Archive for Marketing

ThingLink Appoints Tech PR Veteran Neil Vineberg as CMO

San Francisco, CA (August 01, 2011) — ThingLink, the provider of in-image interaction tools, today announced that Neil Vineberg, a former executive at leading communications firms Middleberg Euro and Golin/Harris, has been appointed as the company’s chief marketing officer.

Vineberg, whose 20+ year career includes pioneering strategic work for clients across digital music, social media, online communities and technology, will oversee ThingLink’s marketing and PR functions, drive U.S. business development for the Helsinki-based company, and manage soon-to-be opened offices in New York and San Francisco.

“Neil’s vast experience in and out of the tech sphere makes him the ideal person to introduce ThingLink to a wide range of prospective partners and brands across the U.S.,” commented Ulla Engeström, founder and CEO of ThingLink. “He has been associated with some of the most creative work in the business and boasts a strategic track record that speaks for itself.”

Vineberg’s varied consultancy career has seen him take up advisory roles with UNICEF, Procter & Gamble, United Airlines, IBM, Sony, Sprint, MP3.com, and eMusic, while also cultivating a successful career as a renowned contemporary acoustic guitarist and composer. Performing under the name ‘Shambhu’, his debut album ‘Sacred Love’ peaked at #1 on the World Music charts and was named “One of the Best of the Year” by Common Ground magazine.

“By turning images into a platform for rich media, ThingLink is innovating a new paradigm in consumer engagement,” added Vineberg. “I look forward to working with our team and growing community of partners in the U.S. and around the world to drive the growth of this exciting multi-media platform.”

Launched in 2010, ThingLink transforms images into a navigational surface for rich, relevant content that enhances a viewer’s knowledge and experience. The free-to-use application installs seamlessly onto blogs, websites or community pages allowing publishers to maximise the usability of images for story telling, advertising, promotion, sales and retention.

For more information, visit ThingLink.com.

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How to Insert SoundCloud’s Player in ThingLink Tags

Cool video of how to set up a SoundCloud player in ThingLink tags. There’s a post on my music site about ThingLink, an innovative company that I’m working with.

Read music marketing master Michael Brandvold’s post on ThingLink.

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FTC Guidelines on Endorsements and Testimonials

If you’re a blogger getting paid to post, you’re now going to have to disclose it. The social Web is under Federal Trade Commission (FTC) scrutiny. I have worked with several mommy bloggers with very high integrity. A few, however, were running pay for post operations — printing product reviews in exchange for cash — without revealing payments. That is influence gone awry. Now the FTC has put bloggers on notice with a requirement to disclose payments or promotional consideration related to such reviews.

The Federal Trade Commission recently approved final revisions to the guidance it gives to advertisers on how to keep their endorsement and testimonial ads in line with the FTC Act.

The notice incorporates several changes to the FTC’s Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising, which address endorsements by consumers, experts, organizations, and celebrities, as well as the disclosure of important connections between advertisers and endorsers. The Guides were last updated in 1980.

Under the revised Guides, advertisements that feature a consumer and convey his or her experience with a product or service as typical when that is not the case will be required to clearly disclose the results that consumers can generally expect. In contrast to the 1980 version of the Guides – which allowed advertisers to describe unusual results in a testimonial as long as they included a disclaimer such as “results not typical” – the revised Guides no longer contain this safe harbor.

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How Advertising is Being Impacted by Internet, Social Networks, Online Viewing

6a00d8341c50bf53ef011570fa51b7970c-800wiFrom Josh Bernoff at Groundswell:

More changes are coming to the advertising marketplace due to the impact of the Internet, social networks and online viewing.

A recent survey by Forrester speaks to new data from marketers on their expected ad buys with respect to direct mail, television, magazines, outdoor, newspapers, and radio ad buying.

