Tweeting Together/Alone on the Red Carpet

20 02 2009

mb-headshot3If you participated in the tweeting about the Super Bowl advertising and joined Mullen at, then you will certainly enjoy our latest adventure in sourcing the wisdom of the crowd. By going to you will be able to watch everyone commenting on the Oscars before, during and after. And you can participate in polling and tweet directly from the page. If you’ve harbored a desire to be like Joan Rivers or Ryan Seacrest, providing play-by-play commentary on the action, now is your chance to do just that in the Twitterverse.  


James Michael Surowiecki’s book “The Wisdom of Crowds: Why the Many Are Smarter Than the Few and How Collective Wisdom Shapes Business, Economies, Societies and Nations” was never more relevant than today, when micro-blogging services such as Twitter have enabled masses of people to share their thoughts about everything from Doritos TV spots to Kate Winslet’s gown.

I read a recent review of a film festival being held in New York for horror movies by director David Cronenberg (“The Fly”, “Videodrome”) in which they wrote that “One of the advantages of seeing one of these high-Cronenberg extravaganzas with a midnight-movie audience is that everybody gets to go “Ewww” at the same time, which kind of relieves the tension.”

The same can be said of these two experiments in Twitter mass participation. By viewing the Oscars and tweeting your impressions and sharing those impressions with others via the hashtag #redcarpet09 you are experiencing something with a group, even though you may be alone in front of your TV set with your laptop or iPhone and a bowl of popcorn.

Adweek and The Boston Globe have taken notice of Mullen’s adventures in tapping into the collective wisdom of crowds, and that can only help boost participation (#sb43ads was the fourth-most tweeted topic for a time during the Super Bowl, inching out Bruce Springsteen for a moment – can’t feel bad about beating the Boss).

Edward Boches, our chief creative officer, feels that these Twitter experiments are really only scratching the surface of what’s possible with Twitter (read his post here). The sky is the limit for where this service can go, and I’m excited to be a part of taking it there. As David Pogue wrote, “Don’t worry about the rules. Including mine. Use Twitter the way you want to. Don’t let anyone tell you you’re doing it wrong.”

We hope you take part to see what can be accomplished when we tap into our collective conscious. If you have any thoughts about how Twitter can be used for other purposes, feel free to comment here.       


Tweeting About the Super Bowl

30 01 2009

mb-headshot31While we’re all bummed that the Pats didn’t make it, the Cardinals won’t be the only birds in the game on Super Bowl Sunday. The Twitter universe will be tweeting about the advertisements in real time and all of the play-by-play commentary will be compiled at “Trash Talk from Section Twitter.”


To participate, get a Twitter account and type #sb43ads in your tweet plus your canny commentary.

As the Boston Globe just reported, Mullen, as well as “a group of ad agencies and Boston University students are looking to get a real-time Twitter debate going on the merits of Sunday’s Super Bowl ads.”

According to the Globe, “the ad agency group is looking to harness the social networking technology of as a way to get folks to post instant and pithy critiques of ads they loved or loathed – even as they are watching the game.”

Edward Boches, Mullen’s chief creative officer, said of the upcoming Twitter experiment on Super Bowl ads, “We’re looking to use a new medium to comment on an old medium. The idea is to get the whole community more familiar and comfortable with the concept of social networking as another option in the marketer’s tool bag. And if we’re lucky the comments will be funnier than the ads themselves.”

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Tattoos & Brand Devotion

10 10 2008

Recently, in an e-mail from HARO, I saw an inquiry about people who have tattoos of their favorite brands. The inquiry made me smile because months ago one of my colleagues brought up this idea, saying she believed it would become the next trend in demonstrating brand loyalty.

In a recent article in Fortune magazine, J. Crew’s CEO stated he believes there will be a departure from the branding trend and a return to simplicity. Perhaps this is true with clothing: people currently display brands on their clothing, cars and accessories, and are running out of empty space – a natural next step is to get a brand’s logo tattooed on your body, right?!

Getting a tattoo of a brand’s logo is the ultimate demonstration of brand devotion. Yet this is not a new idea: Harley Davidson loyalists have been getting the brand’s tattoos for years and the rest of the world is finally catching up. This taps into a sociological phenomenon called social cohesion. Social cohesion refers to developing communities of people who share similar ideas, values, beliefs and norms. Today, brand tattoos are a permanent and physical way to show one’s allegiance to a particular group.

43% of women say they have fallen in love with a brand. It’d be interesting to see what percent of these women have displayed their love via permanent ink.

How far will you go to demonstrate your brand loyalty? What can your brand do to create such deep and lasting relationships with its consumers that they are inspired to tattoo your logo on their bodies?

Image shared by LJ Fox III

Image shared by BellaSugar

If a blog post falls in the woods, will anyone hear it?

1 10 2008

There are too many blogs.


I say this with neither good nor bad overtones. If you are interested in macramé, LOST, Borat, Chinese gymnasts, or any one of the presidential candidates, there is a blog for you. Certainly this citizen journalism poses a threat to mainstream media, and that’s why CNN is now Twittering and featuring iReports from Joey and Jane Sixpack.


And it stands to reason why there is a proliferation of blogs – we Americans are obsessed with ourselves. How else can we explain the impulse to put our most private thoughts, videos, up on the Internet for millions to see?  Twitter enables the truly self-obsessed to post about their lives – tweet – minute by minute.


