OCD Awareness in One Second (over and over again)

For some people, the smallest actions and thoughts can turn into ruinous obsessions. While we all have our quirks and pet peeves, individuals suffering from Obsessive-Complusive Disorder suffer from paralyzing fixations and equally tremendous amounts of anxiety. OCD is chronic, long-term, life-altering, and extremely misunderstood.

How often have we jokingly referred to someone’s methodical, seemingly excessive approaches to situations as OCD? Your friend who can’t stand to have even a shred of paper lying on the floor. That person who cringes when a teacher only half erases something from the whiteboard, leaving behind a few lines of marker (I’ve known a surprisingly large amount of people who are extrememelly bothered by this). Or the one who organizes their neatly folded socks by color.

We jokingly laugh at our friends little quirks and habits, throwing around the term OCD as if it were as inconsequential as the common cold.

Now think of those who really suffer from OCD: The fear of the stove being left on keeping you all night as you run downstairs every 5 minutes to check. The need to wash your hands over and over, until you’ve rubbed your skin raw. Your thoughts constantly preoccupied with sounds, noises, and counting, making everyday life impossible.

To bring awareness to this devastating disease, a brilliant 1-second advertisement has been created to give us all a piece of our own medicine. Created for the OCD foundation, the commercial is no more than a brief message written on a blue background.However, the key to this (incredibly) short video is that, in the 1-second it runs, the viewer is unable to read the complete message. A viewer is required to hit play again, and again (and again and again and again…and maybe even again…) in order to find out what it says. The obsessive pressing of the play button acts to help place you in the shoes of an individual suffering from OCD. For some of these people, pressing the button once wouldn’t be sufficient, even if they had enough time to read the message thoroughly.

The individuals behind this ad, as well as the exact motivation for its creation besides to raise awareness remains unknown. The rumor is that McCann Erickson of Israel has created it, possibly as an entry for the Cannes Good Work Contest. Either way, it’s a great message and a great cause. I’ve embedded the video below– how many clicks will you need?

Coca-Cola Brings Happiness to the Highway

It is a universally acknowledged truth that rush hour traffic is absolutely despicable bumper-to-bumper traffic is the worst, and traffic jams are the bane of all drivers’ existence.

Taking this into mind, Coca-Cola decided to live up to their motto and “spread the happiness” to a situation teeming with displeasure.

To promote their new, smaller sized Coke Minis, Coca-Cola transformed a highway in Bogotá, Colombia into an outdoor theater. Models were hired to hand out typical movie theater refreshments– popcorn, nachos, and of course the new Coke Minis– to the lucky drivers stuck in traffic.

A screen was erected to show a film, synced with a radio station for the accompanying soundtrack, giving drivers the full movie theater experience.

It seems foreign to see so many smiling faces in bumper-to-bumper traffic, but it’s certainly attention-grabbing. In fact, this is probably the only example where drivers weren’t in a rush for the traffic to start moving again.

Check out the video below to see how Coke “spread the happiness” in an unlikely situation:

ECG PR: Some Mandatory Boasting

Yesterday was the culmination of our semester long PR campaign for the East Coast Greenway (see previous post). We held an event called Mother’s Day on the Greenway, celebrating families everywhere and encouraging them to get out, spend some time together, and take a walk/ride on the ECG. I was happy with the event, mainly because people seemed to be thoroughly enjoying it. My group and I worked very hard to put everything together and couldn’t have done it without the help of the ECG Alliance.
To top it all off, we got some great media coverage. Not only did we get great support and coverage pre-event, thanks to email listings, community calendars, and local papers, but we also managed to make it onto the news.
WPRI Fox Providence news showed up and did a 45 second slot on our event. Group member Samantha Eckel did a great job handling an interview and we’re all very proud of how it turned out. So, for the sake of bragging, I’ve embedded the video into this post. I couldn’t be more proud of our group and the work we did for, and leading up to, this event. Rarely has a group worked so well together– meshing perfectly by each bringing our own specialties to the table.

For more information about the East Coast Greenway I urge you to check out their website.

Hertz says Hi to Horatio

Let’s face it, car rentals are super cool!

Or at least that’s the message Hertz is trying to get across with their latest campaign. Like so many companies before them, Hertz has decided to introduce a mascot in an attempt to spice up their image. Said mascot is named Horatio (see below) and is voiced by Owen Wilson, right on the eve of the release of Wilson’s big movie, Cars 2 (convenient timing). While getting a big name celebrity to help out is pretty awesome, the mascot itself seems a bit one-dimensional and lackluster. Then again, perhaps judgment shouldn’t be passed until we see the little guy in action.

