The (Notorious) Big 3, or One

When thinking of a Fortune 500 company and three key words that would represent this company two letters popped into my head. Those two letters made me think of America, NASCAR, Country Music, and Bob Seger.

As a youth in Southern West Virginia a Chevrolet was a right of passage not a vehicle per say but freedom with a bowtie wrapped around it (or on the grill). Growing up in a rural community meant travelling to the store by vehicle and that trip would usually end up being an all day road trip with the family. For these memories the Fortune 500 company I decided to research is General Motors, better known as GM. One of the Big Three and with $152.3 billion in earnings and 13 consecutive profitable quarters the company is currently number seven on the Fortune 500 list. Down two spots from last year as profits dropped $3 billion from 2012.

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The three keywords that I wanted to search that made me think of General Motors are:

 

BIG:

 

PROFITS:

 

RECOVERY:

Put them together and they actually represent what General Motors has done since the automobile bailout. The company has restructured and has recovered with big profits as well as having repaid their loan to the United States Government and taken new direction.

The keywords in themselves have found a bit of trouble as far as search optimization goes. The term Big when “googled” gave me the NOTOTIOUS B.I.G., a dead rapper from the mid-90’s who’s music is still relevant today (RESPECT to BIGGIE).

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Not quite the optimization chops that I would have thought that GM would have. But upon putting GM in front of Big I found a few options, and an article with the name “Big trucks, Small cars lift GM’s sales 11%” (Colias, 2013).

Upon searching Profits I found profits from the bible and there were no cars 2000+ years ago so again I used GM Profits and found the article, “GM Profitable for 13 straight quarters” (Higgins, 2013).

I wanted to finish my search with recovery and as I “googled” recovery the name of yet another rapper popped up; EMINEM. So when adding GM to recovery I found the article stating that, “GM plans about $16 billion in US investments by 2016” (Higgins, 2013). A positive sign that GM is recovering very well, so in short the company is doing well but could use some search optimization. Perhaps the company should take some advice from the HIP HOP world in order to increase their stake in the world wide web.

References:

www.google.com

Wayland, Michael; 2013; GM, Ford slip on Fortune 500 list: M Live Media Group

Colias, Mike; 2013, May 1, 2013; Big Trucks, Small Cars lift GM’s Sales 11%; Crain Communications; www.autonews.com

Higgins, Tim; 2013; May 6, 2013; GM plans about $16 billion in investments in US by 2016; Bloomberg LP; http://www.bloomberg.com

Putting Twitter and Facebook to Work

The numbers never lie, and the numbers are almost unbelievable when it comes to active users on Facebook and Twitter. If anyone would think that a single source would have 500 million users with 1.5 billion creating business profiles on Facebook’s platform. Twitter has over a billion users and three million activating new subscriptions daily.

With these numbers any company has to recognize the ability of these entities for getting a message in front of the most people. The advantage of this is the cost per customer, frequency, cost and return on investment.

The disadvantage of both Facebook and Twitter is hackers, mistakes, and saturation of the platform.

“AP was the latest victim in a series of hacking cases against news outlets, including the Twitter accounts of CBS News’ “60 Minutes.” The television program said earlier this month that its Twitter account was “compromised,” according to a posting on parent CBS Corp. (CBS)’s account on April 20. Some of National Public Radio’s Twitter accounts were hacked as well, the company said.” (Millian, 2013)

These two companies for both the advertisers and the members of the websites sacrifice privacy so far as demographics and buying trends, as well as more useful information for potential marketers such as likes, views, marital status, income potential, and musical taste. There is considerable data mining and selling of the information.

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 “U.S. legislators speak out against employers requesting Facebook passwords from employees, the following information — much of it sensitive and potentially damaging — doesn’t require special access to uncover: 

  • 4.7 million “liked” a Facebook page about health conditions or treatments (details an insurer might use against you).
  • 4.8 million have used Facebook to say where they planned to go on a certain day (a potential tip-off for burglars)
  • 20.4 million included their birth date, which can be used by identity thieves
  • 39.3 million identified family members in their profile
  • 900K discussed finances on their wall
  • 1.6 million liked a page pertaining to racial or ethnic affiliations
  • 2.3 million liked a page regarding sexual orientation
  • 7.7 million liked a page pertaining to a religious affiliation
  • 2.6 million discussed their recreational use of alcohol on their wall

4.6 million discussed their love life on their wall” (Golijan, 2012)

Marketer’s can sustain “many to many” conversation by allowing users to voice opinions on the page or tweet what they think on the page.

