Monday, December 13, 2010

What’s in a name? Problems for Web firms -

My pal Jay Dogopoulos runs a web hosting service here in New Hampshire called Dynamic Internet, Inc. It's also sometimes referred to as, which is a URL that redirects to [Full disclosure: I use them for my e-mail and domain hosting, and they've been a long-time client of BuzzonaBudget PR services.]

There's also a company here in New Hampshire called Dynamic Network Services. [Full disclosure: I met few nice guys from there at the TechWorld after-party.]

Then came Wikileaks.

Then came Dyn's (that's the 2nd company) decision to "pull the plug" on Wikileaks.

Then this:

And this:

And this:

In light of the Wikileaks controversy, Jay took the initiative to clarify any potential confusion between the two companies and issued a press release. (Actually, it's more of a media advisory.) The result was a great overview of the situation written by the incomparable David Brooks for the Nashua Telegraph:

What’s in a name? Problems for Web firms -

The upshot of this release is that any potential negative effect on Dynamic Internet has been preempted. Moreover, a smaller firm has garnered positive press on the heels of a major media story, and the media and the public are better informed.

And yet the confusion continues, in still another way!

And now breaking news, Wikileaks is back up and running:

If Shakespeare were alive today, would he ask, "What's in a domain name?" Wow.

Monday, November 22, 2010

eCoast Enjoys Strong Showing at MITX Awards... Again

Portsmouth has long been an enclave of talented web development shops, but the secret leaks out a little more every year at the MITX Interactive Awards.  Once again this year, Portsmouth shops took home the hardware:

2010 Environmental Consciousness
Project: Bill Nye's Climate Lab
Agency/Creator: Proximity Lab for Chabot Space & Science Center

Congratulations to old friends Evan Karatzas, Mark Samber, Jody LaRue, and everybody else involved in that very cool project. 

2010 Professional Services
Project: New Hampshire Distributors Website
Agency/Creator: Lightfin Studios

Congrats to my pal DJ Haskins for this feather in the cap.

I also note that, while not a Portsmouth firm per se, Timberland Corporation of Hampton is certainly an eCoast firm, and they took home: 

2010 Interactive Marketer of the Year
Project: Timberland
Agency/Creator: Timberland

Portsmouth shops PixelMEDIA and Mad*Pow were also nominated, no small feat in and of itself.  Pixel was nominated for the new Samuel Adams web site.  Mad*Pow teamed with The Atom Group, as they are wont to do, for a project for ESPN Deportes.

And perhaps the most telling validation of Portsmouth's web dev chops, The Atom Group designed the MITX awards site itself!  

Of course, the MITX Awards (or MIMC Awards as I still call them) are the preeminent web development awards in New England, and they have been for 15 years now.  Once again, we have demonstrated that if you're a technology professional, you need not deal with the commute to Boston to find rewarding, gainful employment at a prestigious web shop.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Torn Between Two Hometowns

A recent article in the Portsmouth Herald alerted me to the fact that a young woman from Portsmouth is in the running to be named Maxim magazine's Hometown Hottie of the Year.  This is pretty cool, I thought, so I decided to head over to and check her out... for research purposes.... to make sure she represents my town in a positive manner, you understand. 

Turns out her name is Kaitlynn Carter, she's 22, and she's a UNH grad to boot!  (Go Cats!)  She's hot, she's smart, she's funny, she seems like a "real person," and she really loves Portsmouth.  Check her out and watch her represent for the Port City in a big way: 

Now, if you look at the top 10 finalists, the rest of them are from much bigger "towns" of Miami, Chicago, LA, etc., and most of them are already professional models.  Frankly, I'm not impressed.  So I'm definitely voting for Kaitlynn, right?  Well, not so fast, because there's one more attractive young lady from another area near and dear to my heart... Not my childhood hometown of Brewster, Mass. on Cape Cod, but Harwich, which is the next town over.  This contestant's name is Meredith, and she's pretty spectacular as you can see:

So the question is, whom do I support? 

