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Which Brand Won the “Social Bowl”? [Infographic]


Regardless of whether you were happy or sad (or indifferent) about the outcome of the Super Bowl this weekend, one thing is certain: like every year, several brands battled it out in the commercials.

Pre-game, SHIFT took a look at some of the biggest brands out there to see who would win the “Social Bowl” this year. Check out the game:

Do you agree with this assessment? Is Coca-Cola really the “winner” when it comes to social media? Let us know with a comment below!

(Thanks to SHIFT for providing this infographic.)

Do We Have To Go Back To The Future For Good Customer Service?


… by Judy Helfand

A little background:
Right out of the gate I admit I have never seen any part of the Back to the Future trilogy. Not one. If you asked me a Trivial Pursuit question about this series I would not know the answer, except that I do know the main character was played by Michael J. Fox. But it was not until last evening that I learned the name of the main character: Marty McFly! If any of you are wondering why I missed this trilogy here you go: From 1985 – 1990 I was raising two little boys, serving as a Vice President for a major New England bank and (with my husband) owning and operating a country inn, focusing on providing good customer service to build repeat business. More importantly, I don’t care for science fiction!

Now let’s talk about Super Bowl:

Did you watch the Super Bowl? Did you follow or participate in tweeting #brandbowl or #superbowl? I watched for the “show”: I like to hear our National Anthem, I like the Honor Guard, I like watching the commercials, and usually half-time offers memorable performances. I don’t live in an NFL city and the last Super Bowl team I really rooted for was my hometown San Diego Chargers in Super Bowl XXIX. But today I want to talk about one of the commercials from Super Bowl XLV.

Can you guess which one? If you picked CarMax’s Back to the Future parody, then you are correct. But you know what? I think I might be one of a small minority that didn’t even realize this ad was a take-off of the Back to the Future’s Marty McFly character. Watch it here.

Do you know Good Customer Service when you see it?

When I watched this CarMax’s ad I didn’t think about Marty McFly (but of course, I didn’t even know about Marty McFly) I thought about what life was like when my own father owned a Service Station from 1955-1963. I thought about the first blog post I wrote in August 2007 SMO – The Old Fashioned Way. You see the keyword is Service. These were not just filling stations or gas stations, they were Service Stations. You felt comfortable when you pulled in, someone was going to help you with gas, air, water, oil, directions, a cold drink, clean your windows and provide a clean bathroom. You had your favorite service stations and the attendant probably knew your name.

What caught my attention in the CarMax ad is that the young Marty didn’t know what to make of all the service he was receiving and he didn’t trust what he was seeing. He was actually frightened. It is a funny little commercial, but the CarMax message is strong ‘At CarMax we believe that Customer Service shouldn’t be a thing of the past!’ That may be, but how many of us are like Marty? Do you know good customer service when you see it?

My father taught me about customer service. I have followed his example over the years with my customers/clients/guests and just yesterday I had a teleconference planned with a potential client. I was to call him at 11:00AM. I did. He answered the phone and after I introduced myself he immediately said: “I can’t believe it, you called me right on time!”

I know we are all pretty adept at tweeting and blogging when we don’t like something a company has done or not done (think Kenneth Cole or GROUPON™). Maybe part of the problem in our current business environment is that even though companies can communicate with potential customers using all the latest ‘tools’, it does not follow that those potential customers have the ability to recognize good customer service even when they see it. What tools do you use both as a provider and as a consumer?

Let me know what you think? Do you know good service when you see it?

Judy Helfand is an owner of Webconsuls, LLC., functioning as a Project Manager. She has worked for a number of Fortune 500 companies in both the banking and insurance industry and she has succesfully owned and operated two small businesses. Judy’s personal blog is Judy’s Op-Ed and she also writes and manages Webconsuls’ Blog. Feel free to follow her Twitter @judyhelfand.

A Lesson In Branding and Buzz: Darth Vader Versus Groupon


The Super Bowl is more about branding than football these days. Not that I’m complaining – I laughed about the little Darth Vader kid just like the rest of you. I’m more of a Puppy Bowl girl than an NFL fan.

After the game is over, football fans go to sleep off the pizza/wing/beer binge and marketers start talking about the commercials. In fact, people everywhere are still talking about the commercials a few days later. The conversation seems to boil down to two points:

  1. Let’s talk about the funniest commercials, especially the little Darth Vader kid.
  2. Groupon’s commercials were horrendous.

Heck, I’m talking about those two points too. What was memorable? Who hurt their brand most?

But another question I think we need to ask is this: What will the end result be?

The entire point of a commercial is to raise awareness for your brand, hopefully in the positive light, so that you sell more. Funny commercials are usually memorable, so the Super Bowl is filled with them, but those aren’t the only kinds of commercials that can raise awareness for your brand. One campaign that sticks in my mind, for example, is Droid. (I didn’t see any Droid commercials during the Super Bowl, I just mean in general). They had a whole slew of weird alien/robot commercials last year that weren’t funny in the least, but they were certainly memorable. So commercials don’t have to be funny to be good.

Why, then, is there a push to make Super Bowl commercials funny? Because afterward, there are always ten billion people writing about and talking about which ones were funniest. You want your commercial to be part of those conversations so that it lives beyond its air time.

Except I wonder if that really matters. I’m starting to believe marketers need to think about branding and buzz a little differently.

Earlier today, I read an interesting post from Lawton Chiles called The Ugly Truth Behind the Darth Vader Superbowl Commercial (hat tip to @elijahryoung for tweeting the link). In this post, Lawton writes,

See how millions of folks are searching for the Darth Vader kid Superbowl commercial? Pretty nifty right? Seems like a lot of people are searching for that SPECIFIC video.