Further adding to the campaigns intrigue is Tucker Gates, the man Hertz has gotten to direct these above mentioned commercials. While his name isn’t household knowledge, the shows on which he has worked certainly are: The Office, Parks and Recreation, and Weeds.

Working with DDB of the Omnicom Group and the digital agency G2 Worldwide, the campaign is estimated at costing over $10 million! Catherine East, account director of DDB, explains the campaigns ultimate objectives as helping to refresh the Hertz image and “help us re-establish ourselves as a cultural brand.”

The target public for this campaign is defined as “20-something-year-olds,” an interesting choice and always a tricky market. While most car companies rent to those only 25 and older, Hertz has recently instituted a policy allowing for those as young as 20-years-old to rent for additional fees.

In association with Horatio, Hertz is introducing two live characters, Brake and Gas, who will also appear in a series of funny tv spots. For more information on both of these extensive campaigns, visit the website or check out the article from The New York Times.

Fun fact: Horatio, the mascot was named after Horatio Nelson Jackson, a physician who was one of the first people to drive a car across the United States.

Lessons Learned: Gotham Inc.

Remember this post? Where I gushed on and on about how neat it was that Denny’s was doing a web series for their social media campaign? I mentioned that DumbDumb, a group started by actors Jason Bateman and Will Arnett, was responsible for the videos. Apparently, however, I failed to dig further and discover the true group responsible for bringing this hilarity to the web.

Then, yesterday, I attended a guest lecturer at our school–an alumni who has made quite a name for himself in the marketing and advertising industry. His name was Peter McGuinness and his company is Gotham Inc., an integrated marketing company. The presentation was spectacular and thought-provoking, and while it’s hard to pinpoint a favorite part, I was especially interested when McGuinness started talking about Gotham’s own work. Lo and behold, they were the masterminds behind the Denny’s campaign.

McGuinness and his group were given the daunting task of completely revitalizing a great American brand that had lost its heat. Focusing on the idea of “openness,” the group enlisted social media, marketing and advertising. The success was evident and the media were enthralled.

For my part, I was bit starstruck when I found out they had been responsible for the “Always Open” videos that I love so much. It took all my willpower to resist shouting out: “I blogged about that!” I managed to resist making a fool out of myself, while taking away a few valuable lessons in the process. Here are some of those lessons:

  • Evolution and innovation are continuous
  • Social media is more than a fad. It is pervasive and powerful– and here to stay.
  • Brands have become democratized: The consumers are in control and companies must work to “earn” their time.
  • The foundation of a successful brand/consumer relationship is reciprocity.
  • When executing a campaign, truth is more important than ever.
  • It’s important to remain curious, personally and professionally. Broaden your perspective and horizon.
  • And finally, when applying to jobs “package yourself in a unique and compelling way.”

While I never got to ask the most burning question on my mind (Is your company’s name a reference to Batman?), the event was certainly valuable. In the end, it got me all the more excited to enter the career world!

Has Sheen’s Ship Sailed?

When a celebrity crashes and burns, hundreds of media outlets across the globe stand to attention. The public can’t get enough of hot messes straight out of Hollywood. Thankfully, Charlie Sheen has decided to provide us with enough fodder to last a lifetime.

I can’t help but comment on the recent ‘tomfoolery’ (his word, not mine). Personally, I’ve never been a fan of Sheen. I believe him to be the real-life embodiment of Lord Licorice from the childhood board game Candyland. Sure, he turned out a reasonably good performance in Wallstreet, but his overall acting ability is sub par. Contrary to Sheen’s own boastful claims, he really is “nothing special.” Or at least, he wasn’t special until he decided to crash and burn with a fervor that would make Lindsey Lohan jealous.