“70% expected the effectiveness of channels like created social media, online video, and mobile marketing to increase. The result is that digital, which will be about 12% of overall advertising spend in 2009, is likely to grow to about 21% in five years. Along the way overall advertising budgets will decline. This is huge.

It means we are all digital marketers now, since digital is at the center of many campaigns anyway. It means media is in trouble, or at least in the middle of a transformation. For example, online video ads, which will be about $870 million this year, will grow to over $3 billion in 2014. What will this do to networks plans to put more of their shows online in places like Hulu. How will it accelerate some newspapers plans to become more and more centered around online?

And it means that social “media”, which will account for $716 million this year between social network campaigns and agency fees, will generate $3 billion in five years. And this doesn’t even count displays ads on social networks (which are in the display ads category.) Of all the parts of digital marketing, social network marketing one is poised for the most explosive growth. Pundits have been declaring the end of mass media and advertising for years now. From my 14 years of experience analyzing this stuff, I’ve learned that things die very slowly, but there are real trends you can see. If you’re in advertising, you’d better learn to speak digital, because that’s the way the world is going.”

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Narada Michael Walden’s Let the Sunshine In: Light Descended

IMG_0247Many of you know through my Tweets and Facebook entries that I attended and have been supporting my friend Narada Michael Walden and his Let the Sunshine In Benefit which took place on Memorial Day evening.

Narada asked me right after his incredible show, “What was the highlight, what was the best part for me?” I was speechless, and I felt somewhat incomplete having failed in a moment to find and express words. The reality is I was overwelmed by the greatness and goodness of the evening. There were so MANY highlights. Now I am ready to attempt to answer that question.

Let the Sunshine In
10+ standing ovations.
The Olympics of Music, with every artist breaking a world record.
Perfect string and horn arrangements as Narada recreated and brought to life so many hits from five decades with the original artists who peformed them.
The house band: has any one stage featured better?
The backup singers: sheer brilliance under Claytoven Richardson’s leadership.
The production: Narada’s impeccable, tasteful and pristine imprint on everything.
The Love: we all felt it coming from Narada’s Sunlit Heart.
Christopher Rodriguez in the house – we send him our love.

Nothing in my life has matched my experience of Let the Sunshine In, the benefit concert staged by the great record producer Narada Michael Walden for Christopher Rodriguez, a young Oakland boy paralyzed by a stray bullet in a senseless and random act of gun violence. It was a night I will always remember and cherish.

Why was it amazing? Simple: Narada is a consummate perfectionist who has realized Music at a very sublime level. He is like a High Priest, a Guru, and it’s no surprise that he has been the force behind more than 50 hit records that have enriched the lives hundreds of millions of people around the world….recorded by the likes of Whitney Houston, Aretha Franklin, Mariah Carey, Barbra Streisand and many others. With three Grammys and an Emmy and recognition as a Top 10 Record Producer of All Time by Billboard Magazine — it is Narada’s spirituality-infused life that makes his work important now and forever.

Narada knows how to make great musicians and great music sound better. He knows how to connect music, spirit and audiences. He knows how to put it all together. And the performance on May 25th was powered by a giant engine:

A 16 piece backup band with the likes of Chuck Leavell, keyboardist with the Rolling Stones, Jim Horn, one of the most influential horn arrangers in pop music, and the great keyboardist Frank Martin, who partnered with Narada on the music that was performed. Two bassists, three guitarists, four keyboardists, two percussionists, six horn players (including my friend Premik Russell Tubbs), and it goes on and on.

Minna Choi’s 60-member Magik*Magik Orchestra backed up the artists with a gorgeous palette of texture and color, and featured exceptional students from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music led by Maestro Michael Morgan, musical director of the Oakland Symphony Orchestra.

And a production team with pros like Merl Saunders Jr., Tim Jahnigen, Vadim Canby and Kimrea who made everything work for the audience and featured artists:

Sting, who sang several of his brilliant songs, including Fields of Gold and joined in a joyous operatic duet with the incomparable mezzo-soprano Frederica von Stade.

