Category: grassroots marketing


Yeah, So I Heard Blogging is Really Effective When You Post Regularly…

And from whose mouth dropped this pearly bit of wisdom? Mine own.

More than once, in fact —  in every meeting we’ve had recently with a new or potential client, since social media is a component of nearly every proposal we’ve written lately, and a part of every job we’ve landed unless it is 100% straight print.

Oh (I whine in a non-annoying way), I don’t have time to update our blog — I’m ghost-writing four other blogs every week, plus all the writing I have to do like website content, print ads, a ton of collateral, ghosting clients’ Facebook fan pages, Twitter feeds, e-newsletters, blah blah blah socialmediacakes.

Flickr/theTrial
Flickr/theTrial

But I THINK about our blog constantly. Given the choice, I’d be blogging every day because I have an opinion on everything. In theory, this blog is supposed to have some parameters that keep me within the rather elastic bounds of advertising, marketing, and media; selling stuff; how badly brands/people are selling stuff; how cleverly stuff is sold with out anyone realizing they were, in fact, sold something, or they don’t care because it was so well done; egregious marketing ploys; any time the Wall Street Journal writes about something that I find amusingly outside its purview; I think you get the picture. And did you notice I dropped the “royal we” at some point? Because this is my responsibility, like the creative direction and graphic design are Steve’s. The blog just really ties the room together, man.

So, my random attached-to-no-holiday resolution (although I could pin this onto Labor Day…) is to get back to blogging monthly for Alchemy, and start posting our clients’ news as well when we had a hand in it. Because in addition to always having something to say about someone or something, we have a lot of new work and new clients to talk about, and they deserve the attention.


Intellectual Property in the Social Media

So, we had a new addition to Alchemy, and even though it was extremely difficult for such a control freak (yes, me), she wrote some stuff, too….KMO

On April 26th every year, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) celebrates World Intellectual Property Day to promote discussion of the role of IP in encouraging innovation and creativity. I was just reflecting upon this while advising copyrights to a potential client regarding the promotion of her children’s music and storybooks. Then our office experienced a social media etiquette faux pas during an online marketing campaign for one of our retail destination client’s outdoor concert festival events.

Alchemy’s marketing for the event

Part of our job was designing all of the graphics needs for posters, signage, print and digital ads, and a collection of imagery to use on social media that would capture Facebook viewing attention and brand this “Peace Love & Wellness Music Festival” for our client, while making this artwork available for use by any of the participating retail tenants, businesses, vendors, and the bands. This particular client uses events as its primary source of marketing, outside of a year-round general branding campaign, and we have fun creating visual identities for each event. The Peace Love & Wellness campaign proved very successful with image likes and shares growing viewership to its 3rd Annual event page more than 100% over last year’s page. The ROI was worth the effort.
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The Intersection of Marketing and Art

It’s no bad thing to have a client who is an art patron. And it’s an even better thing when that client, a real estate developer, is a huge supporter of Art in Public Places (#AIPP) and willing to budget for the creation of art as a way to improve the community in which construction takes place.

For another perspective on the scale of this project, this is Tristan painting Alexander Graham Bell’s eye.
For another perspective on the scale of this project, this is Tristan painting Alexander Graham Bell’s eye.

That said, you’d like to have the artwork depict some subtle tie-in to the project, even though Art in Public Places is pretty strict about there being no commercial aspect to the projects it approves. The client, Ram Realty Services, decided that we would conduct a Call to Artists with the prompt that the 7,000 square foot mural would honor Alexander Graham Bell and communication, since the historic structure was once the regional headquarters for Southern Bell, and the converted residential units will be known as Alexander Lofts.

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Looking Like A Big Deal…Before You Are

Transformed: Homecoming Queen, Drig Addict, Spiritual WarriorThe proliferation of ways to publish your magnum opus (or, you know, an exhaustive detailing of your whole two and a half decades of life experience) has been both a blessing and a curse. It allows talented voices an outlet directly to the audience; we’ll skip the fact that it allows the spectacularly untalented a way into print. Vanity publishing used to keep all but the well-heeled hack out of that sandbox.

But we digress. This blog post is about finding clever ways to bring attention to a self-published author, with the end goal of interesting a mainstream publisher in either picking up the work or future works. Then again, if the campaign is successful, perhaps that mainstream publisher becomes much less enticing or even necessary.

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Ad Creep(y)

First there was bodvertising, then thighvertising, now it’s beardvertising. Talk about taking “ad creep” to new highs…er, lows…oh, forget it.

Thighvertising
This, my friends, is “thighvertising.”

Ad creep is defined in our industry as the spread of media placement into every possible aspect of our daily lives. Thighvertising (according to the U.K.’s Telegraph, or maybe it was the Daily Mail – it was earlier this year) originated in Japan, and is pretty much just what the name implies: advertising on the quadriceps. But not just any quads, mind you – on the taut legs of young, attractive women. Everything I read about this trend – which seemed to hit critical media mass in the last few weeks — noted its potential for the objectification of women. Then, of course, came the opinions that it’s EMPOWERING when women turn the tables and take control of their bodies and their image. As someone of the female persuasion, I’m going to stop right here before I let loose with an opinion of that sentiment, which isn’t really relevant to the topic at hand. However, I will tell you that this is my test for whether something is exploitative (borrowed from another writer, so no claims to originality here): Are guys doing it, too?

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Late to the Sharknado…

I had a whole bunch of ideas for a blog post – you have beardvertising to look forward to, people – but abandoned them after #sharknado took over Twitter and garnered the SyFy Channel’s latest cheesefest so much second-screen publicity that it was a featured story everywhere from the Today Show to Variety to the Wall Street Journal.

