Oct 31, 2009

Hyundai Capitalizes on Extreme Fitness Video

On Thursday, October 22, 2009 the parking lot surveillance camera at Extreme Fitness in Thornhill caught something quite unusual. A BMW X5 was captured jumping the curb and crushing the windshields of two cars, including a Hyundai Elantra. The footage was released on YouTube and went viral with over one million hits as of Friday.

Hyundai found a way to capitalize on the incident. Mighty, the new media devision of Bensimon Byrne, had been on the lookout for a media opportunity for their client, Hyundai. As soon as they realized that one of the damaged cars was a Hyundai, they decided to respond to it in kind. The agency pitched Hyundai on replacing the victim's car with a new one and creating a YouTube response video. Hyundai agreed, and the free car was gifted to Todd Jamison.

Jon Toews, Mighty's creative director, told Media in Canada that this is one of the greatest things he has ever seen a client do. It was not just a good PR opportunity, but it is a good example of the ultimate social media opportunity: responding a meme right away.

Mighty has created a video, an edit of the original video and the free-car presentation, to go along with a simple social media exclusive promotion through Hyundai's Twitter and Facebook pages.

The PR strategy positions Hyundai as nimble and as a brand willing to do random acts of kindness. The same cannot be said for BMW. It was their X5 which was responsible for damaging the Hyundai, but where is their video response? Why have they not explained what caused the SUV to turn into a mack-truck?

While Hyundai was proactive in creating a positive public relations impression, BMW has remained silent throughout the ordeal. What could BMW have done to counter the negative image of their vehicle and how could they have employed social media in the technique?

To see the full article from Media in Canada, click here.

Oct 16, 2009

Uproar at UWO over YouTube Video

An iPhone captured a writhing, prostate student in the fluorescent-lit Social Science Centre hallway. Officers yelled "stop resisting" as they repeatedly kicked, punched and kneed the suspect.

The ubiquitous video is now a YouTube staple, having garnered over 200,000 hits on the site alone. The video, filmed by a politics professor, has sparked controversy both on the University of Ontario campus and off. According to the Globe and Mail, the video clip demonstrates the multiple layers of scrutiny now facing heavily policed Canadian campuses.

Fourth year student Irnes Zeljkovic, 22, is now charged with assaulting an officer, resisting arrest and mischief under $5,000. Friends of the criminology student insist he would never act in a threatening manner.

This hour-long incident will surely haunt Zeljkovic for the rest of his life. A quick Google search results in over 600-hits. Twitter has been buzzing about the arrest. The YouTube video has over 200,000 hits.

What will happen when Zeljkovic is trying to find a job? When potential employers Google him, they will be flooded with mentions of this unfortunate incident. Even if the charges are dropped, Zeljkovic will have a very hard time erasing his past to make room for the future.

The UWO video incident is a perfect example of what-not-to-do. In our technological age, it is hard, if not impossible, to run from your past. Remember to act responsibly and in a manner that will not cause future embarrassment.

Oct 12, 2009

Think PINK

Since 1985, October has been designated as Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Organized by breast cancer charities, this annual international health campaign aims to increase awareness of the disease and raise funds.

In support of Breast Cancer Awareness month, companies have develop "pink products." The proceeds from pink sales are used to support programs, prevention education and research initiatives.

Check out some of my favorite products:

Comply with the new Ontario hands-free law with the stylish Jawbone EarCandy Bluetooth Headset in Frankly Scarlet. Available for $139.99 from TelusMobility, $10 from every sale between October 1 - December 31, 2009 will support Rethink Breast Cancer.

OPI has created their third exclusive nail lacquer, Pink of Hearts 2009, for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. OPI will make a $5,000 donation to Rethink Breast Cancer. Pink of Hearts 2009 contains no Toluene, DBP, or Formaldehyde. The special polish will be available in October at professional salons and spas across Canada.

Save the environment and support breast cancer research with Green Bee Bags. The reusable, recyclable and compact bags are a stylish, durable way to reduce your use of paper and plastic (and .5 cents for all Torontonians!) Available for $15.99 at www.greenbeebags.com, 10% of proceeds will be donated to Rethink Breast Cancer.

Write, highlight, and flag your notes with Post-It products. 3M's Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign features many "pink" products suitable for everyday life. My favorite (and most recent purchase) is the pink flag pen and flag highlighter. Proceeds from the sale of each specially-marked Post-It product will benefit the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation.

Use Twitter to support breast cancer research by adding a Twibbon to your display picture. Twibbon's help show your support for breast cancer survivors and the ongoing research to stamp out the disease. Click here to follow me and my Twibbon on Twitter.

This October, Think PINK!

Oct 10, 2009

With Perez against them, T-Mobile doesn't stand a chance

T-Mobile Sidekick users have been holding out hope that their data might be recovered. It was on October 2nd that T-Mobile Sidekicks phones were wiped clean of personal data - including contacts, calendar entries, to-do lists and photos. Customer's were outraged (rightfully so) at the telecommunications giant for not fixing the problem. Now T-Mobile's public image is at stake, all thanks to one angry user: Perez Hilton.

The Queen of all Media, Perez Hilton has been publicly documenting his ordeal on blog and twitter account. Undeniably, Hilton's phone is integral to his business. The self-made millionaire has made a living connecting to celebrities and the latest gossip. One can only assume that his 2,000 entry contact list was a who's-who of Hollywood. The loss of his personal data has caused the gossip blogger to write scathing blog posts and start the trending topics on twitter, #tmobilesucks and #tmobilestillsucks.

The situation only worsened for T-Mobile as they announced on Saturday, Oct 10 that the data was gone for good. T-Mobile released the following statement regarding the issue:

"Regrettably, based on Microsoft/Danger's latest recovery assessment of their systems, we must now inform you that personal information stored on your device - such as contacts, calendar entries, to-do lists or photos - that is no longer on your Sidekick almost certainly has been lost as a result of a server failure at Microsoft/Danger. That said, our teams continue to work around-the-clock in hopes of discovering some way to recover this information. However, the likelihood of a successful outcome is extremely low."

While this is an expertly crafted statement, it is not holding well in the eyes of the judgmental public. T-Mobile's public relations staff made all the right moves: they provided their audience with the facts while still maintaining a sense of care and responsibility to their customers.

But Perez Hilton is very vocal regarding the "unacceptable" service. Hilton notes that the ONLY form of compensation T-Mobile is offering their customers, "whom they obviously don't value or respect," is one month of free data service. Perez notes "that's shit!"

T-Mobile must implement and execute some form of crisis management NOW. The C-Suite must devise some sort of respectful compensation package for the affected customers. This should include a new phone (probably a BlackBerry or iPhone, as most customers will probably stay far away from Sidekicks now) in addition to the month of free service. T-Mobile needs to take responsibility for this disturbance and to keep their customers, they must offer an exemplary compensation package.

All I can say now is thank god for my BlackBerry (shout-out to Rogers and Desktop Manager!). And Mr. Hilton - I suggest you go for the Bold.

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