BlogPageWelcome to my blog -- Grace's Rantings

I have made a study of human communication -- interpersonal as well as mass media.  I am intrigued by tremendous changes in human interaction in recent years.  The computer, Internet, smart phones and social media have dramatically changed the way we interact with each other.  Human discourse hasn't changed, but the mediums by which we communicate have..."and that has made all the difference".


Please share your thoughts and join in the discussion. I welcome your input and comments!


Apple's Holiday Ad

I was just setting a New Year's Resolution to make sure I post to this blog at least twice a month and I noticed that I haven't posted since JULY!  Yikes, I know better than that!

So for my final post of the year, I want to share the truly wonderful ad that apple is running this holiday season.  If you haven't seen it, it is really worth taking 90 seconds to watch it.

I don't have an I-phone or a Mac, I am an Android and PC person, but this ad could make me change my mind!

What were your favorite ads of the season?

Is Coke It?

Have you seen the new 2 minute ad by Coca-Cola?  The premise is that they are not contributing to the obesity epidemic, but rather helping to fight obesity by offering low calorie diet sodas and smaller cans (at a higher price)!

Never mind that research has shown that diet soda is dangerous, linking it to heart disease, bone losskidney disease, and stroke, not to mention weight gain and obesity! (Even more references here,  here and here).

But, you have to give Coca-Cola credit for getting out ahead of the issue and trying to protect their business.  (It reminds me of when the cigarette manufactures came out with low tar cigarettes.)  Coke's major premise is that if you consume more calories than you burn, you will gain weight, regardless of whether those calories come from chocolate cake, sugary drinks or even mom's home cooking.  They even encourage us to get more exercise to burn off those excess calories.  All good advise.

As sugar, aspartame and other artificial sweeteners are legal products, I am not in favor of the government dictating what we can and can't eat (ha, they do it all the time through the FDA, but that's a topic for another day)!  But as we move toward the government paying for our health care, and our health is directly related to what we consume, will the government take it upon themselves to control what we eat and drink?  Sugared sodas, high fat desserts, alcohol, caffeine???

Have You Gone Native?

A new marketing buzz word to close out the year and ring in the new ... Native Advertising.

Everyone is talking about it.  Marketers are calling themselves "native advertising pros", but just exactly what are they talking about???

I saw this great post on Mashable (that's redundant isn't it? All posts on Mashable are pretty great) that references Solve Media's definition of Native Advertising:

 "Native advertising refers to a specific mode of monetization that aims to augment user experience by providing value through relevant content delivered in-stream."

Well that clears it up!  Solve Media even developed a cool infographic which I am reposting below.  But first, my definition of "native advertising".  I admit it is a bit more crass.

"Native Advertising describes how marketers (advertisers) access their market (potential customers) through social media and encourage these potential customers to interact with them with the goal of getting their customers to spend more of their money on the advertisers' products and services."

Here is Solve Media's infographic for your enjoyment!  I'd love to hear your thoughts


Social vs. Paid Media

As I've often stated, I really enjoy social media.  I use Facebook,  twitter (I have 2 different accounts), LinkedIn  Four Square, and Pinterest on a regular basis, and even some others occasionally.   There is no doubt that social media is here to stay and it is growing, but it still cannot replace paid media for brand building and advertising.  No amount of Facebook posts can reach the masses as broadcast media can.

A friend and colleague wrote a post that really sums up this point.  The following has been re-posted from her blog.  The author is a  friend and long time colleague.  She is a marketing and advertising professional with a big heart!  Check out her blog for some other great insights --

Social’s Limited Marketing Might

Social may have established itself as a brand-building requirement, but — as some marketers have learned the hard way — it can’t replace other channels yet.

“Brand-building strategy and social strategy are inextricably intertwined,” according to Forrester analyst Tracy Stokes. Yet, “social efforts do not represent a stand-alone solution and need the scale and consistency of paid and owned media.”

According to Forrester, a Facebook page does not define “social engagement.” Rather, it is a way to communicate directly with consumers on their terms, whether that involves reading a blog, sharing a YouTube video, or posting to a social networking site.

As Stokes lays out in a new report, social can help brands build consumer trust, differentiate themselves through emotional connections with consumers, and exploit the loyalty of dedicated fans.

Yet communicating through social networks is not scalable, Stokes finds. “Marketers and social marketing agencies told us that social media cannot reach critical mass in the same way that paid broadcast media can, and it would defeat the uniqueness of the channel.”

Indeed, Facebook recently warned advertisers that just 16% of fans see organic content posted by brands.

“JetBlue, a leading proponent of social media, understands this,” Stokes notes. “When it comes to a big launch like a new service to Dallas, the airline still turns to TV broadcast for broad impact and awareness.”

What’s more, messaging through social media is too fragmented, Forrester finds. Social media’s many voices fragment a brand’s message like an old-fashioned game of telephone, so paid and owned media are still essential to define a brand message.