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Reference:

Golijan, Rosa; 2012;  http://www.nbcnews.com/technology/technolog/consumer-reports-facebook-privacy-problems-are-rise-749990; NBCNews.com; www.nbcnews.com

Milian, Mark; 2013; Twitter warns media to brace for more hacking later; Bloomberg L.P.; www.bloomberg.com;

 

TUAW the unofficial Apple weblog

TUAW is the unofficial weblog of Apple. The blog is essentially a web review of all things Apple related and accessory type items. The website focuses on applications and help items for iphones such as protective cases.

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I personally thought of the unofficial blog for Apple because so many products in my everyday life are Apple. I have a MacBook Pro, iPod, iPhone 5, my son has the iPad 2, and my girlfriend was the recipient of an iPad Mini this Christmas. The company produces many great products and to find a website that is not sponsored by the company but still heralds the product is a great opportunity to learn more about what is available for the Apple lineup.

 

All Apple products are represented by TUAW, and the running theme seems to be the applications and products that add to Apple. There are also articles on the goings on at Apple such as the stock options, recalls, and of course product launches.

 The difference between the official Apple Blog, at www.apple.com/hotnews and the unofficial weblog www.tuaw.com is the subject matter and style of writing. TUAW is very mindful of the opportunity to effectively sponge off of what others create while the official Apple blog is more like a Public Relations function.

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 All the information from TUAW is useful because it is an addition to Apple without being self-serving. The blog comes across as a site that is informational with the opportunity to find apps and products for the Apple Products that do not have exclusivity with Apple such as Pelican Cases, and Logitech Fabric Skin keyboards.

 

This is an excerpt from the TUAW website:

 “As first reported by AppleInsider, Apple has begun restricting the use of special characters in app descriptions in the App Store. For now, the special characters Apple is restricting are the checkmark, the explosion, the “no symbol,” and the speech bubble. One can only hope that Apple will eventually add emoji faces to that list, some app descriptions have a decidedly unappealing “MySpace” feel.

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The new iconography rules came into place on April 19th. While Apple did not specify a reason for the changes, it’s easy to speculate the company wants a more uniform appearance in its App Store listings, instead of letting some developers using checkmarks as bullet points while others use, you know, real bullet points.”

Unleashing Bond through Coke Zero

As a study, I went with the Coke Zero unleash your inner 007 campaign. The commercial/film starts out with a guy looking at a Coke Zero bottle that has a silhouette of James Bond and he starts to hum the theme. As he walks to a table of hooligans and an attractive girl, they all start to hum the theme. The guy is pushed down and the girl is taken away. Our hero jumps up and chases after with shenanigans a plenty up until our hero gets the girl. 

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Was the film entertaining? Why or why not?

The film was entertaining. It gave an action packed story and had plenty of product placement for Coke ZERO. The use of the James Bond Theme, and the Aston Martin were great nods to the series as well as the over exaggerated traits that Bond has became known for. All that was missing was a silenced pistol and a Coke ZERO Martini (shaken, not stirred).

Did the film more closely resemble a movie or an ad? Explain. 

The film more closely resembled a movie, with advertising traits. There was movie action but plenty of scenes that provided opportunities for Coke ZERO to be shown. My favorite was the Aston Martin scene and in the background were umbrellas with Coke ZERO logos. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vtz4qL4-hNE

Where was the film first shown? TV? Online? 

The film was first shown online, with an offer for people to unlock their inner Bond by putting them through challenges to win free Skyfall tickets. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RDiZOnzajNU

Were subsequent webisodes or video responses created (on YouTube or the company’s Website, for example)?

Coke Zero moves quickly with their advertising because they are going after a younger male audience. (The Coca Cola Corporation, 2013)
There were only a couple of Skyfall ads and Coke Zero shifted gears and went in another direction. 

Is the film effective from a marketing standpoint? Why or why not?

I think it is very effective. James Bond is the man that many men want to be. This ad/film gives the average guy the dream and for some the experience of being James Bond if only for 70 seconds. 

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Are short films that attempt to subtly sell products ethical? Why or why not?

I think as long as the motive is implied there is an ethical way to effectively market a product in a subtle way. There is no doubt that the film was an advertisement for Coke Zero and Skyfall but it was still a very entertaining piece. 

Bibliography
The Coca Cola Corporation. (2013). The Coca Cola Corporation. Retrieved April 17, 2013, from The Coca Cola Corpotation: http://www.coca-colacompany.com

Marketing Make-A-Wish

For the past three decades, the Make-A-Wish Foundation has been granting the wishes of children with life threatening illnesses.

