya, in case you are wondering why the Chicago River is fluorescent:

"In the United States, St. Patrick's Day would not be St. Patrick's Day unless the Chicago River is dyed green. This tradition began in 1962, when Chicago pollution-control workers used green dye to trace illegal sewage discharges in the river. The workers thought it might be a fun way to celebrate St. Patrick's Day, so they released 100 pounds of green vegetable dye into the river – enough to keep it green for a week! The idea was a hit, and continues to this day. However, only 40 pounds of dye are used today to minimize environmental damage." Source: http://www.religionfacts.com/christianity/holidays/st_patricks_day.htm

Have a great St. Paddy's Day. Wear some green, eat some corned beef and cabbage and enjoy some Guinness or Smithwick's... slainte!


Resist Me, I'm Temptation

I have basically been unable to speak in fully-formed sentences this week. Why, you might ask? It's because of this website I have been promoting: tweetmeimirish.com.

Created as a promo for Axe, the site asks users to fill in these blanks: "_____ me, I'm _____" (a timely play off of "Kiss me, I'm Irish"). Well, in an effort to get the message out, I have been sending tweets to the people with the most followers on Twitter, hoping to direct them back to the site. This meant sending "Snuggle me, I'm a bunny!" to @SenJohnMcCain, "Catch me, I'm flak!" to @modzillafirefox and "Steal me, I'm a song!" to @Coldplay (ouch). The idea was great, and sending those tweets out was fun... but I beginning to notice how much it is affecting my life.

Last night while play cards, I said "End me, I'm this game" -- without thinking twice. My friends too haven been bitten by the blank-me bug; I have been getting text messages at random times, saying just "Pull me, I'm a finger!" and "Stretch me, I'm the truth!" (And trust me, that's about where the printable options end.) They in turn are asking other people, and I am no longer the only one mulling over this on the commute into work... it's spiraling out of control.

St. Paddy's Day is almost here, so that means my work on this site is coming to an end -- and my thoughts can return to things other than who should receive "Throw me, I'm a bone!" Until then, check out the site. The winner right now? "Cry for me, I'm Argentina!" However, "Fraggle me, I'm a rock" is a close second... put your skills to use and see if you can knock out the reigning champs.



To all you devoted readers out there (Hi, Mom!), just want to say I'm sorry I haven't been blogging this week. We are swamped here @ JB -- but hey, that's a good thing, right?

To tide you over, here is a video that brings out the feminist in me... but then my sense of humor wins out. :) Enjoy these snippets of bad female drivers. I think one video might be my best friend Kathleen in action...


(Thanks, Jennifer!)


Stella Artois: Just What is the Price of Perfection?

It pains me to write anything less than favorable about one of my favorite beers, but here it comes… I neither like nor get the Stella Artois ads. Featuring a glass of this Belgian beer with the phrase “Perfection has its price,” these billboards are currently all over Chicago. Am I the only one to find this slogan choice odd?

Some might view the ads as simply saying you too can achieve perfection, if you just buy some Stella. But my mind doesn’t go there; I think it’s almost like the product is being marketed as expensive -- something that does not appeal to the masses, especially now. And to back up this claim, the company’s tagline in the U.K. is “Reassuringly expensive." So apparently, Stella is brewed for the richer folk… but is this type of advertising really the way to go?

It seems to me these ads totally miss the mark. Truth be told, I am not a member of the wealthy set, so maybe the beer bigwigs could care less about my distain. But do these ads appeal to anyone? I think they are distasteful… which is a shame, considering the beer is far from that.

And for some Friday fun, check out: http://www.strangeplaces.net/weirdthings/travel.html.

(photo courtesy of joren.degroof, flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/jorendegroof/2397464700/)


Celebs Who Tweet

photo courtesy of Alexandre Lemieux , flickr

Wanna know what Ashton Kutcher was up to yesterday? Before I give you a chance to answer that potentially loaded question, I’m just gonna tell you: He stopped in on his wife’s (Demi Moore, for those who aren’t in the know) photo shoot and was considering eating crepes but told himself he needed to work out instead. Is this too much information coming from Perez Hilton or US Weekly? Nope… he told me himself.

How, you might ask? Sadly, I must disclose that I do not have any type of celebrity connection; the closest I have is a friend related to Sarah Fisher and an aunt who is a dead ringer for Sheryl Crow. Truth be told, Ashton told me (along with 228,475 of his followers) on Twitter. Under the user name @aplusk, he tweets up a storm about a wide range of topics: His hopes legislation protecting exploited children will pass, books he recommends and what the weather is like in L.A. Celeb that he is, Kutcher also pumps out tweets relating to his famous friends. Recently he has posted a video featuring stylist Rachel Zoe, included links to pics of his wife and talked about meeting Jack (Nicholson?) at the Oscars.

For those who don’t know, this is one of the fastest-growing social networking sites on the Web. Users have 140 characters to answer one question: What are you doing? And answer they do – Kutcher is not the only celeb to take advantage of this microblogging site. Many more have jumped on the bandwagon, realizing this is free publicity that they can control. The ever-growing list of famous (famous being used loosely here) twitterers includes Tina Fey, MC Hammer, Britney Spears, Lance Armstrong, Barack Obama, Michael Phelps and Snoop Dogg – just to name a few. Granted, some of these accounts are maintained by someone other than the star (and when they are, it’s pretty obvious – tweets promote upcoming events and are not too exciting). But there are some – Kutcher’s, for example – that seem pretty legit.

Those who are up to date on social media realize the potential business drivers of Twitter. However, this site has other advantages: it can really humanize people, celebs included. In our celebrity-crazed society, fans can read what their favorite stars are really up to (provided the user really is who he claims to be!). Twitter provides a peek into the lives of people we want to know more about – famous or not. People love to learn about other people, and Twitter can share snippets of people’s lives in real time… doesn’t get much better than that.


Skittles: Now Offering a Social Networking-Flavored Taste of the Rainbow

Yesterday, my boss told me to check out skittles.com, without telling me why. We have a pretty casual environment here @ JB, so I have to admit I assumed the link would take me to something that was a) related to off cuff humor b) barely appropriate for work or c) a mixture of the two. Ever the obedient employee, I keyed in the URL and was immediately… thrown off.

Up pops a box, asking you to enter your age. There is also a disclaimer, saying anything written on pages beyond the skittles site is not under the company’s control. Once you enter your birthday, you are taken to… a Twitter page, full of tweets about the product. A small box with “friends” (it takes you to the Skittles Facebook page) and “media” tabs (links to You Tube and Flickr Skittles pages) remains in the upper left hand corner, hovering over the site you are viewing.

This approach got marketing blogs buzzing yesterday. Urlesque referred to the inventors as “genius,” while most others, such as Wisdump, highlighted the pros and the cons of this viral campaign. Overall consensus? This is a risky move; however, people are talking (and tweeting) – so in this respect, it is a success.

My thoughts on the Skittles social media attack initially lean more toward the “uh, this is risky” side, mainly because when the Twitter page is pulled up, many of the comments are not exactly conducive to the products Skittles sell. (Needless to say, people have heard about the campaign and are one-upping either other on the offensive scale.) True, once the next big thing comes along, all of this hoopla will die down and the tweets can go back to being all about the candy – but will that really happen? How many tweets can there really be about Skittles products, without this campaign behind them?

However, I have to hand it to them: Skittles & Co. took the risk and let people talk about their product without trying to control those comments. They also embraced the social media tools instead of running away from them. How this ends I do not know, but for the time being, people are talking. I think it’s pretty cool Skittles is willing to experiment, and I can’t wait to see how this one turns out.