Kaitlynn is a Steelers fan, while Meredith says "Red Sox, babyyyy."  Nuff ced.

Meredith is a statuesque 5'9" and Kaitlynn is 5'5"... I prefer shorter girls, but this is a wash.   

Meredith reminds me a little of Elle MacPherson (yeow!) while Kaitlynn has a fresh look.

I like Kaitlynn's taste in movies (Inglourious Basterds & Vicky Cristina Barcelona) but not her taste in music (Shania Twain). 

Their homemade videos (not the ones above; their original entry videos) indicate to me that they are both super nice, regular people -- total goofballs, in fact!  They both talk about where they are from more than they talk about themselves.  To see either one of them win would be awesome.  

So what do you think?  Who gets my vote? 

Monday, October 04, 2010

NH Tech Economy Recovering Faster, Leading New England

Good interview here by Fred Kocher, New Hampshire's Business on WMUR-TV.  (Click the link to play; can't find any embedding code.) 

Quotable quote:  Jason Alexander of Alexander Technology Group.  No, a different Jason Alexander, not this Jason Alexander!  Anyway, he's the founder of the eponymously named IT staffing company and he had this to say about the hiring climate in NH these days:

"There's a lot of momentum coming out of this recession.  We're seeing a faster turnaround coming out of this recession as opposed to the previous turnaround from the dot-com bust." 

This quote seemed to flummox Mr. Kocher, who apparently isn't used to hearing such upbeat prognosi.

This was an interview I almost got roped into giving myself, but these guys did a great job in my stead -- and it was a lot shorter drive for them, so... good on them.    

Nice shout-outs for eCoast and TechWorld here, including on-screen graphics.  (Oooooh, fancy!)

Speaking of TechWorld, you get your tickets yet?  Go here and get 'em while the gettin's good.  

BayRing: Customer service as important as technology |

BayRing: Customer service as important as technology |

Good for my old friends at BayRing, getting a little pub for themselves! See you at TechWorld2010 guys!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

New Hampshire hosts thriving tech hub - Mass High Tech Business News

I bylined an article for Mass High Tech about Portsmouth's tech scene and next month's TechWorld 2010 conference. I name-dropped several hot local companies (maybe yours!) and made the case for NH as a high-tech haven. Check it out and LMK how you think we come across.  

New Hampshire hosts thriving tech hub - Mass High Tech Business News

BTW, dig the head shot? Yah, that's me using the self-timer on my camera. Best I can say about it is I got my mug in the frame!  Somebody needs to take a nice, professional shot of my face someday.  Preferably somebody good with Photoshop.  ;-)   

Monday, September 06, 2010

Best Wine Shop in the Seacoast

Was there any doubt?  It's Ceres Street Wine, nestled down between the Oar House and salt piles in downtown Portsmouth.

For nearly 2 decades now, proprietor Dave Campbell has been hooking up locals and tourists alike with great bottles for every occasion.  And yes, if you think the last name and dashing good looks are more than a coincidence, you're right.  I hear this sentence about once a week: "Wait, Dave is your dad?!" 

Taste of the Seacoast magazine took the voters word for it, and I think they/we did a great job finding the best this and the best that of the area.  I quibble with a few of them (Portsmouth Brewery has the "Best Beer Selection?" Really?  They only sell their own beer!) Check out the results for yourself:  How'd your favorite places fare?  Quibbles, complaints, kudos?  Have a glass of wine and see what you think.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Spotlight to Shine on NH High-Tech Firms at TechWorld 2010

Buy Your Tickets Today!
As you may recall, I was interviewed by Michael McCord for the Portsmouth Herald a few weeks ago regarding the eCoast's upcoming TechWorld conference at Pease.  Here's an op-ed piece I've written to help publicize the event; this one's the blogified version, complete with links!

