Urban Air

There are only four states in the US that do not allow billboards: Alaska, Hawaii, Maine, and Vermont. What do these states have in common? Natural beauty. As a member of the advertising/marketing community, I wouldn’t deny considering a billboard as an option for OOH, but sometimes I would like to look at trees or mountains and the like instead of “Girls! Girls! Girls!”

Stephen Glassman of Los Angeles came up with an interesting idea that has the support of Summit Media, who volunteered to donate prominent billboards in LA for the first prototype. The idea: create “floating, globally connected urban forests growing where billboards stand.”

Each billboard/eco-system will also be included with a self-sustaining water and lighting system, so once the initial setup is finished, little maintenance is required. Stephen also has experience in participating in large-scale projects in the public realm.

So, if you think this is a good idea and/or live in a major metropolitan area, like Atlanta, LA, Chicago, New York, or Miami, and wouldn’t mind taking a small moment out of your commute home to take a deep breath of “fresh” air, donate $5.00 because I’m curious to see how this plays out.

Find the link to Stephen’s Kickstarter page here. His goal is $100,000 by December 11. As of November 12, they are at $19,288.

@BCulture_Matt

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Would You “Like-A-Hug”?

What’s better than logging into Facebook, to discover that there’s a new message in your inbox, or a dozen friend requests waiting for your approval? Social media has become an integral part of our lives, something that we literally thrive on.  But what would you think if the social media craze turned physical?

A project by designer Melissa Kit Chow, does just this. The “Like-A-Hug” jacket combines Facebook, design and fashion, creating a groundbreaking piece. Let’s say someone likes your recent post about cute cat hats; for every comment or like the jacket inflates, giving the person wearing it a “hug”. Did you just receive a “hug?” With a simple hugging gesture – send the hug back to the person who sent it to you.

Ideas like this take social media communication to the next level. Rather than just reading comments from your loved ones, get hugs that really show their feelings and affection for you. The future of social media and technology is still a mystery but thanks to Chow’s “Like-A-Hug” we know warm hugs and fuzzy things are in store.

@BCulture_CourtB

Bic for Her: Satirical Backlash

 

Remember the Three Wolf Moon T-shirt fad that swept across the Internet a few months ago? It all started with a fictional review on Amazon.com that claimed the shirt had mysterious powers to attract women. The comment was satirical, as many find the shirt ugly. Turns out, it became so popular, the factory producing it had to work overtime to fill all of the orders.

Well, a similar story has developed on Amazon.co.uk’s website in regards to “Bic for Her” pens. Let’s address the issue first. Why does Bic feel the need to make pens for women? Are they ergonomically designed for daintier hands? Have women had trouble writing for some time now and a product has never suited their needs? No. Hence, the backlash.

We’ll see if these reviews affect the company and its sales, but maybe take a step back and see if half of the world’s population may find your grasp for more profits patronizing.

Here’s the US version. Browse some great comments. Here are my top three. Enjoy!

  1. “Oh. My. God. I’ve been doing it all wrong. There was me thinking I didn’t need to worry about whether my writing implement sufficiently reflected my gender. Thank you so much Bic for showing me the error of my ways. Perhaps Bic will also bring out a new range of pink (or purple) feminine spanners, screwdrivers, electric drills and angle grinders so that I can carry out my job as a bicycle mechanic without further embarrassing myself? Luckily my male colleagues have managed to keep their disapproval of my use of their masculine tools to themselves. I’m so ashamed. And re-educated as to my place in society. Thanks again Bic!”
  2. “I bought this pen (in error, evidently) to write my reports of each day’s tree felling activities in my job as a lumberjack. It is no good. It slips from between my calloused, gnarly fingers like a gossamer thread gently descending to earth between two giant redwood trunks.”
  3. “My 17 year old daughter seemed DOOMED to attending a public university, but I bought her a pack of these pens and now she’s been accepted to Yale! Now when she meets a nice young man to marry (the ONLY purpose for a woman to attend college) it’ll be one with an Ivy League degree! Thank you Bic!

 

@BCulture_Matt

 

Police Scanners & Twitter: Makes Sense, Right?

After reading an article about a Venice-based (California) Twitter account that live-tweets crime, accidents, fires, etc., I will admit, my curiosity was piqued.  It turns out there are plenty of accounts playing similar roles. The account mentioned is @Venice311. Over 23,000 tweets, with over 8,000 followers. Here’s a good tweet from yesterday:

In the age of accountability, these live-tweeters are doing some good for the community (list at end of article). They are making the community more aware of the crime in their neighborhood. They are making sure the forces in charge do their job and don’t overdo it – police brutality, etc. And who knows? Maybe some crimes can be prevented or solved this way. Maybe a missing person is a little bit more likely to be found.