So, they watch the video, laugh, and then, move on. The fact is, I could not even remember what car company they were advertising. I’m sure 95% of the other folks looking for the commercial were in the same boat as me. I’m sure you were too, right?

What a great point. Does the Darth Vader commercial make you want to go out and buy that specific car? In actuality, no one is searching for that make and model of Volkswagen at all – and what did that commercial do to tell us about the car? It has a push-button start? Lots of cars have that these days. What in that commercial positively changed how I think of the Volkswagen brand? What in that commercial convinced me that I should buy this car over other cars I might be considering? At the end of the day, no one buys a car because the company had a funny commercial.

And as far as awareness goes? I’m more aware of that little kid, but I’m not really talking about Volkswagen. Like Lawton said, most people don’t even remember what car company was showcased in the commercial.

Not that brands shouldn’t have funny commercials. They can sometimes work. Doritos, for example, had some funny commercials that I think worked well to promote their brand. But we saw the same problem last year with Old Spice. While the Old Spice guy was hilarious and got a lot of buzz, sales for their Red Zone products – what he was actually promoting – actually fell.

I also saw an interesting tweet that I thought needed to be part of this conversation.

BobbyRettew: No offense…but those out there fussing bout Groupon Ad last night…they achieve their goal: Awareness. You are talking about #Groupon

Groupon offended me more than once during the Super Bowl, but Bobby is right – people are not only talking about the commercials, like with the Darth Vader kid, but they are actually talking about Groupon. Tons of brand awareness for that company. Even my mom, who is not an Internet person in the least, called me to ask what Groupon is exactly (she knew it had something to do with deals, and my mom can’t resist a coupon) and if she should sign up.

Of course, the flip side to this is that a lot of people are really upset with the Groupon ads, so they didn’t exactly raise brand awareness in a positive light. I think it will be interesting to see stats from the week after the Super Bowl for this company, but I predict that even with all the negativity and people boycotting, they’ll still have a spike in new users. Over time, those commercials might have a more damaging effect on their brand. Only time will tell I guess.

So the main question here, I think, is this: Who did a better job with branding and creating buzz? Volkswagen, a company with a commercial that has gone viral and is one of the highest-rated of the Super Bowl, but that created little brand or product awareness? Or Groupon, a company that pissed off a lot of people, but created tons of brand and product awareness?

Chatter.com Pushes Private Social Networking to Super Bowl Audience


Chatter.com showcased two commercials last night during the Super Bowl … Commercials that left me confused and my husband asking “is this another Twitter?”


The commercials were tailored around the Black Eyed Peas halftime performance and didn’t showcase much of anything about the network. You got that it was some sort of social network (available as a mobile app), and that it seemed to be targeted to businesses, but that’s about it. Businessweek dittos my sentiment. “One of the many things the ad failed to do was determine who exactly Chatter was for. Was it for end users because if it was, I had no idea what Chatter was supposed to do after watching those ads. Heck I know what Chatter is and I didn’t get the message.

Upon visiting the Chatter.com site, you can see that it’s a private social network for businesses and you have to have a confirmed company email before joining a specific network.

And Salesforce seems to be dedicated to making this a pretty functional network. They recently acquired of Heroku (a cloud platform vendor), Etacts (a contact management platform), Dimdim (a collaboration platform), and Manymoon (a service that adds productivity and collaboration tools to Google Apps and LinkedIn)!

Articles have been saying since 2009 (when Salesforce revealed they were setting up Chatter) that competitor Yammer should be worried … Do you think they should be concerned and do you think Chatter is an effective tool for companies?

Why Pepsi Is Good For Bloggers


This is certainly not a “Pepsi is better than Coke” or now begins the cola wars , I am referring to the world of monetizing.  Recently ABC reported, Pepsi announced that it would discontinue spending money on advertising on Super Bowl Sunday.  I have for years thought that the price of advertising on that day is way over priced, unless of course I was the guy getting the commission for that sale.  Millions of dollars being spent to have a slot of 30 seconds for the world to see you and your brand is a big gamble.  I suppose if your 30 seconds was the best or in some cases the worst you would extend your brand to many eyeballs all watching.  This is beginning to change and apparently Pepsi is leading the charge.

Why is this good for bloggers?  Brands like Pepsi and others are going online for their eyeballs.  I am not going to get into the debate in this post about why eyeballs are not the metric I think is for our future, but suffice it to say, eyeballs don’t buy.  Pepsi is also doing something that I believe is a masterful move into also contributing to charity while changing their advertising strategy. Forrester has a great post on its blog discussing the issues of the Pepsi move and its impact on the world of marketing.

Bloggers had a very difficult time selling their content to brands in the beginning. It always went back to eyeballs (perhaps this is the time for that debate). Bloggers that had millions of page views a month, a feat derived only by the top of the top of bloggers, made very little on their content as compared to their traditional media counterparts.  That in itself is supposition with the fact that bloggers were never considered in the same breath as traditional media.  As we all know, this is changing now.  Bloggers are seen as influencers and as people that can vault a brand into rock star fame.  Look at Ford for your example.

We are seeing other areas that are getting the dollars like Facebook for example.  The ABC example of Toys “R” Us building a Facebook page and seeing growth of between 40,000 and 95,000 fans per day after its late November launch is an example of what is catching the attention of those writing checks for marketing campaigns.  Their will be a race to see who can get your attention where you are, and Facebook is getting the attention of every household in America.

As traditional brands such as Pepsi and Ford and others begin to move their war chests of advertising dollars to other areas of the media, meaning bloggers and social networks, we all will have a better chance at a piece of the pie.  Rather than putting millions of dollars into a 30 second spot, brands may even give millions of bloggers that share.  This is only going to mean $2.00 perhaps but it is a huge increase over the .02 I made from Google Adsense last year.  My percentage of increase looks good on a corporate report!

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