BTW, in preparing this piece, I did some poking around the interwebs and found the Tenants at Pease (TAP) web site; check out all the technology companies on Pease!

I hope they all participate in some way shape or form.  As we tech geeks say, "Be square and be there!"  (Actually I just made that up!  What do you think?  It could catch on, eh?!) 

Spotlight to Shine on NH High-Tech Firms at TechWorld 2010

Gov. John Lynch to Present NH High Tech Council's InfoXchange Awards

By D. Scott Campbell

PORTSMOUTH, NH – Back in the day in Y2K, the eCoast – a special committee of the Greater Portsmouth Chamber of Commerce – hosted TechWorld 2000, an expo of New Hampshire Seacoast technology businesses. Now, exactly 10 years later, TechWorld 2010 will return on October 14 and 15. Simply put, if you're in the area and you're in high-tech, this conference will be the place to be.

TechWorld 2010 marks a time for looking forward to the technologies of tomorrow, and for looking back on the successes of NH-based high-tech businesses. At TechWorld 2000 a decade ago, the Internet was a wild frontier and the emphasis was on start-ups. Now that the dust has settled, Portsmouth-based companies like PixelMedia, Bottomline Technologies, BayRing Communications, and Newmarket International have proven themselves leaders in their fields and leaders in the community.

In fact, there are scores of as-yet-untold high-tech business success stories all throughout the state. It may come as a surprise to those who think of ski trips, leaf-peeping, and presidential primaries when they think of NH, but fully one-third of the gross state product is high-tech. Large firms like Liberty Mutual, FairPoint Communications, and PCConnection remain among NH's top high-tech employers, but the state's many small and mid-size technology firms represent the state's future of job creation and innovation. TechWorld 2010 is the chance for technology-focused companies of all sizes to promote, recruit, demonstrate, network, and celebrate their successes.

What's else is different 10 years later? TechWorld 2010 marks the first collaboration between eCoast and the New Hampshire High Tech Council (NHHTC). In what is sure to be the highlight of the proceedings, NH Governor John Lynch himself will present the NHHTC's annual InfoXchange Awards. By bridging the Nashua-Manchester tech corridor with Portsmouth's eCoast, expo organizers hope more cooperation and "cross-pollination" will occur across the state. Even better, unlike TechWorld 2000, this conference will span two days, allowing out-of-towners the chance to experience the fine dining and lodging that Portsmouth has to offer.

There will be three separate tracks for conference participants to follow: Technology, Business, and Career Growth. TechWorld 2010 will feature a NH TweetUp, free wi-fi, an after-party reception, and lots of opportunities to see and be seen, so don't wait another 10 years! The call for sponsors and speakers is happening now so reserve your place in the spotlight!

The Details

What: TechWorld 2010
When: October 14 and 15
Where: Celestica Building, 72 Pease Boulevard, Pease International
Tradeport, Portsmouth.  (That's 43.088934, -70.810382 fo you GPS'ers)
Who: Speakers include Gov. John Lynch and DRED Director George Bald.
Tickets: Start at $25. Click here to buy yours now!
Exhibitors: $400 per booth
Sponsorships: From $750.
Deadlines: Early bird prices expire 8/31.
More info:,, @ecoasttech
Contact: Salina McIntire at or 610-5514.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

What I've Been Up to Lately

If you're wondering what I've been up to lately, the Portsmouth Herald sums it up pretty nicely:


Saturday, February 27, 2010

Wi-Fi in Downtown Portsmouth an Oasis in the Storm

My friend Laurie's Facebook status earlier today said: "Thank you eCoast for the wifi hotspot! power still out. not sure for how many more days. long weekend..."

I had meant to check our wi-fi when I was out and about yesterday taking pictures.  Glad to hear it's up, running, and being useful to people.  I can't say I imagined this scenario when we set it up 6 years ago, but with apocalyptic weather becoming the norm nowadays, the case for free public wi-fi just seems to get stronger and stronger.  (Don't forget your public libraries have free Internet access too... Provided they have power, of course.) 

