The Organic Marketer


Special Olympics Targets “SM” in New Campaign

Ads were designed by BBDO New York to challenge the public with language meant to be controversial. Slurs against ethnic groups points out how language can be harmful to all groups, including those with intellectual disabilities.

Ads were designed by BBDO New York to challenge the public with language meant to be controversial. Slurs against ethnic groups points out how language can be harmful to all groups, including those with intellectual disabilities.

This past March 31st was a significant day for the Special Olympics, not only as the launch of their national campaign, “Spread the Word to End the Word,” but also in the way they’ve embraced social media to inform the public, attract and retain supporters and spur on advocates to spread the word (the right one, that is!) and gain even more followers.

For those don’t know what “the word” refers to, it’s “retard,” the demeaning slang that refers to those afflicted that we now tend to term being mentally challenged or with intellectual disabilities.

The Special Olympics has been battling aggressively since last August when the movie, “Tropic Thunder,” caused controversy with its comedic use of the word. President Obama didn’t help matters when, on a recent appearance on Jay Leno’s TV show, he inadvertently brought the issue to light by stating that his poor bowling skills were “like the Special Olympics or something.”

According to a recent Chicago Tribune story, recent efforts to quash this term stemmed from a youth summit held at the Special Olympics Winter Games in Idaho this past February. Kirsten Seckler, spokeswoman for Special Olympics, said the idea for the “spread the word to end the word” campaign was wholly the work of kids — with disabilities and without — who were at the games.

Since then, BBDO New York has done excellent pro bono work to establish the campaign’s messaging and provide creative direction. Andrew Robertson, president and chief executive at BBDO Worldwide, has been on the board of the Special Olympics for five years. According to Robertson, the campaign was targeted to older teenagers in high school and early college and devised to be provocative enough to “jolt them into thinking, or rethinking, how hurtful the use of the word is.”

While the Special Olympics has used the traditional promotional methods you might expect, such as print ads (mostly targeting high school- and college-aged students), t-shirts, buttons and stickers, the most intriguing — and undeniably effective — efforts have come from the use of online social marketing and viral distribution strategies.

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Who’s Stealing (or Stole) Your Brand?

Came across a neat little web site this evening, namechk.com. Actually, I was invited on Facebook to become a Fan of the Facebook Page for namechk. So, being the curious type (and wondering why 55 others before me found this web site to be intriguing enough to become Fans), I checked (!) it out and was delighted to see a web site that would allow me to automatically see if my selected “name” (think: brand) was available on the ever-growing list of social networking and media web sites.

Periodic visits to namechk.com can help you to know where you might have some exposure problems with your brand names.

Periodic visits to namechk.com can help you to know where you might have some exposure problems with your brand names.

Now, when it comes to personal branding, I tend to be from the school that says if your name is simple enough to remember, why mess with a good thing and try to come up with some clever marque. Hey, it worked for Ben and Jerry.

So, a simple search of my nom préfère, “jimtome,” came up with a bewildering number of web sites where this name is still untaken. Which begs the question, what are you doing about protecting your brand online?

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Why Copywriters are Worth More Than the Creative Director

Ah, that Seth Godin. While I don’t always agree with him (his recent blog about corporate brands invading social media like Twitter and Facebook seems misinformed — I’ve seen excellent results using these channels with some of my clients), he did have one posting about the value of smart marketing, or rather, copywriting.

He was correct to say that most advertising messages (in this case, a banner outside a new coffee house proclaiming, “Unlike Any Coffee You’ve Ever Tasted Before”) seems to be clumsily obvious and redundant (I love his questioning of the leading capitals for each word!). His elegant analysis and breakdown of the headline into the much more effective “FREE TASTE TEST Are we better than Starbucks?” is a statement about how visual layout and typography can’t make up for a lame message.

The lesson to be learned? As a client, look forward to the visual concepts, but realize that lowly Microsoft Word document forwarded from your agency’s copywriter is the most critical e-mail you should pay attention to.

Last Rites for Web 2.0? Quite the Contrary.

I read an interesting article this morning that was based on an interview with Clark Kokich, CEO of Razorfish, what might best be described as a new media integration agency. At the heart of the article was the need for innovation as we travel the path from familiarization and utilization of common Web 2.0 tools to the somewhat nebulous and uncertain world of Web 3.0.

Almost everyone knows at least the components of Web 2.0 — blogs, social networking, etc. — even if they aren’t familiar with the term. Indeed, defining Web 3.0, even according to Wikipedia, is difficult since “the nature of defining Web 3.0 is highly speculative. In general it refers to aspects of the internet which, though potentially possible, are not technically or practically feasible at this time.”

In fact, many have said that while Web 2.0 is a moniker for the activities of the “mass of amateurs,” Web 3.0 refers more to distillation and concentration of expert advice and information, delivered to and accessed by consumers in an as yet, untold and undetermined manner.
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Tracking Twitter Conversations: AnOrangeAmerica.com

Posted in Innovative Strategies by Jim Tome on November 4, 2008
Tags: , , ,

Ironically, I just picked this up on a Twitter feed. Its a web site that tracks Twitter hits of terms related to Obama vs. McCain. It seems to be a continually, dynamically-generated web site that shows the number of hits for each candidate based on certain key terms the web site is analyzing.

For instance, a glance right now (and it changes every few seconds, so you may not see the same thing when you look), shows a lot of red (McCain) compared to blue (Obama) for terms like “maverick” and “recession”. Presumably, this means these terms are being used in Twitter conversations relating more to McCain than Obama.

An interesting introspection into American politics through the eyes of the Twitter membership.

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