1 Second Ad = Hours of Free Publicity

1 Second AdAs I’m watching the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, the second guest tonight is the lead actor in a 1 second SuperBowl commercial for Miller High Life. I had heard about this on CNN, Yahoo! News, and a few other news feeds I subscribe to and really haven’t given it much thought until now. 

However, as I’m watching this, I’m starting to realize that this is actually a genius piece of marketing by Saatchi & Saatchi of New York.

Think about it… they may have only bought a one second spot during the Superbowl, but they’re getting a ridiculous amount of publicity… simply because it’s different. 

After all, this guy isn’t on the tonight show because he delivered a brilliant piece of acting in less than a second.  He’s there because the advertising is new, creative, and therefore causing a buzz.

What will be interesting to watch is if this trend will be copied by thousands of other B-list marketing agencies out there.  Will this lead to more 1 second advertising spots for other products?  Will this become another “Got Milk” campaign?

GOD I HOPE NOT. 

To all those out there looking to copy this… a little word of advice.  This only works the first time.

Below is a video compilation of various 1 second ads they tried or will try.

CharityWater.org – Providing Clean Drinking Water to the World (MLK Day 5)

charity:waterWater is one of the basic necessities in life.  However, 1.1 Billion people in the world don’t have access to clean, safe drinking water.  That’s one in six people in this world.

Charity:Water is trying to change that by bringing clean, safe, drinkable water to some of the world’s poorest regions.

A 100% Charity

One of the things I like about this charity is that 100% of the public donations go directly to project costs.  This means that all other business operations, hardware, and manpower comes from corporate donations and volunteers.  Many other charities and organizations will use mostly public donations to pay for operational costs.   That can mean that only 20-50% of public donations will go to the actual project costs.

$20 = 20 years

The donations you give don’t have to be much.  According to their web site, even a modest donation of $20 can provide a person in Africa with clean, safe drinking water for over 20 years!  Now, that’s what I call an investment.

ModestNeeds.org – Helping Break the Cycle of Poverty (MLK Day 4)

modest-needsModest Needs is a unique and award winning charity that helps low-income working families afford short term emergencies like unexpected car repairs, high heating bills, or unexpected doctor visits.

Many working families just above the poverty line are just a simple problem away from going under and being caught in a vicious cycle of dept and increased poverty. 

This type of scenario happens every day, especially in an economy such as we’re in right now; A family, living paycheck to paycheck, finds themselves in a problem.  It could be as simple as an abnormally high heating bill. 

Since the paycheck is just enough to pay for the rent and food on the table, they find themselves having to either borrow… or simply not pay the additional cost for heating.  This then turns a simple problem into a vicious cycle of dept, followed by more dept to pay off the original.

That’s where ModestNeeds.org comes in. 

It provides relief for these types of situations so they can stop this cycle before it happens. 

Tough Times for Everyone

With the current financial times, everyone is feeling the pinch.  Good, hard working people who, under normal circumstances, find themselves laid off at work, or their hours and paychecks reduced by their companies to save costs.  Suddenly they find themselves in a situation they may have never dreamed possible… the need for help.

So, if you’re in a position to give… even a small amount, I ask that you do.

FeedingAmerica.org – America’s Food Bank (MLK Day 3)

feedingamericaWith the current economic issues and rising food costs, the need for food banks has never been more great.  With this in mind, I’m profiling FeedingAmerica.org (formerly Second Harvest) as part three of my Martin Luther King Day of Service Series.

The web site is a centralized location that allows you to donate money, find volunteer opportunities and also find a food bank in your area.

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bestdayfoundation.org – Giving Special Needs Kids a Day at the Beach (MLK Day 2)

bestday_headerAs a kid, one of my favorite past times and best memories came from the beach.  It was always a chance to be in the sun, the surf, and just be wild… just be a kid.  That’s why I’m profiling the BestDayFoundation.org – A non-profit organization that provides kids with special needs a day at the beach to surf, body board, and kayak.