Madame von Stade, who performed a breathtaking version of Ave Maria. I loved her beautiful spirit and grace.

The great Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis who performed many Fifth Dimension hits, including Up, Up and Away (a song they wrote), Hair, and One Less Bell to Answer. I grew up influenced by the awesome musicality of the Fifth Dimension so hearing Marilyn and Billy brought back a special magic.

Chris Botti and the incredible violinist Lucia Micarelli surprised us with a duet that touched the Gates of Heaven.

We were graced by the great R&B legend Gerald Alston of the Manhattans who performed Shining Star. And by the contemporary jazz acoustic guitarist Earl Klugh who elevated us to a serene place with his classic performance of Living Inside Your Love.

So many others joined, like Mandolin jazz/bluegrass fusion virtuoso Dave “Dawg” Grisman, singer Lisa Fischer, the incomparable Mary Wilson, and Dale “Satchmo” Powers, who invoked the great Louis Armstrong in a performance of What a Wonderful World. With Narada leading the way, the performers just kept hitting the home runs and the audience was overjoyed and overwhelmed.

And the great Bobby Weir and friends jammed it out and lit up Davies Symphony Hall.

So there were superbly great performances. Why was this a significant event? It all starts with Narada Michael Walden.

We met in 1973. I was an aspiring guitarist and Narada an extraordinary drummer. He joined the path of Guru Sri Chinmoy along with Mahavishnu John McLauglin and learned meditation, and I joined a year later at Narada’s invitation. In those days Narada was washing dishes, giving drum lessons and developing his career. His humble beginnings were short-lived, however. For he soon joined the Mahavishnu Orchestra, met Jeff Beck, recorded with Mahavishnu John McLaughlin and Jeff Beck, launched a solo recording career, launched a production career, and 11 years later, earned a Grammy as Producer of the Year. Along the way he catapulted the careers of Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, relaunched Aretha Franklin’s career, and recorded over 50 hit records for many of the artists who appeared at the concert, including Shanice and Tevin Campbell.

In his life he has collaborated with a who’s who in music because if you’re a really great musician, you probably want to know or work with Narada Michael Walden. Because music always sounds better when Narada is involved.

Narada is aware of Perfection and it’s an intuitive thing. He knows what music can be and should be, and he takes us there. That is a rare place where goodness and greatness meet together with the penultimate peak of musical satisfaction. That’s where Narada lives all the time, which is why so many people like me and the more than 150 people who made this show happen – were deeply grateful to support his work.

So history was made on May 25th in San Francisco at Let the Sunshine In. We were witness to something sublime, soulful, and spiritual. We heard great music and felt Narada ‘s humility, Narada’s love, Narada’s ability to bring Heaven down to earth. And being the giant and generous Soul he is, we all had a chance to participate as performers, as volunteers, and as audience members. We sang Give Peace a Chance and Let the Sunshine In. We were one soulful love fest for sure.

Welcome to the great Song of Love that is Narada’s life. Welcome to the great Spirit who we know as Narada Michael Walden.

We join with Narada in supporting Christopher Rodriguez and the idea that music can inspire youth and should be part of their lives.

And we celebrate the great work of the Narada Michael Walden Foundation. I say, “Rock on!”

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Remember When Obama Lost Stride the First Time?

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Remember last summer when Obama headed off to meet European leaders and drew huge, adoring crowds in the hundreds of thousands, and the media covered his travels as if he was ALREADY President? In contrast at the time, John McCain looked irrelevant.

McCain’s new campaign manager, Steve Schmidt, countered with a new playbook and TV ads that sought to attack Obama as nothing more than a ‘celebrity,’ as ‘uppity,’ as the ‘Messiah’ and they started to make the election about Obama. Remember those startling and entertaining TV commercials that compared Obama to Paris Hilton? Welcome to the Republican playbook 101. Trash. It took the public several weeks to realize that the Republicans were all mind-games and no substance. Because there were few policy solutions in the Republican play book. Only criticism of Obama for being popular combined with stale, failed ideas – like tax cuts for business. What Schmidt succeeded in doing was throwing off Obama’s game. Maybe it was just the law of physics – a pendulum swing…what goes up must come down.

