Wednesday, October 29, 2008


I just learned about an organization called ColaLife through the Springwise newsletter. The founder Simon Berry's goal is to bring medicine to children in Africa using Coca Cola's distribution network. In ColaLife's words:
Our idea is that Coca Cola use their distribution channels (which are amazing in developing countries) to distribute rehydration salts to the people that need them desperately. Maybe by dedicating one compartment in every 10 crates as 'the life saving' compartment?

According to trendwatcher Sarah Nill, the soft drink makers' executives are in talks with Mr. Berry.

I was just reading today that Keller Fay research shows that Coke is the most talked about brand in the US. Maybe being number one comes with certain social responsibilities...

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Buy Halloween Costumes and Give to Charity

I had no idea, but according to Costume Studio, every year Americans spend billions of dollars on Halloween. The costume maker has paired up with MySpace's cause arm, Impact. Along with MySpace Music, Stumble Upon and Invisible Children, they are inviting consumers to buy costumes for the benefit of Ugandan children. In fact, all profits from your purchases will find their way to this war-torn country's children in need. To fill up your shopping cart, go here.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

A Note About Brave New Films on YouTube

I got an email from Simon Owens, who writes the blog Bloggasm and contributes to PBS's MediaShift. He wrote an article about Robert Greenwald, the filmmaker whose company Brave New Films distributes Michael Moore's latest documentary Slacker Uprising

The article and the Brave New Films' YouTube channel are worth checking out. When Simon wrote the article, the channel had almost 20,000 subscribers. About a month later, that number is close to 26,000. Whether you agree with Greenwald and staff's political views or not, that increase in subscribers is worth noting. You can imagine the number of forwards and discussions the Brave New Films' provocative videos created both on the left and right side of the spectrum.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

One Twitter Push, Two Twitter Push for charity:water

On September 3rd, I got an email update from Twitter's Biz Stone, introducing Scott Harrison, the 33 year-old founder of charity:water, a non-profit that raises funds to build wells and bring clean drinking water to people in need. The organization has so far brought successful projectsto life in Africa (Liberia, Central African Republic, Uganda, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi), Latin America (Guatemala) and South East Asia (India and Bangladesh). 

Scott was running a pretty cool fundraising effort, calling all September birthdays (his is the 7th) to donate to the cause and get their friends to do the same. The logic is simple: if you think you pretty much have what you need to get by, you can ask your friends to donate to the campaign instead of getting you things you may or may not use. 

I ran a quick search on Twitter and came across 15 pages of posts from the past 6 months about the charity. Many people announcing their own contributions, encouraging their friends to donate or buzzing about the charity's touching PSA and video announcements

My question is why stop in September? The charity has raised close to $1MM from donations. Its goal is to reach $1.5 million. I am a November baby. My birthday often coincides with Thanksgiving. I am thankful for a lot of things in my life and will ask friends to donate here

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The Russians Are Coming!

Last Tuesday, I was proud to give a presentation on digital word of mouth, at the Russian interactive marketing conference, Be Interactive.  The event was organized by the PRP Group and 360d-- sister companies to the GolinHarris' affiliate Comunica.  Distinguished speakers including Interactive Advertising Bureau's President & CEO Randall Rothenberg,'s founder and CEO Chan Suh, Avenue A/Razorfish's Europe President Darin Brown, AKQA's Director of Strategy Craig Walmsley, entrepreneur and MS Sequel's Digital Business Services Creator Bradley Starr presented their views and best practices in engaging audiences online. 

Besides hearing about the makings of successful campaigns from the West, we also listened to an in-depth presentation by Karl Johannesson, founder and CEO of J'son Partners, a management consultancy with offices in Russia and Central Asia. His speech was an eye opener to the possibilities in the Russian Internet market and its growth potential. 

Johannesson projects that the Russian Internet communications market will be $122 billion by 2012. Here is a look at the factors contributing to this area's increasing growth:
  •  Russia comes third (29 million people) in the number of Internet users in Europe, following the UK and Germany. 
  • There are 280 million Russian speakers around the world; 142 million of them are in Russia. 
  •  10.5 million households will be on broadband by the end of 2008. Yet competition is leading to massive infrastructure development. In 5 years, hundreds of Russian cities will come online with FTTB (fiber to the building), providing citizens with faster Internet access than current technologies. 
  • The average Russian Internet user is spending 1-2 hours/day on social networking sites (mostly accessing from work.)
  • Thirty percent of the Russian Internet audience is playing online games, engaging for 30-40 minutes at a time. 
Johannesson points to growth in home Internet use, advergaming and mobile Internet communications for the near future. Within the next few years, the boom of Russian Internet users on high-speed access will draw many more marketers to the area. Odnoklassniki (Russian version of classmates) and vkontakte (Russian version of facebook) will be followed by new online communication platforms that resonate with local preferences, created by local talent.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Grab The Online Promoter Score Widget

I just got an email from David Rabjohns, the CEO of Motivequest, saying that the company was tracking online buzz about the elections and had developed a micro-site, showing cybercitizens' reactions to the presidential candidates in almost real time.

Motivequest has a metric, coined as the Online Promoter Score, which allows researchers to study the correlation between online advocates' decrees and behavioral outcomes such as sales or votes! David is putting the Online Promoter Score to test, trying to predict the outcome of the election. So far, Obama is ahead. I grabbed the handy widget from the site, which shows the latest score. You can pick it up from here.

David says, if he's wrong, he'll shave his head and post it on YouTube. (His video, not his head.)

"I am so convinced of this metric that if we are wrong, and fail to correctly predict the outcome of the election, I will shave my head on You Tube for your delight. "

I bet you, he won't have to do that.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Tipping Point on Twitter

I try to update my twitter profile regularly, but I am certainly not one of those who publish every minute. I blurb once a week or so. I share my twitter address at the end of presentations. If colleagues find me, I let them follow me, etc. Lately, I started getting requests from folks who are in related fields (or not) who want to connect with me on twitter. Every morning, I find 2-3 updates in my email, informing me that I am followed by folks I've never met before. We don't know each other, but we tell each other if we're bored, running around over the weekend, or frustrated at a baseball game.

I'm thinking, because the universe of twitter is much smaller, it doesn't take that long for an active professional to reach the tipping point. You may not have to wait until 100 followers, 30-40 may just do.