Meanwhile, Forrester found that too many marketers say that they are working on their social strategy, but it is disconnected from their overall branding efforts, apart from logos and collateral.

“Forrester believes that to be successful, 21st century brands must point their brand compass in the direction that helps them build a brand that is trusted, remarkable, unmistakable, and essential,” said Stokes.

While its specific applicability is still debatable, marketers appear to be sold on social. As a recent Forrester survey found, one out of five chief marketing officers said they are personally accountable for social efforts. In fact, among digital channels, they view social media as second only to the Web in affecting branding, and second only to search in affecting brand-building efforts.

Overall, of the marketing leaders that Forrester surveyed, 92% believe that social media has fundamentally changed how consumers engage with brands, while three out of four marketing leaders surveyed said they were changing their marketing strategy as a result of social media.

That said, while two-thirds of marketers claimed to have a clearly defined social strategy, only half viewed their social efforts as strategically integrated into their 2012 brand-building plans.

(Source: Online Media Daily, 05/07/12)

Subscription Commerce

Here's a new idea and a new marketing term -- Subscription Commerce 

Cravebox is a membership service offering "crave worthy products" to their members.  Membership to the service is free.  Boxes are filled with products, doodads and supplies focused around a theme. Members are notified as soon as each new box is available, and they have about a week to enter a drawing to win the box.

Most of the winners are chosen at random. But a small number of the boxes are set aside for our CraveBox's active members - those who "tweet and blog and post and upload photos and videos about CraveBox" -- free advertising!

Cravebox is also partnering with magazine publishers.  Subscribers to the magazine, as well as Cravebox members can purchase the magazine's Cravebox (for about $10) and will receive products from advertisers.

Cooking Light will be offering Craveboxes this month.  The Cooking Light Cravebox will include 7 "family friendly" items, including Green Mountain Coffee, McCormick Spices and a Dole fruit product.

For advertisers, the cost is less than a full page ad and for now, they are guaranteeing catgory exclusivity.

Are QR Codes in Your Future?

QR codes are popping up everywhere.  On Real Estate listings, movie posters, automobile ads, even ketchup bottles.  (For some basic info on QR codes check out this post from The Tech in Me.)

But like any good idea, once marketers embrace it, they beat us over the head with it.


I was reading a report that said that merchants are really embracing QR codes.  47% of the merchants surveyed said they are using QR codes.  Just one year ago, only 8% reported using them.  An additional 15% of merchants are not currently using QR codes but are planning on doing so in the near future.


But, let me ask you, how often do you pull out your phone, open the QR reader, snap a shot of the QR code and then read the material provided?  I did it once on the ketchup bottle to see what was so interesting about ketchup.  The page didn’t open on my cell phone in the restaurant.

How do you use QR codes as a marketer?

How do you use them as a consumer?

Couponing--A Tried and True Method of Advertising

couponsCoupon advertising. Its an old, tried and true form of advertising. As a matter of fact, one of my first jobs in advertising was selling shared mail coupon advertising to local businesses. As a consumer, I know when the Val-Pak envelope comes, while I'm not actually excited, I certainly open the envelope, thumb through the coupons and pull out the ones I may use. Generally speaking these are a great deal for the right type of advertisers--restaurants, salons, gyms, etc. The redemption rate is typically around 0.5% Of course the greater the offer (say 50% off vs. 10% off) the higher the redemption rate.

Today with the internet, email and mobile phones, a host of electronic coupon companies have sprung up -- Groupon, Eversave, etc. The marketing principle is the same as Val Pak, or coupons in the Sunday newspaper supplements. Offer a discount to get a potential customer to try your product or service. The concept is the same, the difference is the delivery method (e-mail) and the fact that people are actually purchasing the coupons.

These electronic coupons work because the advertisers is required to give a great discount, and people are willing to purchase the discount up front. A business has to give a discount of at least 50%. Of course they work! If someone pays $25 in advance to get half off a product or service, most likely they will redeem the coupon!

The drawback with Groupon et. al. is that the amount of coupons delivered is unlimited. The business has no control over the number of people who take them up on their offer. Combine the 50% discount with the 50% commission (on average) paid to Groupon and a business could go out of business if enough people take them up on the offer!

Let the advertiser beware!

On-Line ads are mostly acceptable to users

Most people like on-line ads, especially those that are targeted. According to a study by aol,
67% of respondents rated as very or somewhat acceptable "ads targeted to your likes",
64% said the same about "ads with photos,
61% for "sponsored ads in search results", and
58% banner ads

As for advertising they disliked, only
14% found "takeover ads" very/somewhat acceptable
15% for pop-up ads
33% "in-video ads"

The study also found that, "Consumers want 'fewer ads' on a page so they are less intrusive (and page is less cluttered)."

What do you think? Do you like on-line ads? Do you find them helpful or intrusive.

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