The city of Seattle even attempted an experiment in which their Police Department tweeted every one of their 911 calls in one day, in 140 characters, of course. They sent an average of 40 tweets per hour, totaling 478 by day’s end. An interesting social media experiment, especially considering the Department did not inform their followers of what they were doing. Some were worried. And some wanted them to shut up. The gem was a “suspicious person possibly armed with a sword.”

If you feel like getting in on the action, you can download several police scanner apps. I splurged and purchased the $0.99 5-0 Radio Police Scanner. The Lite version is available for free. Pretty fun to listen in – so far, I’ve heard a few accidents, a bomb threat, a loose dog, expired tags, a parking ticket, a burglary, and a fire in metro Atlanta.

  • @Venice311 (Venice/LA)
  • @NYRadio (NYC)
  • @LAPDscanner (LA)
  • @ScannerFeeds (collective)
  • @DFWScanner (Dallas/Ft. Worth)
  • @SeattlePD (Seattle)

BONUS:

@sheboyganscan – As in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, here are some gems from their feed. Follow them for humorous crimes.


@BCulture_Matt

Ben & Jerry’s: Wanna Spoon? Facebook App

Wanna spoon? Through Facebook? How is that possible, you ask? Ok, we admit, it’s not the same snuggly sensation you get with your significant other right before you fall asleep or while you’re watching Top Chef, but still, a pretty cool app idea.

To promote Ben & Jerry’s newest addition their menu – Greek frozen yogurt – Amalgamated and Tool of North America created a Facebook App that pairs you with one of your Facebook friends through a specific algorithm based on mutual likes and/or interests in the hopes that you will accept B&J’s coupon to accompany each other to try this new fro-yo. Isn’t that cute? The outcome of the algorithm is unknown to whom they will recommend, or for what reason. It could be someone you met that one St. Patrick’s Day bar crawl three years ago, your friend’s ex-girlfriend, or that one girl you were trying to flirt with, but you’re engaged now: the epitome of Facebook!

The person who the app chooses will receive a notification posted to their timeline announcing this spoon-partnership to the world. Who knows? Maybe that coupon-date could turn out to be your one true love. You never know…

Big spoon or little spoon?

@BCulture_Matt

6 Tips for Improved Twitter Experience

Twitter is taking the social media world by storm with no signs of slowing down in the future. As flocks of media heads join Twitter daily, staying afloat amidst a sea of tweeters requires more effort. Here are a few tips to help take your account to the next level:

1. Announce to existing networks of your recent transition to Twitter using existing social media platforms. Post a Facebook status making friends aware of your social endeavors and invite them to follow along and join in. Who’s better in supporting your than your existing and loyal connections?

2. Be in the right space, talking to and with the right people. Put yourself in a Twitter space that is well suited to your industry, personal interests, and/or goals. The point is to create and maintain connections with like-minded individuals and groups in hopes of increasing reach and influence. Try to only follow accounts that lead you in the right direction.

3. #Hashtags are key. Know what’s happening with popular and trending hashtags is vital. Use hashtags to join in to top conversations, ultimately increasing your social visibility. Know of an interesting topic that will immediately cause a buzz? Create a hashtag. As more people catch on, more people are introduced to your account.

4. Tweet and retweet everyone. From Fortune 500 CEOs to the next-door neighbor; if the information or statement is legitimate and authentic, share it! Interact with individuals on all levels. Take an active approach and watch your account come alive. Tweeters are more likely to promote your account if they know you will support them in return.

5. Content is king. Keep your audience interested by posting great content, specifically photos. Research shows that tweets have higher rate of activity with an image attached. Refrain from repetitive information and exhausted trends opting for something more original.

Which leads to the final yet most important tip:

6. Be 100% genuine. Profiles are proven to be more attractive when tweets and information are unadulterated. In this social world, it is important to come off as personable and genuine. Robotic jargon comes off as extremely suspicious and will likely cause many to question the validity of you and your account. Refrain from repetitive and exhausted information.

Use these steps to improve your overall Twitter experience and come to really appreciate the site, and the connections that it creates. Being in the right space and speaking to the right people about the right things are the basic elements necessary to building a great account. Stop the endless chatter and unlock your full Twitter potential today. The effort is definitely worth the results.

@BCulture_CourtB