Category Archives: pr/marketing

Facebook Games? Yes Please!

[Disclosure: I am in no way representing my company or revealing any proprietary information.  Anything I write here is purely my own opinion and using public knowledge.]

Social Gaming: nascent industry with a largely nascent user base.  And finally in early 2010, we’re starting to see some pretty unique games.  Even if it’s similar game mechanics; at least it’s not yet another farm game or mafia rpg.

Believe me, I LOVE playing Tiki Farm and Lil Farm Life.  Even played Farmville for a while. But I’m so glad that we’ve stopped last year’s copy and paste themes.  I mean what’s the big difference among Farm Town, Country Farm, and all the copy cats out there?  Not that much.

This is my Tiki Farm. :-D

Side note: Yes, the farm games that have been able to differentiate themselves certainly should exist.  After all, I don’t really like Farmville.  It’s like a factory, even if it’s arguably the first, and the other copy cats are just the same.  On the contrary, Tiki Farm has such great graphics and is just more chill, and I love my workshops in Lil Farm Life, where I can use the clover to feed the cow to make the milk, put the milk in the cheese maker to make the cheese, and add the cheese with tomatoes and peppers in my pizza workshop to make a pizza.  It’s pretty freakin’ sweet.

But I’m glad there’s a flurry of new apps out:

  • The Crazies, which is a tower defense flash game, based on the upcoming movie.
  • Wild Ones, which takes adorable animals (“pets) and pit them against other players in a real-time show down.  The Mirv? Freakin’ sweet!
  • Treasure Madness, which is a highly addictive game treasure game (current obsession).

Instead of the console video game, it's now the casual game based off the movie.

Wild Ones: shooting in action

I'm almost finished solving my Shark Island on Treasure Madness

If you want to get your ass kicked in Wild Ones.. just let me know. ;-)

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UPDATE: I’ve been wanting to write a post like this for a while now, but the trend was still on the same ole, same ole.  1) I’m super happy that I finally get to pen this; 2) it would be really hard to write this post, if I didn’t actually like the games our company makes.  So you know, thanks for not making sucky games. :)

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What’s up your nose?

I started using Biore nosestrips in high school.  After the first time seeing all the crap that’s in my pores, I was sold.  But it’s a pretty hefty investment: $8 for 8 strips at 6 boxes a year is $48.  Okay, not exorbitant, just more than I’d like to spend on a simple luxury.

With my supplies running low, I hopped over to my local CVS to buy some more.

Several things I noticed:

  • They now put tape on the packaging.  Apparently, people have been stealing the strips (?).  And once I get home, the tape makes opening the two boxes a hassle.
  • I bought two boxes and counted 18 strips.  Now, last I remember from elementary math class, 8 + 8 = 16.  So what’s up with the extra strips?

Most likely, it’s  a marketing ploy.  The temporary happiness of feeling lucky that you got a whole extra strip, not a big deal except they’re a freakin’ $1 each!  But since I got two boxes, I spotted the difference.  It’s not that I’m lucky.  Their goal is to make everyone feel lucky.

Is that good or bad?  Well I’m certainly happy to get 2 more strips free.  On the other hand, I don’t like that some marketer (probably an MBA grad who wants to show off her marketing genius to the new boss) is trying to sway my emotions.

Isn’t this supposed to be this “Web 2.0-if-I-hear-that-phrase-one-more-time-I’m-going-to-shoot-someone.”  Aren’t companies supposed to be all about transparency?

Why not have a campaign that says, “To show you how much we love your support over the years, we’re going to put an extra strip in every box of Biore strips.  Supplies are limited.”?  Or “Find the Golden Ticket at your local Target store (co-branding is awesome) to win a free spa weekend for you and a friend.”  Or even “Recycle your old Biore packaging, and we’ll give you $2 off your next purchase.”  They have a $2 coupon inside anyway, and a full color 4 fold brochure is surely loads of money and certainly not green.  I’d rather Biore saves both of us the $1.50 for the printing cuz they’re clearly passing the cost onto the consumer.

Point is: stop trying to trick us!