From drugs to spousal abuse to anti-Semitism– Sheen is covering all his bases, leaving no group free from offense. While his public downward spiral began with ranting radio interviews, as of yesterday Sheen has taken to the medium of television, where we get to both hear his gravely voice and look into his sunken eyes. There is no doubt that the man looks unhealthy– he’s lost weight, he face speaks of exhaustion– I found myself wondering if the whole make-up department was out sick. In one interview, Sheen chainsmokes while simultaneously boasting his impressive ability to quit narcotics and alcohol cold turkey, without the help of AA. In fact, Sheen goes on to bash AA– once again, leaving no stone unturned with his offense. Sheen comes across as egotistical, calling himself both a warlock and rock star in two interviews. His cocky gloating only helps to null and void his claim of selflessness in wanting to start back on Two and a Half men. Formerly the highest paid actor in television (2 million an episode!), Sheen insists that his eagerness to start back up at work is motivated by a need to support his family (did you know the man has 5 children? FIVE! That’s five little ones running around with his genes…).

But this post is more than my own personal rant about Charlie Sheen, it’s a recognition of a Public Relations fail.

While I don’t know much (or anything) about Sheen’s publicist or how Sheen himself has been trained to handle these situations, I’m quite sure that the wrong approach is being taken. Suddenly Sheen seems to be on every television station, giving ‘exclusive’ interview after ‘exclusive’ interview. It’s understandable that Team Sheen wants to do some major damage control, but the interviews are doing more harm than good. While his mind-blowingly offensive radio interviews didn’t seem to be enough to convince the Team that Sheen’s interaction with the media should be limited, one would have supposed his first interview would have. Instead, Sheen is being scheduled for more and more face time with television audiences. At each sitting he manages to offend a whole new target audiences while sinking himself deeper and deeper into the pits of career suicide. At this point, it almost seems like Sheen’s publicist is purposely trying to destroy him (perhaps he/she was among the many offended). And yet, do you think a good PR campaign could have saved him? Or possibly still can?

Even before his outrageous radio interviews, it was doubtful Sheen’s career could ever be salvaged. Afterall, the only star to ever reemerge from such a critical situation is the preternatural Robert Downey Jr. RDJ, however, possesses something that Sheen’s interviews prove the TV ‘star’ severely lacks–charisma. Now, for Sheen it is just a matter of a slow descent, with the public delighting in even obnoxious and toxic word he utters. Consider Sheen’s career over.

[Here’s a brilliant idea! How about Emilio Estevez (Charlie Sheen’s half-brother) returns to mainstream acting, or acting at all, and takes over the Sheen’s role on Two and a Half Men. Pull a Spin City kind of move, when Sheen took over for the always charming Michael J Fox. Just saying.]

Great Article about Sheen’s PR Flop: http://www.pamil-visions.net/charlie-sheen/223210/

Fortune 100 and Social Media

During my internship I was assigned to log onto a clients’ twitter page and follow all of the Fortune 500 companies. Our client worked as a business to business counselor, so any connections we could make for her with big name companies were greatly appreciated. And so I set to work, searching company by company according to the list. Needless to say, the process became a bit tedious, but I was interested to discover the number of these large corporations that enlisted the use of social media.

An article from Ragan’s PR Daily has revealed to me further social media trends of the Fortune 100 companies. The information comes from Burson-Marsteller’s social media study released yesterday. So what do you think? Any surprises?

1. Twitter is the most popular social media platform.

77% of companies have a twitter page.

2. Companies are interacting more on Twitter.

67% use “@” to communicate with consumers.

3. Fortune 100 companies have more Twitter followers.

4. More people are talking about companies on Twitter.

5. Facebook use increased by 13 percent.

The number of ‘likes’ have increased 115%.

6. Companies are giving their stakeholders a voice on Facebook.

75% let customers post on their walls; 72% respond to wall comments.

7. The number of YouTube accounts increased.

57% have a YouTube page.

8. More companies are using “all four” social media platforms.

25% have a Twitter, Facebook, Blog, and YouTube page.

9. Asian companies are helping fuel the increase in social media.

10. Companies are embracing the blog.

The average number of blogs per company increased 63%.

 

Communications Degree– Will it get you noticed?

As I went online this morning, my home page opened up with its random articles/stories of the day. Usually the articles are insubstantial– celebrity gossip, new recipes, sports news– but this one caught my attention. The title was: “College degrees that get you noticed.”

Always curious to know my chances of success out in the “real world,” I gave it a click to see if Communications was on the list. And behold– it was!

I’ve included the excerpt because I found it interesting:

Communications Degree
Average Starting Salary: $38,200
Average Mid-Career Salary: $72,200

In tough economic times like these, marketing/communications majors will find themselves competing against English and other liberal arts majors for many of the same jobs. The fact that they have a more specialized, career-focused education can be a plus, says HR expert Kelleher.