Never mind if these tweets are actually factual. You can have a lot of fun at your friends’ expense by making up tweets: “Michael is now doing macramé with Borat, some Chinese acrobats and Sarah Palin in Honolulu.” 09:30 AM October 1, 2008 from web


That’s the fun of blogs. It’s mostly opinion and rarely fact (It’s what we want). What would happen if someone was writing fiction about you? Or writing fiction about your brand? Or, if not fiction, then something mean. Finding those tweets, videos, flickr images, and blog posts online, and sifting through them to find the really juicy ones, would be very time consuming.


I’ve recently started using Radian6, which provides me with an omniscient view on all of the chatter in the online world with a cool interface. I like Panera’s sandwiches and Chipotle’s burritos, so I decided to evaluate the level of online chatter about these brands. Panera had more than twice as many posts as Chipotle in the past 30 days, and I was able to see when there were spikes in posting activity that mentioned these brands (see the graphic below). I was able to drill down and read the posts that connect Panera with things that are part of the company’s DNA, like freshness. I was able to see what people who visit these chains actually think about the company.


While reading all of this content, I felt like I was listening to trees falling in the woods. These desperate souls, all intent on sharing their every thought with friends and random strangers, were being seen by me. If I felt like it, I could have made comments on their posts and tell them that I too like the Frontega Chicken hot panini. Like some sort of deity, I could answer their prayers to be heard, or I could just listen in and move on. If I worked for Panera, I could have given those who wrote favorable reviews a coupon to buy more sandwiches. Now, that would certainly be playing God.


I’d like to know if you think that there’s a value in hearing what the great unwashed masses think, or if the taste-makers in the mainstream media are the only ones that matter. And, given that a blog post’s value is mostly measurable by how frequently people comment on any given post, should we care about a blog post on which no one comments? And, if a tree falls in the woods, does it make a sound?

The Dawn of Mainstream Awareness

7 09 2008

I have been told by many PR professionals that if it a story makes the New York Times then it has reached critical mass.  With that said, today’s story is that of “The Age of Awareness.”

If you haven’t read it yet, the New York Times has it on their website (free registration required) or the author’s website has posted it as well.  Clive Thompson is a regular contributor to both the New York Times and Wired magazine and is well known within the technology and science sectors.

To summarize the article as briefly as possible: Social Networking makes us more peripherally aware of all our contacts (close or otherwise) without having to exert as much mental effort.  Mr. Thompson calls this “ambient awareness.”

As he notes in the article, when Facebook first came out, it still required users to visit each one of their friend’s pages individually until the Newsfeed came along and aggregated all the changes in their network on one page, thus reducing the effort to stay observationally connected to friends.  Twitter is no different, while each tweet may be meaningless, one person’s stream gives a peak into what is going on with them, what the pattern of their life is.

It is a great piece and I encourage the audience here to read it and if not participating on Facebook or Twitter, thinking about joining.  It’s always intimidating at first, but it gets better (and addictive).  And who knows, it may help you better pitch that writer you’ve been after for your client!

Uncle Rico’s Client Service Lessons

12 08 2008

Here’s a post that I thought I’d bring back because of its timeless relevance to client service excellence. Several years ago, I was practically forced to watch the movie Napolean Dynamite. Most people know the film for its popular, cult-like following. I see it as much more. Client service professional development film perhaps? I’ll let you decide as I review what Uncle Rico (John Gries) teaches us about client service. Here are just a few quotes from Uncle Rico:

On building a relationships:
UR: “My friends and clients, they call me Uncle Rico.”
On managing expectations:
UR: “How much you wanna make a bet I can throw a football over them mountains?”
On the importance of understanding our clients’ business:
UR: “Do you know it backwards and front?”
On time management:
UR: “Might as well do somethin’ while you’re doing nothin’.”
On budget stewardship:
UR: “Napoleon, you know we can’t afford the fun pack. What, do you think money grows on trees in this family? Take it back! And get some Pampers for you and your brother while you’re at it.”
On asking good questions:
UR: “Kip, I reckon… you know a lot about… cyberspace? You ever come across anything… like time travel?”
On fighting for your client:
UR: “Oh, I wrote him an e-mail sayin’ I’m gonna contact the authorities if I don’t get a refund in full.”

Of course, I could go on and on, but I’ve probably given away too much already. Now for those of you who saw the film, you’re probably thinking that Uncle Rico may have faultered a time or two – like the time he fell victim to Rex Kwan Do. But in the end, Uncle Rico was the big winner.

Listen to Uncle Rico. You and your clients could be the big winners too!

Twittering Summize or Summizing Twitter

16 07 2008

The big news the last couple of days for us Twitter users is that the popular microblogging platform acquired for $15 million and Twitter stock. Summize is a Twitter search engine that is able to track topics through keywords. Instead of reinventing the wheel, Twitter was smart and bought the company that was already doing it the best. Summize has since been rebranded as

This acquisition will help the popular site establish a viable business model and certainly see an influx of marketers and researchers (social and marketing) joining the fold of users as the stream of consciousness can be more readily used to track what consumers are talking about. Until now, I believe only Radian6 had a tool capable of this sort of tracking. This move allows for ad placement on the search pages, eliminating what would be an outcry of users if Twitter placed ads in their stream or on their pages.

Big news that benefits marketers looking for a way to go where their customers are and more importantly, the users who were seeking the best experience possible. And as we know, Twitter has had its woes in the last year with platform failures made famous by the “Fail Whale”