We Want To Play! Filmmaker Helps Caine’s Arcade Become a Reality

One of the great benefits of social media is its ease of spreading awareness. But in order for the word to spread, someone has to see an opportunity and tell a story.

Caine is a 9-year-old boy who built an arcade made from cardboard boxes at his dad’s auto parts shop. His father’s shop was visited by many customers.  Sadly, his ingenious idea went without recognition because they didn’t see the opportunity. But it took one man, a filmmaker, who was simply looking for a used auto part to notice a story in Caine’s Arcade.

The filmmaker, Caine’s only customer, purchased a fun pass (500 turns for $2) and was amazed by the kid’s creativity and enthusiasm during their interaction. So much so, he decided to plan a flash mob to get customers for Caine. His father, who didn’t believe Caine’s story would mean anything to anyone, also allowed the customer to shoot a short film about Caine.

The filmmaker created a Facebook event page asking people to show up and play at the arcade. News spread quickly. The local NBC affiliate made a visit to the Caine’s Arcade; people from around the world were leaving comments and sharing the event. It even landed on the front page of reddit. On the day of the event, Caine was surprised by a mob of people shouting “We want to play!”

The launch of the short film and Caine’s Arcade Scholarship Fund also went viral. According to Vimeo statistics, the film received 3.3 million plays, 11,200 likes and 637 comments. Caine’s Arcade Scholarship Fund asked page visitors to donate $1 or more to help Caine go to, and prepare for college. The cause has raised more than $200,000!

Everyone can relate to a story, because everyone has a story. Caine’s Arcade went viral because someone stopped and realized that there was an opportunity. It takes people like us, in the public relations and advertising world, to find good stories in the most unlikely places. Caine’s story connected with viewers, and as a result, many people took action. Be aware of your surroundings the next time you’re out and about.

There may be a story that you can tell.


Top Twitter Takeaways from UT’s Social Media Week

Leading up to Social Slam 2012, the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, School of Advertising and Public Relations hosted Social Media Week. This two-day event featured presentations, panels and interactive sessions with social media experts from companies like Scripps Network Interactive, Cox Enterprises, McCormick & Company, Inc., and Dell(home of the splendid Social Media Command Center).

The digital world is growing and re-shaping public relations, marketing and advertising – not to mention communications in general. A new report cites 39 percent of Americans spend more time socializing online than they do offline.

An event that would typically cost hundreds for professionals to attend, UTK provided this learning experience geared toward students to teach best business social media practices.

Thanks to the beauty of Twitter and the hashtag (#), those not in attendance could still absorb great information. Search #UTSMW  on Twitter to view tweets related to the event. Many of the sessions are available online to view at Ustream, but if you don’t have 8+ hours to watch every session, don’t worry…DVL has compiled our top 15 Twitter takeaways below:

Twitter: Go where the people are and build your message there. #utsmw -@UTSMW

You can’t always expect your entire audience to be seeking you out.

Twitter: Listen. Engage. Act. You have to do all three, and you have to do them in order. #UTSMW

Find out who’s talking and what they’re saying. Interact with content that they’ll care about. Use feedback to better serve them.

Twitter: Not every social media platform is appropriate for every audience. @kgranju #UTSMW

Believe it or not…not every business “has to be on Facebook.”

Twitter: Purposeful Edutainment: don't tweet just for the sake of doing so. "It's about conversation." -@adamcb #utsmw

Have a plan and strategy in place.

Twitter: "@elizhendrickson @adamcb says new SM metric is "PTA" (People Talking About it), not impressions. #utsmw" Don't collect fans, engage fans! -@camimonet

Don’t focus on the number of “Likes,” but the quality of engagement.

Twitter: Social media has expanded customer service even further. Sorry businesses, you cacn't escape. #utsmw -@utsmw

Showing them you care – in real-time – can go a long way.

Twitter: Final word: Social media lets companies get past "the velvet rope" and reach clients they might not have been able to otherwise. #utsmw -@utsmw

Discover a whole new world of engaging with customers and clients.

Twitter: EdgeRank is how Facebook has figured out who your close friends are (and why you no longer see "that girl from high school"'s posts). #utsmw -@utsmw

Facebook’s algorithm decides which posts you get to see in your news feed – and where they show up.

Big underestimation... Twitter: Facebook contests can be surprisingly complicated to run. A "like" is not equal to a vote. #utsmw -@utsmw

Facebook has strict rules about how you can conduct contests, giveaways and sweepstakes on its platform.

Twitter: Now in a psychology class where it is impolite to Tweet during speakers/presentations #feelingdefensive of #UTSMW -@CaitlinBradley

Remember, not everyone was born with a smart phone in hand…

Twitter: Great quote! "For this generation, a retweet from an athlete is like an autograph" @tomsatkowiak #utsmw

From the “Social Media Use of UT Athletics and Policies for Student Athletes” session

Twitter and College Sports: Top twitter football page is Michigan w 86,000 followers. They put a hash tag on their field to raise awareness. UT is 20th w/ 21,000 #UTSMW -@ErinWhiteside

Michigan’s “Big House” is the largest college football stadium.

Twitter and College Sports: On a side note, if you're aching to see that Pat Summit tribute again, here it is, courtesy of @Vol_Sports's: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pYqHMcn_Fbw #utsmw -@UTSMW

Had to share this touching tribute to Pat Summitt, “Chances,” from the UT Athletic Department:

And just for fun…

Twitter: This is hilarious! Thanks #UTSMW http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JUs7iG1mNjI -@Holly_Kane

Katie Couric to NBC “Today” show producer, circa 1994: “Can you explain what Internet is?”