Meanwhile, The Portsmouth Herald's Rachel Forrest, their restaurant correspondent, submitted this piece today:  Wi-Fi lures crowds to coffee shops.  No mention of our free wi-fi, even though it hits BNG, Starbucks, and Popovers.  

Kudos, by the way, to the Portsmouth employees at City Hall.  By sharing juice from the Police Department's generator, they were able to say open on Friday, albeit with minimal emergency lighting, and operate one (1) computer so people (including me) could register their cars on the last day of the month. 

And now, some pictures: 

Sunday, February 21, 2010

SwANH Swallowed by NHHTC


Got a Mass High Tech news alert in my inbox the other day: N.H. High Tech Council merges with Software Association of NH.  (Thanks for the scoop Rodney!)  According to NHHTC president Fred Kocher, the group had 220 members and is now folding in 64 from SwANH.  (I note that SwANH also has 306 members on its LinkedIn group.)

The news of the merger came as no surprise to me; I have actually been expecting something like this for years.  Actually, I was more surprised by the fact that SwANH had been around for 16 years!  And despite what my pal David Brooks thinks, I always thought the SwANH acronym seemed forced at best, so I won't miss the moniker. 

Interestingly, SwANH lives on, albeit as a sub-group of the High Tech Council.  In the MHT article, Kocher says that "creating SwANH as a special interest group would make it the first such sub-category within the council, but it may not be the last."  Frankly, I've always thought that having an eCoast arm (or "SIG") in the NHHTC would make sense.  Whereas SwANH has co-hosted eBrews and such in the past, NHHTC has been and continues to be a very Manchester-Nashua-centric entity and could certainly benefit from some fresh perspectives from the Portsmouth area.  (Just sayin'...)

In any event, I think this merger makes sense and hope it spurs cooperation and growth across the state.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Retrotech Tweet-Up on Thursday

Despite my stubborn resistance to become a Twitterer (or Tweeter? Or Twit?!), I'm really looking forward to this Thursday night's RetroTech Tweet-Up.  Of course, I'm not the only stubborn Yankee around here; I heard there are only 5,000 people on Twitter in all of NH, although try as I might, I can't substantiate that (or any) number.  The "retro-tech" theme is a really neat hook, IMO.  Can't wait to see what people bring in for show-and-tell!  The sponsors look good, the beer at Red Hook is excellent (ESB for me please), and the guest list so far is rockin.'  I'm counting this as a bonus eBrew, so I hope to see you there!

Monday, February 08, 2010

Which Super Bowl Ad Did You Like Best?

Having slept on it, and reviewed some of the reviews this morning, here are my top 3 (and why):

3.  Coca-Cola's Simpsons "Hard Times."

I understand the ad itself wasn't all that great.  But the pairing of these two beloved brands really made me sit up from my chips and dip.  I loved that it was 60 seconds long -- "go big or go home" is never more true than it is for a Super Bowl commercial.  I loved that it teased us for the first 30 seconds, not showing us who the commercial was for.  I loved how it captured the zeitgeist of the current economy -- we want evil moguls like Mr. Burns to go broke like this in real life, *then* we can buy them a Coke!  The tagline "Open Happiness" is pretty lame, but Milhouse saves the day when he bumps his box kite into the bottle and says, "Sorry Coke."  In the blitz of Super Bowl ads, standing out is really the goal, and Coke scores here thanks to the good yellow people of Springfield, USA.   