Too mature to know about the guilty pleasures of SyFy’s made-for-TV schlockfests? Sharknado, which premiered last night, stars D-list (and really, we’re being generous here) celebs Ian Zeiring (Beverly Hills 90210) and Tara Reid (American Pie). A hurricane off the coast of California sucks up man-eating sharks and transports them, via tornado, to Los Angeles. Said sharks proceed to fly out of funnel clouds and eat everyone.

Sweet.

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SWEDE FEST™PALM BEACH Opens Big!

Any time you work on a brand-new event with a client, there’s always the possibility that — even with a great concept and a clever hook, after everyone’s hard work, late nights, inspired ideas, creativity, sharp copy, media hooks, great pitches, relentless social media outreach, promises from everyone to cover the event, smart media buys, great sponsors, high-profile partners, and every other factor you can imagine — you’ll have a half-full venue. There are so many intangibles you can’t control; then add in that it’s summer, in Florida, during hurricane season, when it usually rains every afternoon from 4:00pm until 7:00pm, it’s hot and humid and hair gets frizzy, people are away on last-minute vacations before school starts and/or work gets back to a more normal schedule, and did we mention it’s summer? And that no one knows what a “swede” is?

Midtown's Belle Forino and Sherri Gedraitis in front of the step-and-repeat using our logo and graphics
Midtown’s Belle Forino and Sherri Gedraitis in front of the step-and-repeat using our logo and graphics

Yet none of that seemed to matter last Friday night when the inaugural SWEDE FEST™PALM BEACH launched to a sold out crowd of over 500 attendees on Mainstreet at Midtown.From the red carpet in front of The Borland Center for Performing Arts through the final credits, this was high-energy entertainment for everyone involved, with “swedes” submitted by amateur filmmakers ages 10 to 60. More > “SWEDE FEST™PALM BEACH Opens Big!”


Redfining Glamour: The LadyLash Studios Website Debuts

The LadyLash.com home page, with slideshow of their work.
The LadyLash.com homepage, with slideshow of their work.

Sometimes a project comes along and the client says, “I trust you; be creative as possible; capture our persona.”

These are the projects that allow us to expand the boundaries, show a client in the best light possible, capture the essence of who/what they are, and then take it to a whole new level.

Mikaela and Georgio Fernandez, of LadyLash Studios, are that client. They trusted us implicitly to interpret who and what they are.

They had no website, and were doing all their online promotion through Facebook and Twitter — in fact, they’re a fascinating case of how best to utilize the tools of social marketing.

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Efficient, Yes; Effective, Not So Much

Stuck with Blinds
Stuck with Blinds

Today’s Bad Pitch Blog outs a publicist for Blinds Chalet, who has sent 6 pitches to BPB’s author, in spite of being asked not to, since he writes about public relations, marketing, social media, media relations and the various circles with which they overlap. So, why blinds, and why not stop already??

To quote: “And when people take the spray and pray approach to pitching? We actually see some get pissed at US for replying because we’re so off topic. Why would WE bother THEM? Yeah, it’s a fine line between chutzpah and stupidity…

“The pitch proves a point we’ve made all along. Most of the bad pitches are not really bad. The people sending them are just ultimately lazy. Even if Chris is in love with his automatronic spam bot, you’d think he’d be tracking replies.

“If you’re comfortable using e-mail marketing software for public relations efforts, you should be comfortable with being categorized as SPAM, people. And you should not be surprised when off-target media/bloggers/random jerks in your database reply to your emails, and you should always be comfortable with reading replies to email.”

 And taking them off your list already. Thanks for speaking up, Bad Pitch guys.


Another Reason They Call Them ‘Flaks’

Hitler as depicted by The Bad Pitch Blog
Hitler as depicted by The Bad Pitch Blog

The Bad Pitch Blog’s headline for this one really says it all: “The Bad Hitler Pitch (as if there was a good one).”  Yes, some PR professional in the UK actually pitched a book with this amazingly dense come-on: “What do Andrea Bocelli, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Adolf Hitler and Svengali have in common? At first glance a blind Italian tenor, a Russian ballet dancer, a German dictator, and a fictional hypnotist seem to have little in common, but what they all share is an ability to transcend the ordinary and put their audiences in a trance.”

How offensive is THAT to anyone who lost a family member during the Holocaust, or worse, someone who SURVIVED the Holocaust? As the reporter who received this missive wrote back to the publicist, “Using Hitler in a pitch is the equivalent of tossing a live hand grenade into a crowded room, and that rarely is there an acceptable reason to do so.”

I have to concur on multiple levels that the absolute awfulness and blithe ignorance of this publicist is breathtaking, yet his/her CEO actually tried to defend their position and use of this analogous quartet: “Although considered an unskilled orator, there was something in his cadence and speaking demeanor, some experts believe, that caused this. Hitler most certainly ‘transcend the ordinary.’ Is it ‘ordinary’ to slaughter 6 million people?”

After wiping the latte off my keyboard at the snort of disbelief this breathtaking exaample of bad taste provoked, I was pleased to see the intrepid reporter reply to him thusly: “Really? If by ‘the unexpected ways trances affect our everyday lives,’ you mean, ‘killed off most of my family through mob violence and systematic murder in concentration camps,’ then yeah, wow, that ‘trance’ totally affected some everyday lives.”

Great way to further the reputation of publicists, huh? “Flak” fits this one like a tailored brown shirt.