What first drew me to this foundation was the name “Best Day”.  It’s one of those phrases every parent loves to hear and as a father, it really resonates with me. By giving to this foundation, you’ll provide a special needs child and family a chance to experience just that… The Best Day EVER!

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MicroPlace.com – Micro Finance to End Povery (MLK Day 1)

microplace1To start off my contribution to the MLK Day of Service Series, I’d like to profile a non-charity charity called MicroPlace.com.

I first heard of this type of organization while watching a documentary on PBS.  I instantly became interested in this type of organization, because unlike other charities or organizations, “Micro Finance” companies helps people help themselves.

How It Works

MicroPlace is a organization that provides small loans – usually less than $200 – to the working poor across the world.  The recipients then take this money and invest in a small business to help bring themselves out of poverty.

As with any investment there are returns and of course risks.  By making an investment of $20 or more, you’re entitled to a return – up to 3% – on any profits or financing charges applied to the recipients. However, on the opposite side, if the loan goes into default and is not paid back, you will loose your money.

To explain the risks, here’s a small exerpt from their site:

All investments carry some risk.

Historically, 97% of poor people have actually paid back their loans through good and bad economic cycles. This means that the institutions that lend to them can generally pay you back too. And, MicroPlace thoroughly vets these institutions to make sure they meet certain business and regulatory requirements. To date, none of our institutions have ever defaulted on their payments to investors. See microfinance loan safety for more information.

Research, Research, Research

Like all other investment opportunities, it’s good to research your investments before you put down any money. Luckily, MicroPlace provides you with detailed descriptions of the different opportunities available before you make your investment.

The site allows you to search for different investments and provides you with tools to narrow you search; Social Orientation, return on investment, and geographic regions.

Teach a Person to Fish…

Like I said above, I love this type of organization because it encourages people to help themselves.  Like the Chinese Proverb says:

Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day.
Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a Lifetime.

That’s not to say that charities are bad… not in the slightest.  They are needed in this world.  I do however believe that this very creative approach and a more feasable, long term solution to poverty.

Now, you might not retire young by only investing $20, but you will be helping people get out of poverty, all why putting a little extra cash in your own pocket.

Give it a Try… what have you got to loose?

Martin Luther King Jr. – Day of Service

mlk2005_cncs_smallTo coincide with the election of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States, an effort is being made to transform MLK Day into a day of service.

To take part of this program, I’m pledging to create one post per day this week highlighting various charities, organizations, and efforts both within the United States and across the world.

In addition to my blog posts, I’ll also be pushing this across various social applications and profiles I belong to, including Twitter, FaceBook, LinkedIn, delicious.com, myspace, and other profiles.

I encourage you to take part in this transformation and spread the word, serve, or donate to honor this great man.

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Work for Google… Sort-of

Google today announced a new reseller program that allows “qualified” individuals and businesses to resell Google Apps.

What I find interesting about this move, is that it’s one of the first steps Google has taken to move it’s marketing and business outside of the automated route it normally takes with applications like Google Adsense and Adwords.

As I had mentioned in a previous post, Google seems to be working it’s way to becoming a major player in net based operating systems.  Obviously, this can’t be successful without the support of business clients as well as personal accounts.  Since most real business is still handled face to face, this is a natural move.

How it works

The premise is pretty simple… Google will offer the services to qualified resellers at a 20% discount.  This means that the normal charge of $50.00 / account / year would be offered for $40 to resellers.  Then, the resellers simply keep the profits above and beyond the standard charge.

Essentially, Google bills you… then you bill the customer with a markup.

The business opportunity here is interesting, because it’s one of the first offerings for a cloud based application with a business level of service.

I do have to wonder though, if the $10 profit per year, per user would be enough to support a full time job, or if it would just be an add on to an existing business.  I guess we’ll have to see.

Brick and Mortar?

