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Seeing the world in 2D

Tendocom.com QR CodeYou probably have a digital camera in your pocket or your handbag right now.

Seriously, they’re everywhere. Try finding a cell phone without one. And this means we can all see our embarrassing photos of that Friday night float around to all our friends before we’ve hit the warm embrace of our bed that a.m.

But is that all they’re for? Just passive recorders? Hardly. Imagine if your camera phone could tell you something. How about the date of your favorite band’s next gig? Give you discounts on that new DVD? Take you to the website of the company you saw that cool ad for in the subway?

Well that’s the concept behind 2D bar codes. You’ve probably seen them before on a UPS package, and there are several types. But the ones you’ll see most of are QR codes. These little pixelated squares can contain a surprising amount of information. They’ve been huge in Japan for years now, and they’ve spread across Europe over the last two years (most notably in the ad campaign for 28 Weeks Later), but for some reason the United States has been holding out.

Not anymore.

The communications benefits are huge, be it advertising, viral marketing, or even just a neat way to put information on your business card. Almost any phone can read them with free software. That’s up to 230 million people.

So the question isn’t why use it. The question is this: How can you use it, and why aren’t you already?

April 14, 2008 Posted by | Custom Content, Mobile Content, Multimedia, Target Audience | Leave a comment

Too old for MySpace and Facebook?

Let’s just say that I’m north of 30 and south of 50…but does that make me too old to use two of the Web’s largest social networking sites, MySpace and Facebook?

Clearly, it’s the under-20 demographic that fueled the explosion of these sites. Use of Facebook is now ubiquitous on most college campuses. (I read a recent interview where a college student estimated that most of her friends were on Facebook for five hours a day or more!)

In a recent Newsweek article, the Facebook folks (who started allowing non-students to join in September 2006) say these places aren’t just for kids anymore.

“Absolutely yes,” says Facebook’s COO, Owen Van Natta, to the question of whether it will change the world of 30-, 40- and 50-year-olds the way it has on campus. He then amends the question to conform to the company’s new unofficial, and weirdly defensive, motto: it’s not just students. “Facebook did not change college life, but it changed the lives of the early adopters … many of whom were in college. We’re entering a phase where every single day we have more people over 25 entering Facebook than any other demographic. So, absolutely, yes.”

I’ve been on MySpace for a couple of years and just joined Facebook a few months ago. (Unlike MySpace, where front pages can be viewed by all, Facebook is a “walled garden” so you won’t be able to link to my page unless you are also a member.)

So what are the implications of MySpace and Facebook for your business?

As more people join and as students who have used these technologies from a young age join the workforce, this kind of functionality is going to become a baseline expectation, not some fancy “Web 2.0” initiative for your company. Your customers are going to expect to interact with you in the same way that they interact with their friends and contacts on these other social networks.

Is your company ready? ―John Kovacevich, VP, marketing services

October 12, 2007 Posted by | John Kovacevich, Target Audience, Web Content | 2 Comments

Check out what we’re reading

We’ve updated our blog favorites list! See the results in the lower right sidebar. A few of the oldies were goodies enough to keep around, but we’ve also added a lot of fresh voices. To read a brief description of each item, let your mouse icon linger on the name and a label will appear.

It’s always helpful to know what our peers are thinking and saying. Brand Autopsy and the 1-to-1 Blog help keep those branding and marketing ideas churning in our heads. EContent and WebGuild help to maintain our digital technology radars. CopyBlogger and Read/Write Web help keep our writing pencils sharp.

Other blogs are just fun to read. It’s always entertaining to see what dust Jeff Jarvis is kicking up on BuzzMachine or to exercise our creativity muscles on Creative Think.

So, cheers to the mavens and experts out there, taking the time to share their thoughts with the online community. It certainly makes for an enriching online experience and, in many cases, adds to our professional knowledge.

We hope that our Tendo blog provides our readers with some of the benefits that other bloggers give us. So how are we doing? Is there something you’d like to hear about that we haven’t yet discussed? Post a comment and let us know. ―Selena Welz, associate managing editor

September 11, 2007 Posted by | Selena Welz, Target Audience, Web Content | Leave a comment

Marketing the Simpsons

In a clever, highly publicized guerilla marketing campaign for The Simpsons Movie, due out this Friday, 12 7-Eleven convenience stores were converted into Kwik-E-Marts. The stores were unveiled on July 1st in the United States and Canada.

An ABC News article quotes Drew Neisser, CEO of Renegade Marketing Group, praising the promotion: “Among ‘Simpsons’ fans this conversion is sure to enhance their perceptions of 7-Eleven as a cool place to shop. What is really clever about this is the blending of reality and fiction.”

As traditional marketing methods give way to more creative approaches, the fact/fiction blur is happening more and more. It’s also not without precedent, though past gimmicks seem more about capitalizing on a movie’s success rather than promoting it beforehand. I’m thinking about Wonka chocolate bars (courtesy of the 1971 movie) and the more than two dozen locations of the Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., which we can blame on Forrest Gump.

I avoid Bubba Gump, but I admit I’m tempted to check out a Kwik-E-Mart. What’s odd about this is that I’ve never been a Simpsons’ devotee. I laugh when I watch it, but it’s a take-it-or-leave-it show for me. So why am I considering driving 40 miles to Mountain View just to shop at a Kwik-E-Mart? I hadn’t even heard of Krusty-O’s cereal until a few weeks ago. It’s a marketing gimmick, yet I’m intrigued. And apparently I’m not the only one. According to Wikipedia.com, the redesigned 7-Eleven stores are showing a 30 percent increase in profits. The proof is in the pudding—doh!—I mean the donuts.

But here’s the real question: Will the promotion encourage me to see the movie? Probably not. So if I buy a six-pack of Buzz Cola at the Kwik-E-Mart but I don’t see the film, is the promotion still a success? Post a comment and let me know what you think. —Julie Jares, managing editor

July 24, 2007 Posted by | Brand Marketing, Julie Jares, Target Audience | Leave a comment