2.  Dodge Charger "Man's Last Stand"

The Dodge Charger, a retro-inspired muscle car, appeals to its main demographic and the Super Bowl's main audience: Men.  So the ad is a good fit, first.  (Please note that although there are plenty of female football fans, you do not see ads for... ahem... "feminine products" during the Super Bowl... Although I'm sure that is coming, some day.)  The thing I liked best about the Charger ad is how unapologetically masculine it is.  It says, look, I do all this stuff that my wife, or my boss, or society in general says I should do.  So dammit, I want a little something for myself.  Namely, a hot, fast car that sounds like a pissed off T-Rex when I rev it!  While many TV commercials (and TV shows for that matter) depict emasculated men getting kicked figuratively (and all too often, literally) in the balls, this commercial demonstrates that men still have them.  The concept is great, and the execution is great, which is why it makes my top 3. 
1.  FloTV "My Generation"

For some reason, YouTube doesn't seem to have a legit clip of this ad, but I found it on  It aired just after the 2nd quarter ended and before the halftime show started, so I'm afraid many people might have missed it.  Check it out.  **Update** AOL's embed video code sucks, but we're saved because it's finally up on YouTube:

In a word, "wow."  Depicting defining moments in American history in a clip montage starting from the advent of TV, it features The Who, who of course performed the halftime show, and asks simply "Where were you then?"  You know damn well that you remember where you were when you saw these events on TV, from the lunar landing to OJ's white Bronco.  Then it asks, "Where will you be?" because Flo TV is the TV you can carry in your pocket wherever you go.  The product's usability concept is a potential game-changer, and it was perhaps better demonstrated in their other SB ad "Spineless," but this ad is simply art in 1:01.  I could watch it over and over again... And I have.  

For another (and admittedly more expert) opinion, Bob Garfield of Advertising Age rates the ads here. He liked Audi's "Green Police," "Man's Last Stand" Dodge Charger, and FloTV's spot where the guy is stuck shopping for women's clothes.  A very agreeable top 3, although he takes quite a bit of flack in the comments for not even reviewing Google's ad.

USA Today's focus group have the Snickers Betty White/Abe Vigoda #1, which I can see.  Then it's Doritos dog shock collar at #2 followed by Bud Light's house of beer.  They're all amusing enough, I suppose, but they are certainly unspoiled by art or subtlety.  Even worse, I went through and rated the commercials, finding to my horror that I am apparently in Opposite Land... Far too many spots I put at 5 stars got one, and vice versa.

Meanwhile, AOL/Sports Illustrated has the top three as:
  1. E-Trade: Jealous Girlfriend
  2. NFL: Lift Off
  3. Anheuser Busch: Clydesdale Friend
So all this goes to show, unlike the game itself, there was no clear winner.  What do you think?  I know the field wasn't particularly deep this year, but there were a few gems if you watched for them.  Which one was your favorite?  Comment below or on my Facebook page.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Live Blogging the Super Bowl Ads

Snickers with Betty White and Abe Vigoda playing football and getting tackled into the mud?  = Win!

"Holy crap I want a Hyundai" -- The Boy.  "I don't think that's ever been said before."  -- The Mom. 

Tebow ad -- that was it?  That was the big deal?  It was so uncontroversial I almost missed it. 

Boost Mobile - Super Bowl Shuffle redux. - LOLs from the 42 and 31 yr olds. Kids clueless. 

Doritos dog collar - kids laughing.  Melanie "Yawn, we've seen this commercial for a week."

Robin Hood trailer -- Ridley Scott and Russell Crowe?  This aint no Kevin Costner movie.  "I wanna see it!" -- The Boy.

Doritos - "hands off my mom, hands off my doritos."  kids laughing again

Bud Light meteor - yawn

NCIS head slaps getting laughs.

Simpsons commercial... Eventually gives itself away as a Coke ad, much to the delight of the room.  (Interesting take on the zeitgeist with Burns going broke, BTW.)

GoDaddy's yearly tantalizing ad... not so tantalizing.  Danica is Danica, though, so that's good. 

Doritos - Melanie tells me this yet another "user-generated" ad... It's a miracle?  Yes, it's a miracle they've got any money left as this is their 3rd commercial and we're not even out of the first quarter yet.  She also tells me Portsmouth-local filmmaker Lars Trodson submitted one... I'll have to check that out. 