This is why my goal is to work for a company that treats marketing as the champion for the consumer voice within the office.  Marketing shouldn’t be about gimmicks and trickery.  It’s about having a great product/service and letting people know about it.

Shame on your, Biore.

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Brush Without Water

I saw the Colgate Wisp on a point of purchase display (by the checkout counter) at Walgreens.  It was $2.49 for a four-pack, which isn’t too expensive for an impulse purchase.

The Colgate Wisp is a tiny toothbrush you can use, while you’re out, without having to use water.

I love it.

  1. It’s portable. Each brush costs about $0.60 including tax.
  2. Sometimes, after a meal, it’s just better to do a quick brush versus chewing gum or sucking on a mint.
  3. The non-brush end has this flexible toothpick that’s so much better than any traditional toothpick or tooth floss.
  4. The “toothpaste” is basically one of those liquid mint things.  So nothing in this new product is “new.”  It’s just repackaged very nicely.
  5. The bristles, handle, and ends are pliable, comfortable to hold and use, and look pretty futuristic.

The one thing I don’t like about the Wisp is the packaging. The package I bought (look below) comes in a set of four.  I  don’t need to take four with me any time I go out.  In fact, if I’m going clubbing, my purse will likely be tiny.  It’s hard enough to pack a camera and my iphone.  I don’t have room in my purse to carry another package almost the size of a deck of cards.

Instead, the Wisp should be packaged separately, so I can take them out one at a time.

To be honest, I probably would buy this in the future.  I’m not planning on using it every time I go out, probably only the times when I eat something super garlicky or have a date.  So $2.49 every 3 months or so is a pretty good investment.

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Over-Sharing: It’s Better to Just Shut Up

Yes, that’s clearly an inappropriate status update, but the response may be even more so.  Managers should take HR issues seriously.  Broadcasting company issues online doesn’t just hurt the company’s brand, it hurts the manager’s reputation as well.

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Let Me Help You Do Your Marketing!

Ad sites aren’t always equal.  I’m a huge fan of ads and love seeing the newest ideas out there.

I’m pretty much what you’d call the perfect consumer.  I spend loads of money each year on tons of products from makeup (just ordered my 120 palette eyeshadow set from eBay) to dresses (my birthday dress from Forever21) to bedding to 14 pairs of Havaianas to hundreds of books.

I just love ads.  They’re beautifully designed with catchy slogans and tell me exactly what’s new out there.  Wow!

But not all ad sites give me what I want.  When I see an awesome ad, the first thing I usually do is Tumbl it.  And Ads of the World lets me do just that.  I can share the link, the picture, the radio spot.  Whatever it is, I can rip it and share it.  Of course I also give credit (linkie) where credit it due.

Unfortunately, scaryideas, which I found first, isn’t so sharing friendly.  The videos have embed restrictions.  I can’t copy the picture link.  I have to physically save the picture and then reupload it onto the internets.  What a drag!

How can I help you spread the word about the amazing ads out there, all cataloged from your huge database, if you don’t give me the option to share it on my blog or my Tumblr or my Facebook?

That’s just silly.

And my natural reaction: unsubscribe and only post from Ad of the World. If you don’t let me help you do your marketing, I’m sure someone else will happily oblige.

Take Away? Don’t be stingy.  Let your users help.  Give out snipURLs, allow embedding, heck even add a hash or a “via” along with your caption to help me link back to you.

The Big Picture blog from The Boston Globe does a great job of that (check out the # mark below).

Bolts of lightning illuminate the night sky of Montevideo, Uruguay as a thunderstorm unfolds over the Uruguayan capital on July 5, 2009. (MARIANA SUAREZ/AFP/Getty Images) #

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A New Way to Roll

I love the new Kia Soul commercial.  The hamsters on wheels are such a cute analogy, the animation is on point (the fur is mindblowingly well done), and the music is just right.  They’ve undoubtedly spent a pretty penny on the social media campaign: the Facebook app, the Facebook pages, the official website, forums, good fodder in a lot of blogs, and of course the ad on the Kia Motors America YouTube Channel.