“The people who succeed in business all have strong communications skills,” says Kelleher. Knowing how to get a company’s message or product out the door will always be a valuable skill, in good economic times or bad, he says.

Related Careers and Salaries:
Public Relations Specialists: $59,370
Market Research Analysts: $67,500
Advertising and Promotions Managers: $97,670
Marketing Managers: $120,070

HR Tip: “Recent graduates who are able to show how their skills have helped solve business problems, whether as part of a school project or internship, and contributed to a successful campaign will most impress hiring managers,” Good said, “particularly if the examples are relevant to the company they are interviewing with.”

Okay, so it’s just a silly article off of my Yahoo! Homepage, but any news is good news.

What do you think? Will a Communications degree impress the boss?

To see the rest of this article and the other featured degrees, click here.

Will Tumblr get Tossed?

My first thought was that Tumblr must be some distant cousin of Flickr. Social media sites ignoring the use of the letter ‘e’ (still looking for a scientific explanation behind that).  This was more than a year ago, when the site was still getting off its feet and riding on the road of uncertainty. Even after its success, it took me a while to hop on board. Finally, I took the plunge, using my Communications major as a justification signing up for yet another social networking platform. It’s been about a month now, and I must self-consciously admit– I’m hooked.

The Tumblr site to me seems like a more visual, less organized Twitter. While your posts don’t need to be fewer than 140 characters, I personally tend to ignore the longer passages. The greatest benefit is the visual aspect– no need to click away to another page to view pictures and, more importantly, gifs. While my experiences on Tumblr are still relatively limited, I’ve found the community to be littered with positively every imaginable gif known to man. Than again, I say ‘littered’ like  bad thing. In fact, Tumblr has brought out in me the absolute geek and fan-fanatic. Unlike my twitter and blog, where I try to maintain a certain level of professional posts and demeanor, Tumblr has quickly become my guilty pleasure. Not that the material is inappropriate, but it certainly is without educational benefits. Instead, my favorite posts (is that even the correct lingo?) include gifs from my numerous favorite television shows.

But enough about me and my utter television/film nerdiness. Back to my initial point in writing this post. During my own use of Tumblr, I couldn’t help but wonder how often the platform was used at a professional level. I have one friend who uses Tumblr for the local publication she writes for– that seems like a reasonable and intelligent use of the site. However, unlike Twitter or Facebook pages for companies and brands, I feel like Tumblr isn’t nearly as professional. Once again, this is simply my opinion on the matter, one I’ve gained from only a limited introduction to Tumblr.

I decided to look into the overall use of Tumblr, and found a some interesting facts. For instance, it was only in early 2010 that Tumblr really hit its stride. Within 6 months, Tumblr doubled its page views. People were starting to catch on to this new fad, with nearly 25,000 people a day signing up for profiles.

I discovered that some of the most popular professional users of Tumblr are mainstream media. Tumblr was another medium through which they could publicize their stories. Everyday bloggers (like myself) also caught on, enjoying the ease the platform provided for posting pictures as well as words.

While the businesses that use Tumblr come from various fields, there remains a high presence of media outlets and personal bloggers. Especially in comparison to the rise of Twitter use among big name corporations (i.e. Fortune 500 companies), Tumblr remains a more personal and  social platform. That’s not to say that a company wouldn’t have any success with the website. I think one of the more endearing factors about Tumblr is the lax environment and community. For this reason, small- and medium-sized organizations are among the first professional groups to turn to Tumblr.

But what about everyone else? What do they, and you, think the benefits of Tumblr are?

One article I found explained Tumblr’s success as such: “Many attribute it to a thrust for the ‘tweener’ social media site – more content than Twitter, less than a full blog… Many use Tumblr as a simple alternative to WordPress, Blogger, or Typepad with quick blogging, reblogging, and feed integration options that allow for faster, more automated methods of running a blog.”

Right now, I’m hooked on the site, but how long will my interest in my own obscure obsessions last? How many Princess Bride or Sherlock (BBC) gifs can one possible watch before wanting more? Overall, I wonder if Tumblr will survive to become the “next big thing.” This, in many ways, will be dependent upon industrial adoption of the platform. Will companies make profit from this website? Can they use it to their advantage? Will it really make a difference with their consumers?

What do you think? Will it last? Do you use Tumblr? What are the benefits? Negatives?

I would love to hear opinions from more ‘experienced’ users.