Bud Light - T-Pain - certainly different.  - Fiddle-playing beaver?  That's a win. 

Bridgestone - killer whale "Now that was a bachelor party!"   Pretty good.

BTW, I'm also watching the Wall Street Journal's live blog:

Joe Montana for Skechers Shape-ups... meh.  And I love both Skechers and Joe! - heroic everyman still nervous about buying a car... Great production values... Excellent extension of the long-running ad theme.

Budweiser "bridge out" -- interesting and entertaining, but still not up to what budweiser commercials used to be. "We used to wait for the Budweiser ads."

Mark Sanchez women's heart health ad:  Melanie "Good I guess."

Letterman/Oprah/Leno - LOVE IT! - Giving new meaning to "Casual Fridays."  Outstanding ad. 
Dockers - "I wear no pants!"  OK, what are the odds of two pantless-theme ads running back to back?  Melanie: "I wonder if Dockers is pissed their ad ran right after CareerBuilder's, which was better?" 

Bret Favre in 2020 - Another great Hyundai Sonata ad.  Hyundai has really come to play today. 

Bud Light "Lost" -  Melanie: "That's their best one so far."  "That's not saying much."

Dove Men - "Be comfortable in your own skin" -- Hmm... I think I liked it.  Melanie liked it, too.  But she's not a man.

Dodge Charger - Mans Last Stand.  Can I get a Hell ya?  HELL YA!  Very impressive effort from Dodge.

Teleflora - flowers in a box.  Ummm... What?  Who cares, I'm still buzzin' off that Dodge commercial!

Kiss - Dr. Pepper -  The "little kiss" part makes no sense to me.  But it is Gene Simmons and the gang, so that's good.  I mean, c'mon, it's KISS! 

Punxsutawney Polamalu  -  Got LOL from Melanie.  I don't get it.  And what's with the midget Kiss followed by midget football player?  Did CBS actually put these back to back on purpose, like the no-pants thing?  Weird. 

Flo TV -  That gets a whistle and a wow out of me!  Melanie LOL'd at the spine-removal joke.  "Mmmm lavender." 

Intel - Robot gets insulted by the praise heaped on the new core processor.  Very cute.

Flo TV - My Generation "where were you, where will you be?"  This. Is. Fabulous.  Touchdown!  This is a brilliant ad, tying the half-time performers with a montage of great moments in history.  This beautifully demonstrates the 'value' of the Flo TV, beyond the simple wow-factor of live-TV streaming to your pocket.  Melanie, never one to shy away from hyperbole, says "This is my pick for best commercial EVER, and also best of the Super Bowl."  I don't know about THAT, but it's five stars for sure.  

MetroPCS - Indian call-in show.  LOLs from both of us.  "You will be milked at regular intervals!"

VW Punch Dub -- Fantastic and star-studded!  How does Stevie Wonder do it???

Free Grand Slam Breakfast from Denny's is back!  YAY! -- Chevy Chase and Beverly D'Angelo reprise their roles from National Lampoon's Vacation, with hilarious results.  Special cameo by the Family Truckster, resplendent in wood grain, was a great touch. 

Bridgestone - Sorry, they're just not bringing it this year. 

KGB text service - LOL moment there.  Probably better than the one they were going to run but didn't.

Coca-Cola - Sleepwalking man on safari.  Great production values, but they probably should've quit while they were ahead with the Simpsons ad.

E*Trade - New baby, same great results.  Outstanding as usual.

Census - Snapshot of America - That's a nice tagline for the Census.  Commercial itself was pretty good, too.  Melanie thought it was "confusing but mildly amusing."

Google ad -- I thought it was pretty awesome, Melanie said it wasn't really doing it for her.  I think it is effective in that it simply demonstrates how pervasive and integrated Google is in our lives. 

Kia - Sock Monkey and friends.  Robot doing the robot!  Excellent.