 In 1980, 7-year-old Chris Greicius was being treated for leukemia. Every day, he dreamed of becoming a police officer.  On April 29, 1980, a caring group of personnel from the Arizona Department of Public Safety wanted to provide him with an experience to lift his spirits.  In addition to receiving his own uniform and special treatment from the department, Chris was sworn in as the first honorary DPS patrolman in history.

The following day, Chris passed away, but not before seeing his dream come true and experiencing the hope, strength and joy that came from receiving his wish.

 Based on Chris’ wish, the Chris Greicius Make-A-Wish Memorial, which later became known as the Make-A-Wish Foundation, was born.  In November 1980, the Foundation received its tax-exempt status as a nonprofit organization.

 On May 13, 1983, the Make-A-Wish Foundation of America was officially incorporated.  Six Make-A-Wish chapters were operating around the country, and 22 more were established the following year.  To date, more than 250,000 wishes have been granted worldwide.

The Make-A- Wish Foundation is one of the few organizations that truly put their money into the efforts of Wish Granting. Eighty percent of all funds brought in by the Foundation are used to grant wishes. Leaving only twenty percent to fund staff, pay utilities, and keep the necessary supplies for everyday operations. (Make-A-Wish Foundation, 2013)

 The Make-A-Wish Foundation uses the Internet to lead people towards donating, or using cause marketing. ”Cause marketing promotions allow you to align your company with the power of the Make-A-Wish brand – one of the most trusted and recognized brands in the nonprofit sector.  Partner with us to create a promotion that promotes your brand and raises funds for our wish-granting program.” (Make-A-Wish Foundation, 2013)

 The Make-A-Wish Foundation uses pictures to put the children at the forefront and show what the wish is and the achievement of the wish granted.

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The Make-A-Wish focuses solely on one purpose, granting wishes for children with life threatening illnesses.  The messages change based on the medium. With YouTube and world wish day, the organization uses celebrity endorsements to spread the message:

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Mro-hWPZmI&feature=youtu.be

The marketing message changes from time to time with different calls to

action; donation seeking, volunteer recruitment, and looking for children to

grant wishes for, but he organization maintains consistency in their message and slogan as the “Power of a wish” which is used in all campaigns. It is a strong slogan that serves the purpose of the organization well.

In a slow economy donations can be lower, Make-A-Wish does well by using

social media marketing efforts to allow people to see what they are achieving.

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Make-A-Wish is true to their cause and puts the children above their own

Influence to achieve their goals, and are very successful at it. Donating time and or money to The Make-A-Wish Foundation is very fulfilling, and the organization does a great job getting the message out there to allow people to do so. 

Bibliography

Make-A-Wish Foundation. (2013). Make-A-Wish Foundation . Retrieved April 10, 2013, from Make-A-Wish Foundation: http://www.massri.wish.org

 

Make-A-Wish Foundation. (2013). Make-A-Wish Foundation. Retrieved April 10, 2013, from Make-A-Wish Foundation: http://www.nenywish.org

 

Tade, C. (2007, September 10). Haymarket Media. Retrieved April 10, 2013, from Haymarket Media: http://www.dmnews.com

 

 

Keeping the Web Honest

Keeping the web honest may or may not be a good thing. According to Kevin Goldman, “The idea that a substance should be itself, rather than mimic something else” is a great point, however the web is used to be an artificial extension of the organization that it represents. That being stated shows that the web in itself is not what it shows itself to be.

 

This is not dishonest in my opinion; it is more of an attention-grabbing façade to dress up what may otherwise be mistaken for boring.  To tell someone through content that you can design a great website is not the same as designing a great website.  Web is an accelerated visual medium that allows the user to see and experience the content provided.

 

Goldman also brings up a great thought in stating, “whatever looks good is usable” and that “if it mimics it isn’t honest but that is not necessarily a bad thing.” (Goldman, 2013)

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Looking at an example of this will come from the website of Kid In The Background  Multi-Media Services.  The website in itself is of minimal content with a creative flair with a nod to the 1980’s.  The index is a simon says machine that has content on each of the colored panels.

 

 

http://www.kitbmedia.com/index.html

 

                                 

The minimal content that Kid In The Background offers is as future publishing states, “ a positive aspect of web design that puts the product front and center without confusing the user- enabling them to take one step at a time.” (Future Publishing Limited, 2012)

 

What Kid In The Background has done with the Simon Says approach is to give content in a fun and retroactive way while displaying their expertise in graphic design through example. As far as a first impression goes, the site looks fun and informative while showing what the company has to offer.

 

Bibliography

Future Publishing Limited. (2012, October 23). Future PLC. Retrieved April 3, 2013, from Future PLC.