Kia owners really love their cars and the Go Hamsters Go app:

Mekiya S*****: I got mine the day after easter….I LOVE it! ♥

Brien D*****:  anybody tried “Go Hamster Go” yet? You’ll need a webcam, and it may take a minute to download, but it’s pretty sweet! facial recognition technology! hamsters! the Soul! what’s not to love?

Brittany S*********:  Def love my little black soul :) first one in NE bought it in first day of April whats up :)

Kudos to what must be great metrics.

But a few things bug me, especially I initially clicked on their ad in Facebook.

  1. The ad for the app doesn’t link to the YouTube video, which to my knowledge is the only shareable one.  The ad in Facebook is only shareable within the site, and the video off their website is embedded without share codes.  If I have to go to a completely different site to share the video, I’m probably not going to do it.
  2. No part of the marketing campaign links to the other.  Facebook pages don’t link to YouTube doesn’t link to the dedicated site.  Frustrating!  A few extra links or buttons can multiply their efforts online.
  3. There’s no Twitter page. What?  Seriously, get one of the main engineers or product managers to gossip about the new Kia Soul online. I’m guessing this isn’t their Twitter page because… well, it’s lame.

Kia’s doing so many things ‘right’ with their presence online.  And a few simple tweaks with links, Twitter pages, etc. will have a huge multiplying effect.

And some additional ideas: Kia soul owners submit videos on why they love their car?  Win prizes including free car details at your local dealership.  Design your own Kia Soul?  Top 10 designers get 1) publicity and 2) $1,000 cash back on your new Kia Soul.  A multi-city DJ contest? Get added to the Kia Soul mixtape.  Best DJs from around the country battle each other for a pimped out Kia Soul.

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Here’s ‘my’ Kia Soul.

kia soul

P.S. I couldn’t actually “download” the file, so this is a screen cap.  “Lovley” is spelled wrong on the fourth option (under “temptational”).

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Customer Appreciation

I ordered something from the Company Store at the end of last year.  They had a great sale on bedding, and I ordered a rouge duvet cover and sheets.  The sheets were mailed to me immediately, but the duvet cover became backordered.  When I came back from China, they notified me that the cover was no longer available.  I only bought the sheets to match my duvet cover, so it was no use to me.  Frustrated, I wrote an email to the company, detailing my account.  I wish they would have informed me of the nonavailability sooner.  Afterall, it’d been three months since I placed my initial order.

So in February, I mailed back the sheets, with a postage paid label they sent to me.  They credited the money.  End of transaction, right?  It was a great experience, but at least I was credited the $17 for the sheets.

They surprised me today with a letter.

We value the loyalty of our customers.  To show our appreciation, attached is a 20% discount to be applied to your next purchase from The Company Store or Company Kids.

Great customer relations.

It just shows that a little effort goes a long long way.  :-)

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Rant, Rant, Rant @AT&T

It’s utterly ridiculous that I just spent 45:53 minutes on the phone with AT&T to discuss extraneous roaming charges that showed up on my bill.

It took 30 minutes just to get someone on the phone and load his system because it’s been down (I’m talking 12:00AM on Monday morning).  Once I challenged the rep that it’s not possible (AT&T isn’t so stupid) that AT&T’s account system is completely off the grid and they probably staggered the updates across call centers, he said “Oh, let me check on that.”

After another 10 minutes of having completely different account information, I asked and found that the representative had the wrong person’s account information on his screen.

Once we were on the same page, checking the wrong charges, correcting them and crediting my account the $22.20 took a whole of 5 minutes.

Thanks for wasting 40 minutes of my life!

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The reason I’m ranting isn’t because AT&T sucks and should go to hell.  In fact, quite the opposite.  I want AT&T to be successful.  I’ve been with the company for 8 years now, from AT&T to Cingular back to AT&T.  I’ve been with them for 3 years of DSL/phone service.  In general, I’m pretty happy with the service (okay, minus the dozens of dropped calls on my cell and that one stint of my modem not working).

What I do want is for AT&T to have better presence.