Bud Select 55 - Using ELO song Don't Bring Me Down means that's an automatic win in my book.

Acura ZDX - This one was on earlier, but I didn't comment on it.  Gorgeous French-looking woman watches Acura go by.  This must be the Acura upgrade of the new Honda Crosstour that looks so good.
Vizio Internet Apps - Impressive production.  Love David at the Dentist making a cameo. 

Pop Secret + Emerald.  They said it's awesome + awesome = awesomer.  Uh, where's my does not equal sign on this keyboard???

My worthy counterparts at WSJ are waning.  "I have to admit I’m starting to lose the will to live. One spot is seeming to merge into another at the moment. And I’m looking out for them."  LOL!  Personally I feel better now than I did at the beginning, when I felt I couldn't keep up with the pace.  Now the game has settled in and so have I.

Dante's Inferno - Neat looking video game with awesome fx and Bill Withers layin down the "Ain't No Sunshine." Nice!

Budweiser - Clydesdale makes friends with calf.  Sweet, touching spot with a message "Nothing comes between friends."  Melanie: "FINALLY, Budweiser shows up!  Loved it and made it made me cry a little!" For me, however, I was confused.... didn't they do this ad before?  Maybe last year?  Seemed like deja vu to me, which I guess isn't all bad. 
Honda Crosstour -- Love the car, love the squirrel, but most importantly, I love how it looks so different from everything else.  Very cool, very distinctive animation. 

NCIS -- This baffles me.  Why does CBS feel the need to fill this space, this super valuable TV real estate, promoting their #1 show?  I mean, if I'm not watching NCIS by now (and I'm not) then what is their point?  93 million viewers?  How many more do they need?

Audi Clean Diesel - "Green Police" spoofing Cheap Trick's Dream Police.  Outstanding.  Nice car, too.

Taco Bell -- Charles Barkley does some... thing.  Like a rap, spoken word poem... This is not good. Melanie: "Charles Barkley should stop doing things of any kind."

Doritos - at the gym.  Another bizarre entry.  Got a chuckle out of Melanie but I'm as baffled now as i was 4 Doritos commercials ago.

Bud Light - bookclub.  Guy crashes the gal's bookclub.  I like it.

Hyundai Sonata - "Think about it."  I think a lot of people who had never considered Hyundai before... are. 

E*Trade - This 2nd entry not feeling it so much.  They introduced girl babies earlier... Why not go back to them now and build on it. 

Denny's - screaming chickens making many appearances here toward the end.  We'll allow it.


E*Trade - Babies on a plane.  Very good variation on the theme.  You know these fourth-quarter ad-buyers are sweating it out, hoping for a close game.  And they got one.

I'm going to wrap it up here and wait for the so-called experts to deconstruct some of these ads.

Go here if you want to review and rate the ads.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Crowdsourcing + Cause Marketing = Next Big Thing?

Coke is still it, still the real thing, and still the market leader.  But that pesky Pepsi is really innovating with their marketing lately.  I recently saw the TV ad for the retro Pepsi Throwback product.  You know, the "new" soda that eschews high-fructose corn syrup sweetener for real actual sugar.  Take a look:

The throwback beverage in and of itself is brilliant, given the well-deserved beating HFCS is getting these days.  And although we've seen the retro football theme before (e.g., Gatorade, Coors Light), and despite the fact that Pepsi has already played Dylan's "Forever Young" (with to good effect in other commercials, the ad is effective in its execution.  So bully for Pepsi.  

In fact, the ad above is a perfect fit for next week's Super Bowl, right?