More Options for Twitter Advertising

via Twitter - @Audi

In 2011, Twitter introduced Promoted Tweets to its advertising platform. Brands use these tweets to engage followers and reach new audiences on a Cost-per-Engagement basis. Initially, promoted tweets were only seen by users on desktop or laptop computers. However, Twitter announced earlier this week that these paid tweets will now appear on mobile devices, which allows brands to reach their target audience anywhere at any time.

This new feature also includes more targeting options for advertisers. Brands can specifically target users on desktop/laptop computers, Apple iOS, Android and other mobile devices, in addition to other platforms.

According to the announcement, “55 percent of the more than 100 million users who log in to Twitter every month do so at least once via mobile.”

Being able to reach that large group of mobile users is a huge development for Twitter’s relatively new advertising platform.

Internet Advertising – Are You Being Followed?

Recently, I found out via Facebook that one of my friends was engaged. Her ring was beautiful, and she shared that the ring was “conflict free and eco-friendly.” I was fascinated with this concept so I “Googled” the company her ring was purchased from – Brilliant Earth. I read all about its mining process and how it certifies its jewelry as conflict free. While I was fascinated by this process, I became even more fascinated with what happened next. I started noticing Brilliant Earth ads were following me from website to website, often featuring the rings I had looked at while visiting their site. It didn’t matter if I was on MSNBC, ESPN or checking my Yahoo mail. There were Brilliant Earth ads everywhere I looked.

I did some research and discovered that Brilliant Earth was tracking me. It had collected data from my computer while I was on their website about my browsing habits, and if I had made a purchase from them converting to my shopping habits. This is a process called Ad Tracking.

Brilliant Earth is not the only company participating in ad tracking. I have been followed by shoes from Zappos and countless other advertisements from websites I have visited.

The Federal Trade Commission recently proposed “Do Not Track” for internet advertising. This would allow people to choose whether they want internet companies to collect information on their browsing habits, as well as information for other marketing purposes. As a consumer, it feels very big brother to see a pair of shoes I looked at two days ago staring at me while I read today’s headlines. I am truly torn about internet advertisers tracking my shopping and browsing habits. As an advertising professional, I think Ad Tracking is a wonderful thing. The advertiser can learn so much about the shopper, their habits and help them find products that fit their needs.

Internet Advertising is one of the fastest growing advertising opportunities today and technology is changing rapidly. I will be curious to see if ad tracking is something that stays or goes as time moves on. For now, I am heading to Zappos so that cute pair of Cole Haan shoes can follow me around for a few weeks.

To learn more about the FTC’s proposal please visit Ad Age.

Augmented Reality Continues to Gain Popularity

The most recent wave of Augmented Reality (AR) applications has provided some of the most impressive and innovative uses of this technology to date – and is sparking greater conversation about the unlimited potential AR has to promote products, educate consumers and even create advertising revenue.

In Business Week’s recent article, Augmented Reality Helps Sell the Product, several examples are cited ranging from a Cheez Doodle band targeted to tweens to an application launched on Facebook to promote Kia Motors.

Home Depot jumped into the world of Augmented Reality this holiday season by launching the first interactive gift card. The card allows the recipient to browse featured products, build a shopping list and ultimately redeem the card online.

The most innovative and high-profile use to date is the December issue of Esquire magazine.  The experience begins with the cover as Robert Downey, Jr. leaps to life on your screen to promote everything from the contents in the issue to his soon-to-be-released film “Sherlock Holmes” – including a clip from the movie. The issue contains several other AR symbols allowing you to interact with a Lexus Car ad, listen to music, look at photos and watch actress Gillian Jacobs tell a joke.

This issue creatively does something that has never been done before – seamlessly launch the print world into an enhanced interactive experience.  It shows the possibility of these two mediums accenting each other in a way never before imagined and captivates the reader in a one-on-one brand focused experience that is both entertaining and memorable.

Click the links below to read more and to visit Esquire’s AR site where you can download the player and experience the magazine first hand.

Godin’s Brands in Public idea hits a snag

Picture 38The launch of Seth Godin’s “Brands in Public” service through Squidoo last week has created quite a bit of conversation.

Brands in Public describes itself as the ultimate (unofficial) web dashboard featuring everything you need to know about what people online are saying about a brand – then encourages you to add your own comments for “debate” and join the conversation through “shout out” forums.

It’s actually a really fascinating site.  Brands in Public even proactively set up more than 200 brands just for the launch of the project.  But they did make a couple of mistakes.  First, they failed to ask the brands for their permission.  Second, they told the brands in order to maintain control of their dashboard they would have to pay $400 per month for the service.

While companies obviously recognize the importance of monitoring online conversations about their brand, turns out they don’t really want to make it quite so easy for the rest of us to read up on them in such a concise “unofficial” manner – and be required to pay for it.

Godin has quickly back peddled and agreed to remove the brands that were created without permission but will maintain the website as an opt-in.  Several high-profile brands remain active on the site including Wal-Mart, Starbucks, Coca-Cola and Ford Motor Company.  Visit Brands in Public to read more or to start a brand profile.  Visit Seth’s blog to read his apology.

(EDITORS NOTE:  The site pages for Wal-Mart, Starbucks, Coca-Cola and Ford Motor Company have all been removed since the original posting of this story.  The following links still remain as of 9/28/09 – Home Depot, Allstate, Molson and Mini Cooper.

Click here to visit Brands in Public