The same pattern is happening now with the Stimulus Bill. The Republicans are in their first joust with the White House. In response to Obama’s olive branch approach to Congress – meetings at Congress, meetings at the White House, etc. – the Republican minority decided to play hardball (thanks Chris Matthews) and demonstrate the power of the minority at a time when bi-partisanship is needed.

Rather than joining on a Stimulus Bill to create jobs, the Republicans are stonewalling, focusing on the less than 1% of the proposed bill they consider to be unrelated to job creation, and voting no as a bloc. It’s a good PR stunt when every day we are losing jobs and people are suffering. While this bill is far from perfect, Obama feels we simply need to put $800 billion dollars into the system to get things moving. And I honestly have no proof it will work – nobody does. This is take your best shot. But, we elected Obama to take the shot.

While it appears the Republicans have taken control of the debate on the Stimulus Bill and put the President on the defensive, this will turn in Obama’s favor because the Republicans have shown themselves to be sad losers, and somewhat vindictive in their approach to the American people. They will seek to deny the American public a powerful economic engine for growth – one that will put people back to work – for politics sake. And by playing terrible tactics, they will continue in their free fall as a party.

Look, Obama is a fierce competitor who may appear to lose now and again, but don’t count on it. He starts out kind and if you want to play nice, he will play nice. If you diss him, he will outlast you, out-think you and never give up.

A majority of American have entrusted national leadership to Obama and the Democratic majority and the Republicans should play nice.

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Did Coca-Cola Invent Santa Claus?

lg_santa_19311Did Coca-Cola invent the image of the modern-day Santa Claus – a white haired man in red clothes who delivers holiday gifts to kids? Not exactly. But they popularized Santa and ingrained into our mindsets that very image.

Here’s some history, thanks to the the St. Nicholas Center.

1804 — John Pintard, influential patriot and antiquarian, who founded the New York Historical Society in 1804, promoted St. Nicholas as patron saint of both society and city.

1809 — Washington Irving joined the society and on St. Nicholas Day that year he published the satirical fiction, Knickerbocker’s History of New York, with numerous references to a jolly St. Nicholas character. This was not a saintly bishop, rather an elfin Dutch burgher with a clay pipe. These delightful flights of imagination are the origin of the New Amsterdam St. Nicholas legends: that the first Dutch emigrant ship had a figurehead of St. Nicholas; that St. Nicholas Day was observed in the colony; that the first church was dedicated to him; and that St. Nicholas comes down chimneys to bring gifts.

Irving’s work was regarded as the “first notable work of imagination in the New World.”
The New York Historical Society held its first St. Nicholas anniversary dinner on December 6, 1810. John Pintard commissioned artist Alexander Anderson to create the first American image of Nicholas for the occasion. Nicholas was shown in a gift-giving role with children’s treats in stockings hanging at a fireplace. The accompanying poem ends, “Saint Nicholas, my dear good friend! To serve you ever was my end, If you will, now, me something give, I’ll serve you ever while I live.”

The jolly elf image received a big boost in 1823, from a poem destined to become immensely popular, “A Visit from St. Nicholas,” now better known as “The Night Before Christmas.”

1931 – Coca-Cola started to use Santa in a ‘good-feeling’ marketing campaign. So, in fact, Coke mainstreamed the idea of Santa Claus and laid the foundations of the giant gift-buying extravaganza it is today. I would image all kinds of marketers had the same idea as Coke.

Well, even though it was/is a marketing play, still it’s fun. So have a very Merry XMAS. And spend lots of money. Retailers need your support.

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