  • Besides the measly 4 updates on their Twitter, have Twitter accounts for your wireless (even separated by region/types of service/whatever), phone and internet.  Interact with your clients, and when ish like what happened to me tonight, have someone who can talk me down from screaming at my phone- which I try my best not to do because the rep is more helpful when you’re not pissed off.  Or better yet, solve the problem from the back end.
  • Publicize those user forums and have community managers, so that customers can help each other.  I don’t exactly know how deals work (some people pay less for more) but… if user forums save even a fraction of a percent of calls to call centers, that’s a huge cost saving.
  • Update your servers.  There is NO reason a customer should wait that long for a rep to pull his/her information.  <Insert old marketing cliche that keeping a customer costs a lot less than acquiring a new one.>
  • Start “Your World, Your Voice.”  Make it a virtual suggestion box of making AT&T work better for their customers.

I’m sick of friends teasing me about having AT&T.  I want to be proud. Congrats, Verizon & Comcast, for doing a great job.  But I don’t want to make the network switch just yet.

So AT&T, will you try to help me stay?

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Feeling the Traffic

I’ve been reading Seth Godin‘s blog religiously.  What I’ve noticed is that he uses everyday experiences to discuss marketing issues.  The analogy helps effectively communicate his ideas, and that small bit of inspiration goes a long way in helping me develop marketing plans.

While speaking with my friend Juicy J last night, I remembered driving through traffic day in and day out during my early days at SHIFT Communications.  Despite the stereotypes of being Asian and female, I think I’m a great driver.  It’s not about how fast I go or even my reaction time.  To me, a great driver sees the traffic around her and is able to predict the types of drivers and anticipate their actions.  For example, I tend to weave through traffic during rush hour because I know that between exits, the right lanes go faster, but right before an exit, I’ll change to the left lanes.  How do I know this?  Well, it makes sense.  As drivers are entering the highway, they tend to move left, so it helps me to make my way right.  But anticipating the next highway entrance, I move left to make way for the cars coming in.

So what?  Being able to see the landscape and predict where it’s going and how to interact with individuals is important.  It’s crucial that we help companies and brands understand and navigate to their destination, but it’s equally important how we get there and how we interact with the people on the way.  In speaking about marketing campaigns, companies and clients are quick to look for ROI.  What’s the metrics on our most recent campaign?  Who’s sign up?  Sometimes, that’s the right way to go.  But sometimes, it’s not.

That’s what I try to bring to the table when I’m talking to my friends or thinking about how to launch Sonewe.  My end goal is to help build a product that people will use everyday.  But that doesn’t mean my teams needs to have 50,000 users on the first day.  Quite the contrary.  We want to get great users who will help us build the product, so that as we’re navigating our way to “start up success,” I know we’re making changes to better serve the space that we’re in, and people along the way are loving us and telling others.

How?  Well, you’ll just have to wait and see.  :-)

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Personal vs. Professional: The Winner is…

I’ve been mulling over the concept of personal brand reputation and what’s acceptable behaviour online.  When Facebook first became public right after I graduated college, I was adamantly against the concept.  Facebook was my personal space online, and allowing my professional world in would create tons of conflict and an anal amount of privacy controls.  But I adapted to the situation and made room for my professional life online.

But as transparency and internet archiving continues to proliferate every part of my online life, from blogging to tumbling to Facebook to Twitter to countless accounts I have over the interwebs, when does my personal life stop making room for my professional.  Sure, the whole concept of transparency is to showcase your real personality and network.  Isn’t it still true that we have some self-censorship?

Even the most brutally real person has to realize that we can’t always write what we think.

I wrote a post recently reclaiming janyxu.com for myself.  I taking it out of consideration for professionals who are considering me for a job or looking for marketing advice.  But I realize that I can’t.  I’m not going to rant about how horrible it was working at my last company.  First and foremost, because it’s absolutely not true (in fact, quite the opposite).  But secondly, no matter what disclaimer I may have to reclaim my personal space online, people will still use this blog to judge my “personal brand reputation.”

So is there anywhere we can truly be ourselves?  Or is it like going to a networking cocktail party… we are ourselves but only about 80% us?

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