Hold on to your helmet there, sport!  This morning I see Demi Moore (who at 47, looks impossibly good) on MSNBC telling us that Pepsi will not (repeat NOT) be advertising during the Super Bowl.  Instead, PepsiCo, which reportedly dropped $33 mil last year on the big game and had advertised there for the past 23 years, will spend $20 mil on an ongoing philanthropic campaign called Refresh Everything

This, ladies and gents, is another great example in cause marketing.  Why would Pepsi choose to punt on the Super Bowl in favor of cause marketing? 
  • Long-term impact.  In this case, trading a 30-second ad or two for a months-long campaign.
  • Good will.  Any time a big corporation "gives back," it adds to its brand equity.
  • Interactivity.  Allowing customers to vote online engages them and leverages social media.
Of course, Refresh Everything is on Facebook, Twitter, and there's an iPhone app, as is de rigueur. 

Another highly visible example of cause marketing is the Chase Community Giving Project on Facebook, where fans can vote cash (totaling $5 mil) to their favorite charities.  Closer to home here, Irving Oil recently ran its "New England Neighbor" campaign where customers could nominate local non-profits to receive grants.  But let's give credit where credit is due.  Stoneyfield Farms, a New Hampshire company, was doing this back as early as 2004!  They pick three non-profits, then let yogurt-eaters "bid with their lids" on which should win a grant from the delectable diary company.

All these are variations on a theme of crowdsourcing, i.e., letting the collective wisdom of the masses direct your initiatives.

So combine the feel-good philanthropy of cause marketing with Web 2.0-ready "Ask the Audience" style crowdsourcing, and you could have the beginnings of a major sea change in marketing over the long term.

Friday, January 29, 2010

eBrew Garners Proclamation

Special thanks to NH Speaker of the House Terie Norelli, who took me up on my invitation to attend our 11th anniversary eBrew earlier this month.  Even better, she saw fit to honor us with an official proclamation!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Dynamic Internet now offers virtual server hosting

In keeping with the current trend toward virtualization across the IT spectrum, Dynamic Internet of Salem -- my web host of choice -- is now offering virtual server hosting. This could be an attractive (and cost-saving) option for small businesses considering co-location or dedicated hosting. Learn more about virtual private servers on Wikipedia and give James a call for more information and pricing options.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

eBrew - Special 11th Anniversary Edition!

In January 1999, a handful of local tech businesspeople had lunch at the Portsmouth Brewery. There we hatched the idea for a loose organization that would promote technology business development in the Seacoast area. And I thought it would be neat if we could all get together for a beer after work, say once a month, and chat about the rapidly-changing industry that we were helping to shape (i.e., namely, the Internet). Thus, we dubbed the Seacoast the "e-Coast" and our monthly get-together the "e-Brew."

As our 11th anniversary of this occasion occurs tomorrow, it strikes me just how long ago that really was. I always say the Internet moves not in years but in quarters, so like one calendar year equals 7 dog years, one calendar year equals 4 Internet years. So that's 44 years ago! Still not convinced? Then consider the following. At the time of the first eBrew....
  • Bill Clinton was president.
  • Monica Lewinsky, Paula Jones, and Kenneth Starr were household names.
  • Jeanne Shaheen was governor.
  • We used Yahoo! to search for stuff on the web. Or Alta-Vista. Or Lycos. Or even AOL.
  • I was still happily (or so I thought) married. My daughter was 2. My future fiance was 19.
  • Windows 98 sucked.
  • iMacs came in pretty colors. I was still using my Mac Quadra 650; I would buy my graphite special edition iMac that December.
  • I had started at this little company called Visualink Technologies; we made CD-ROMs and web sites.
  • We were scared of Y2K.
  • We were excited about Star Wars Episode 1: the Phantom Menace.
  • My ISP was Ultranet.
  • Modems were loud.
  • Mark McGwire had broken the single-season home-run record and was still a hero.
  • The Dow broke 10,000. And then 11,000. And NASDAQ was starting to go crazy. Everybody was buying stocks!
  • We didn't have to take our shoes off to get onto a plane.
  • The Twin Towers still stood.
Yep, it was a long, long time ago, wasn't it? What do you remember from January 1999? Where were you?

See you upstairs at the Press Room!