 

Goldman, K. (2013, March 26). A list Apart. Retrieved April 3, 2013, from A List Apart: http://www.alistapart.com

Nike and Minorities

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As a fortune 500 Company, Nike (#135 down from 124 previously) has defined itself by advertising to minorities and by using African-American Athletes to endorse their product with great success. The company posted $19 billion in sales with a profit of $1.9 billion and has a market value of $36 billion as of fiscal year 2010. (CNN Money, 2011)

As of the third quarter of fiscal year 2013:

Revenues for NIKE, Inc. increased 9 percent to $6.2 billion, up 10 percent on a currency- neutral basis. Excluding the impact of changes in foreign currency, NIKE Brand revenues rose 10 percent, with growth in all geographies except Greater China and Japan and in all key categories except Sportswear and Action Sports. Revenues for Other Businesses increased 9 percent as growth at Converse and NIKE Golf more than offset lower revenues at Hurley. (Nike, 2013)

The success of this company can be credited to their marketing plan to minorities through the use of minorities. Nike was also one of the first companies to do this, in 1982 Nike hired Chiat/Day, the firm that went on to produce Nike’s city campaigns as well as many of its successful television commercials, Nike achieved its most widespread publicity. Although the company started out as a running shoe producer, basketball and the success of marketing African American celebrities like Michael Jordan and Spike Lee allowed the company to capitalize on cutting-edge fashions that originate in inner cities and among urban minorities. (Stabile, 2003)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Abr_LU822rQ

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What makes the companies website successful in terms of speaking to minorities in general is the companies use of minorities. Going to the website the first picture that pops up is an African American in a jump pose with a basketball with the words, “Make March #Count” not only does this send a message to followers of basketball during the NCAA tournament but also to twitter followers with the use of the hashtag (#) by count. As you scroll down the web site’s home page you will see a picture of an olive skinned woman with dark hair and African American baseball star Matt Kemp of the Los Angeles Dodgers (who recently went with an all Nike ensemble from batting gloves to shoes). There is also Tiger Woods, an African American golfer who recently won the Arnold Palmer invitational and regained the worlds #1 ranking. The Nike ad caused a stir when the message after Tiger’s admitted sexual deviance while married along with a couple of lackluster years by his own standards states, “Winning takes care of Everything”. Whether or not this is the message that Nike or Tiger needed to put out is irrelevant because the buzz created has put both in the limelight for the product and the person it represents. (Boren, 2013)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5NTRvlrP2NU

I think what surprised me the most about Nike is that A Chicago based civil rights group named Operation PUSH has questioned Nike’s track record in hiring minorities, and has urged black people to boycott Nike products until the company demonstrates a greater commitment to minority hiring.

Nike has responded by releasing a minority hiring report to the Seattle Times:

Racial minorities account for nearly 15 percent of Nike’s domestic work force, company officials announced yesterday.Blacks account for 7.1 percent of the sportswear company’s 3,703 employees; 2.5 percent are Hispanic, 4.8 percent are Asian and .48 percent are Native American. Nike also reported that 51 percent of its domestic work force is female.(Seattle Times, 2013)

Ethically, the challenge for Nike to market to minorities is their overseas practices of labor rates. For many years Nike as well as other companies have been under scrutiny for their practice of having factories overseas that pay low wages to their workers as well as having an underage workforce.

It’s been said that Nike has single-handedly lowered the human rights standards for the sole purpose of maximizing profits. And Nike products have become synonymous with slave wages, forced overtime, and arbitrary abuse. One columnist said, “Nike represents not only everything that’s wrong with sports but everything that’s wrong with the world.” (Wilsey & Lichtig)

It would seem that Nike is getting rich by the use of advertising the greatness and taking advantage of thevweakness of minorities.

Bibliography

Boren, C. (2013, March 27). The Washington Post. Retrieved March 27, 2013 , from The Washington Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com

CNN Money. (2011). Cable News Network. Retrieved March 27, 2013, from Time Warner: http://www.money.cnn.com

Nike. (2013, March 21). Nike. Retrieved March 27, 2013, from Nike: http://www.nikebiz.com

Seattle Times. (2013, March 27). The Seattle Times Company Network. Retrieved March 27, 2013, from The Seattle Times Company Network: http://www.community.seattletimes.nwsource.com

Stabile, C. A. (2003). Nike, Social Responsibility, and the Hidden Abode of Production. In Gender, Race, and Class in Media. SAGE Publications.

Wilsey, M., & Lichtig, S. (n.d.). The Nike Controversy. Palo Alto , CA: http://www.stanford.edu.