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Business, Culture, Family, Marketing, Social Media

How I f’d up the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

August 27, 2014

Yes. It’s true. I f’d up the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. I was challenged by a good friend of my wife and I, Marcus Williams. Cool! I thought. I can come up with some cool and unique way to do it. I dreamed. Let’s see, baby Noah can be holding cue cards, that will be pulled away with a string by someone. I continued on. Or maybe a western gun draw. No. My friend, Joey Melcher, did his in the style of Inception. Maybe I could do something like that! Maybe.

Instead it was a matter of speed, because our baby was asleep, and my wife had rehearsal for Spring Awakening. So, I had Noah on the monitor, and quickly dumped a 10 lb. bag of ice into a bucket, and hit record on the camera. No focusing, no color adjusting, nothing. At the time, I didn’t really think about putting water into the bucket. It IS called the ICE Bucket challenge, after all.

Here it is for all to see:

The result

As you can see, it really wasn’t that bad. Ice falls right off of you. I was not soaked. It was quick and painless. It also yielded only a few views. You can be sure that my video did not reach the top of my friends’ news feeds. However, I gave up on the idea of executing an extensive ice bucket challenge due to familial responsibilities.

The others

After doing it and posting the video, I went to look at my friends challenges and many others. Mine sucked. If you haven’t seen them check out some of the best ALS Ice Bucket Challenge videos by brands here. There were some very high-quality and funny ones completed by people like my friend, Justin Jaksha. And of course there were thoughtful ones, promoting non-profit initiatives like the one done by Matt Damon:

Let’s not forget the potential Darwin Award nominee that set his head on fire: (Edit: Well, looks like they removed it!)


The case for not re-doing the challenge

My wife suggested last night that I re-do the challenge if I wasn’t happy with it. I thought about it. And yea, it wasn’t that great. But at least I didn’t set my head on fire. I’ll stand by it no matter how boring or dry it was. I accepted the challenge and completed it. Was it memorable? No. Was it partly to join the crowd mentality and meet social expectations surrounding the virality of the challenge? Kind of. Was it for a good cause? Yes. Was this a missed self-marketing opportunity? Maybe. But some things are more important in life.

Advertising, Business, Career, Marketing

Marketing terms that make you look like an amateur

June 6, 2014

Homer Simpson - Face Palm

Homer Simpson – Face Palm

So, you’ve joined the ranks of marketers and advertisers. Congratulations. You poor soul. Put in your best effort, and try not to look like an idiot. Actually, even if you’re not in marketing or advertising- try not to look like an idiot. This means sounding like you know what you’re talking about. Look up appropriate terminology and take some classes if you’re not formally educated in the field. Here are some of the top marketing terms that you or someone you know may be using that are making you and your buddies look like amateurs.

“Let’s get our eblast going.”

Try not to use “eblast”, “social media blast”, or any other “blasts”. You’re probably thinking, “But Alex, what’s wrong with saying ‘eblast’?” Well, nothing really. It’s not inherently wrong, but there are much better terms to use other than “blast”. Would you want someone “eblasting” junk all over your inbox? Didn’t think so. It sounds like spam. Here are some better terms to use:

  • email marketing campaign
  • newsletter
  • marketing email
  • email promotion

Also, no one likes being part of a marketing list. So, please don’t use the word “list” on your public facing sites or profiles. Try using: “subscribers” or “eclub”.

Related phrases you should never use:

“Sign up for our eblast!”
No, thank you.

“Join our email list!”
Nah, I don’t want to be on your list. In fact, take me off your list, if I’m on it.

“Let us eblast your inbox!”
Just don’t ever use this one.

These are better:

“Join our EClub to receive exclusive events and offers.”
Sweet, I love being in a club.

“Join our network of subscribers.”
I’ll be a part of a network? Fo Sho!

“Subscribe to our newsletter for the latest updates.”
Yeah! I’ll be in the know! Finally!

“When are we starting our social media blitz?”

Houston Texans

Houston Texans

Again. What the hell is a social media blitz? This means nothing. This is not football. It’s social media. Call it what it is: social media marketing, social media marketing campaign, or you can get specific such as Facebook Ad Campaign, Twitter or Tweet Campaign. I cringe every time I hear “social media blitz”. If you’re hearing this term, then your coworker or client are throwing up a red flag that says “I have absolutely no idea what the hell I’m talking about”. Worse yet, this might mean they probably have unrealistic expectations of using social media for their goals. While we’re at it, please don’t ever say email blitz.

Your client or coworkers may not realize that having a successful campaign usually means allocating a budget for what they want to achieve. Since Facebook limits the reach of page posts, advertising is a must. If your goal is to reach all of your followers, you’ll have to purchase Facebook advertising, or make sure that your campaign is so darn creative, it’ll go viral. Don’t count on this though. Most people don’t realize that much of the viral advertising out there is backed by huge budgets. Chances are you’ll need to purchase advertising.

“How many friends does our company have on Facebook and Twitter?”

If you go online and actually look at any company page on Facebook, you’ll see that the page does not have any friends, it has fans. You cannot have friends on your company Facebook page, you can only have friends on your personal page. Your Twitter profile gains followers, not friends.

A few more.

Don’t say:
general photo
samples or test
make a website
camera stand

Instead, say:
stock photography
proof or draft
design or develop a website
animation (unless you mean live video)

Don’t correct your boss.

He-Man on Robot Chicken

He-Man on Robot Chicken

Those are just some of the terms that have been brought to my attention recently. There are tons more. And as you come across better terms, use them and trash the amateur talk. So, now you’re a marketer or advertiser or whatever. Now, you know your stuff! “I have the power!” Slow down there, He-Man. Just because you begin using the more widely accepted terminology, doesn’t mean you get to parade around like a word nazi. Be respectful. If your boss wants to call your Facebook fans, friends, then let them. Or if your coworker says they want to do a social media blitz, then just smile, listen, and do your best to provide solutions.

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