Monday, August 25, 2008

Obama Continues To Leverage Digital to Fuel WOM , Reaps Media Dividends

While the BIG news that the traditional political networks and rags were talking about over the weekend was dominated by the Sen. Obama's choice for VP, Sen. Joe Biden, one of the interesting underlying stories is the role that digital continues to play in this election, and specifically by camp Obama. Yes, the blogosphere was all a-Twitter with conspiracy theories that Sen. Obama chose to notify both the media and consumers about his VP choice starting at 3AM on Saturday morning as a last "slap-in-the-face" response to not only NOT picking Clinton, but to her 3AM phone call ad
but as the string of emails (and SMS text messages) above indicates, Obama continues to deftly harness digital in a manner that time and again successfully informs and galvanizes at the grassroots level, and provides a halo effect that hits mainstream media and the masses. This continues to be a master class in the use and power of social communications in a way that will forever change the face of American politics, and takes the Howard Dean 2004 election online initiatives to a new level. Pay attention folks - video, viral, SMS, social networking, email - these tools are all being orchestrated in a grand way, as they continue to not only keep Sen. Obama in the news cycle, but continues the two-way dialogue direct and unfiltered with consumers. The interesting story will come in November and beyond if Sen. Obama wins, and if/how he uses the very tools moving forward that will have played such a critical role in his election.

Monday, August 18, 2008

NBC Universal Launches Gemini Division, First Network Web Series

Today marks the premiere of Gemini Division, a sci-fi web-only series starring indie-flick hottie, Rosario Dawson (Sin City, Clerks II).

This bold move by NBC Universal could very well change the face of original programming as we know it. A recent Advertising Age article claims that this is "perhaps the most significant original programming ever developed by a broadcast network specifically for the web."

According to industry rags, "Gemini" will roll out as a 50-webisode series, with the first two segments premiering today on,, and, and will be featured on several video-on-demand platforms including Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Verizon FiOS, Dish Network, Amazon Unbox, and Microsoft's Xbox Live and Zune. Wow, that's an exhaustive list of partners, not to mention a number of top advertisers who have signed up, including Microsoft, Intel, and UPS.

It'll be interesting to see how this is received by the people who matter the most - the online audience and regular TV viewers. Supposedly, if viewers respond favorably to a given story line or character, the network will also be prepared to shoot ancillary footage and create social media spin-offs. They've apparently already released a series of blogs which you won't know until episode 30 are actually related to the show. Regardless, I for one intend on keeping close tabs on this endeavor, if not for anything else but to get up-close and personal with senorita Rosario.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The PR Industry In Need of Good PR As Usual

Sighhhhh....So I was reading some of the industry trades and blogs before going to work the other day, and came across a post in TechCrunch that has the following title: The PR Roadblock On The Road To Blissful Blogging, written by Michael Arrington. The nature of the article - how PR practitioners and the industry as a whole don't have a clue when it comes to interacting with bloggers or executing a social communications strategy.

I'm absolutely fed-up with the lack of respect that PR gets from both traditional (magazine, newspaper) and new media (bloggers, etc.), but I understand it. It's frustrating that traditional PR agencies don't understand that they can't just "cut and paste" the same tired, traditional tactics as they would for online. And really if you think about it, why would you want to? The beauty of digital PR and social communications management is that one has the ability to engage consumers in a two-way dialogue without the middle-man and generate targeted, qualified eyeballs from consumers who not only give a damn about your message, but will carry the torch - and your message - to their network of friends, readers and loyalists. Unlike traditional PR, digital allows for the ability to tailor your message in a manner that speaks directly to the consumer - not at them.

And unlike traditional PR, where many journo-types both loathe and begrudgingly need Publicists, bloggers (for the most part) are pretty down-to-earth, everyday people who are open and willing to listen to, and post your message - so long as you take the time to actually read their blogs, engage by commenting, etc.

What's my point? None really except to my PR brethren: stop taking shortcuts and do some due-diligence to understand who you're pitching at the end of the day; be forward thinking, be strategic, be engaged and be bold. Take pride in yourself and your profession and challenge those that work for and/or with you to live by the same standards. As for Michael Arrington, I don't necessarily disagree with your pov, as I think you raise a somewhat valid point; but let me ask you a question: where does TechCrunch get most of the information that it posts? Hmmmm...

Monday, August 11, 2008

Bernie Mac - Respect.

Dead from pneumonia at a mere 50, Bernie Mac leaves behind a legacy of great success and unfulfilled promise. We can be grateful for the hits ranging from Def Comedy Jam, and The Original Kings of Comedy tours to most notably the sitcom The Bernie Mac Show.

Isaac Hayes was a bad motha - shut yo mouth!

Respect and prayers go out to the family and friends of the legendary Issac Hayes,the pioneering singer, songwriter and musician whose ode to blaxploitation in "Theme From Shaft" won not only Academy and Grammy awards, but defined a genre and a generation, died Sunday Aug. 10, 2008 at the age of 65.

Hayes was able to redefine himself and captured the following of a whole new generation through the character of Chef on South Park, and though Hayes famously left the show in 2006 due to ripple effects stemming from the South Park episode "Trapped in the Closet" (a funny as hell satire of Tom Cruise and Scientology, of which Hayes was a drone, err, member), perhaps his greatest claim to fame for the newer fans will be his "Chocolate Salty Balls (P.S. I Love You)." Rest in peace Iassac - You were the man.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Stephen King Dips His Bloody Toe into the World of Graphic Video

I used to be a HUGE fan of Stephen King novels back in the day, and though I don't read as many of his novels now, I still both appreciate his writing and have affinity towards the man. Heck, the he paved the way for my rampant imagination to run wild with fright back in the day with such novels as Cujo, The Stand, Pet Cemetary, Firestarter, etc. So it makes me feel somewhat warm and fuzzy to see that unlike many a writer today, Stephen King has not only evolved but has come to embrace New Media.

King brings his previously unpublished short story “N” to life through a series of 25 graphic video episodes. The series tells the story of a psychiatrist who falls victim to the same deadly obsession as his patient.

The cool thing about "N" is that it’s an original comic-style book adaptation specifically developed and produced for viewing on small screens, presented in a highly designed “pan and scan” format, complete with comic book style graphics, an original score, sound effects, and a full cast of voiceovers.

To demonstrate even further just how King gets it, he's made this content portable and accessible by way of allowing us to watch “N.” online, on your mobile phone or download it at iTunes. Pretty cool, and great for King to stretch himself as a writer to embrace "the unknown." Check out the widget below...

Paris Responds To McCain...

Loaded only 21 hours ago on
this video response to Sen. John McCain from Paris Hilton is already amongst the most popular ever on the site, having already been viewed 3.5 million times. This could very well be the rally call for the Grand Old Party (emphases on OLD).
See more funny videos at Funny or Die