An interesting idea and one that we might see in the near future, are these services being offered in brick and mortar retailers like Best Buy.  It would be interesting to see a nice, clean box with a Google logo on it sitting right next to boxes for Lotus and Microsoft Office.  Or, maybe even a card similar to to the itunes cards you see at the checkout lines at your local Walmart or convenience stores offering yearly subscriptions, or monthly for that matter.

The Curious Case of JPG Magazine

For those of you following the publishing industry and it’s current growing pains (or death throws if you’re on the other side of the fence), you may have heard of the recent demise of JPG Magazine.

What’s interesting about this and makes it worth following, is it provides us with a real-life test case for the problems (and possible solutions) facing the industry today. 

The Industry Problem

JPG Magazine, Issue 19

JPG Magazine, Issue 19

As is painfully obvious to most people born after 1975, getting your news or magazine content from an actual print magazine may be an archaic way of getting your news.  Everything that is in print is currently out of date and old news on the web.

People are quickly moving towards online magazines, blogs, and other digital media outlets for their news and commentary.

Naturally, the advertisers are following in kind.  Steadily moving from Print to the more less expensive, measurable, and profitable online ads.
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The Only Thing We Have to Fear…

You know, I never understood the meaning of “The Only Thing We have To Fear is Fear Itself”. I thought I did, but not until I experienced my first real recession as a professional and as a father. Now I know.

With all this Doom and Gloom around the economy and the current state of world affairs, I came across this paragraph from a president:

“In such a spirit on my part and on yours we face our common difficulties. They concern, thank God, only material things. Values have shrunken to fantastic levels; taxes have risen; our ability to pay has fallen; government of all kinds is faced by serious curtailment of income; the means of exchange are frozen in the currents of trade; the withered leaves of industrial enterprise lie on every side; farmers find no markets for their produce; the savings of many years in thousands of families are gone…”

-Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1932

It’s funny how history sometimes repeats itself.  How the challenges we faced so long ago, seem to be so close to everyone once again.
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Linear Thought – The Parking Lot Manifesto

I often times get my inspiration from the oddest places.  Sometimes it’s watching my kids play… sometimes it’s at work.  And sometimes, it’s  while trying to find a parking spot at the local Walmart during Christmas time.

As I approached the parking lot, only a few days before Christmas, I began to dread the thought of dodging old drivers and young alike.  All vying for the “rock star” position; the parking spot closest to the door.

Living in Northern Minnesota, this is a coveted spot.  Since it can get down well below Zero degrees Fahrenheit on a regular basis… you want to try and keep the exposure to the cold and wind at a minimum.

As I entered the parking lot, I was amazed at how far the lot had stretched out beyond the typical 15 or so cars deep.  As more and more people drove in, the rows just got longer and longer.  Like a icle, drawn out by gravity… clinging to the origin of thawed water.

At this point, I realized something about the pattern.  People seemed to be reserved to the fact parking in the rows – perpendicular to the door – seemed to be the fastest way from their car to the store  After all, common thought is that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line.

With a rather smug and probably arrogant smile on my face, I quickly drove around the perimeter of the parking lot until I reached the side lot (you know, the one typically used by the employees).  Sure, I couldn’t see the door, but it’s actually the shortest distance from my car to the entrance.  Well, at least the shortest distance the least amount of effort finding a spot.

All this aside, it got me thinking… why do people park this way?  Is the herd mentality that ingrained in our thinking that they can’t pull themselves out of this thought process and just look to the side of the building?

Now, you may jest at this… but, it’s actually a microcosm of human behavior.  Look at the recent gas shortages in Georgia and Tennessee.  Yeah, there was a shortage, but it could have been dealt with and manageable if it weren’t for group thought and herd mentality.  Everyone else is buying gas, so I better get there before the rest of them do.  It then turns into a self fulfilling prophesy.  Everyone buys gas for fear of no gas -> Result = No Gas.

Same thing with the parking lot… people see that the lines are getting longer and longer, with more people behind them. So, they pick the closest spot perpendicular to the door… before the guy behind them does.

This is all obviously mental floss, but do me a favor… next time you’re in a parking lot… look to the side of the building.