Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Friday, December 10, 2010

Top 8 "social media" people with whom I'd like to have a beer and chat

I've been called curmudgeonly. I've been called negative. I've been called snarky. I've been called bitter. Honestly, I'm not. Ok, I'm snarky, but that's mainly in jest. It's my sense of humor, and I won't apologize for that. Sorry. Oh crap, I just ... nevermind.

Anyway, this has been said over and over again by people who have a much bigger Twitter following than I do and who are clearly more important than me because of that. But ... it's true. Social media is not a godsend. It's not special. It's not a magic bullet to help your marketing efforts. In fact, in most uses, it's not even best utilized as a marketing channel. It's a set of tools to communicate in different and (sometimes) interesting ways. It allows people to interact with people, companies, fictitious characters and figments of imagination. Yeah, it can be really awesome or really annoying, but for those of us who are "early adopters" or whose ADD leads themselves to carry on numerous conversations at once, or voyeurs who like to watch peoples lives from afar, or the wallflower who can be bold and outgoing behind the safety of their screen, it brings new and interesting people into our lives.

One thing about social media is that it allows for communication in bite-sized, digestible bits. You might say that it leads to the dumbing down of society, as we trend even further into the soundbite abyss, but as Shakespeare said, "brevity is the soul of wit", and social media channels force brevity (said the guy penning the ridiculously long opening to his list).

Speaking of lists, social media people love lists. They get high traffic, large # of retweets and comments. As such, they are great conversation starters. But that's the point right? Start a conversation? Say what you want about the "list of influencers" or Judy Grundstrom's "Twin Cities Top Ten Titans in Social Media" but it started conversation and led to a real life gathering of people who communicate with each other through tiny windows in the smartphones or computers. As such, good on her. Now, should we really focus on the winners or losers? As someone who lost, I say NO! (I'm really not bitter) Instead, let's talk about what the people did that makes them innovative. Let's talk about how they use these channels to converse with others and provide eye-opening insight, or hell, even just make you laugh or think.

With that ... The list

Let me just start this by saying that nothing irritates me more than people whose opinions and experience and expertise is an inch wide and a mile deep. They're boring. As soon as you reach outside their comfort zone, you've lost the ability to communicate with them.

Who influences me? Who cares? The real question is "Who are the people with whom I like to converse using various social channels (or IRL even)?" They're the Renaissance men and women. I love talking with people who can step outside the box and take a conversation from work to current events to politics to music, theater, movies, art, sports, fashion, beer, food, wine and back to work. These are the people who are truly interesting. These are the people whose opinions are well-established because they are well-versed. These are the people who are wise instead of smart. These are people who learned how to think rather than what to think. More importantly, these are the people who will be around after Facebook and Twitter and all this crap is gone. These are the people with whom you can have a glass of scotch or a pint and a real, old-fashioned, chat. The people on my list (aside from one) I didn't know before social media allowed me to get a glimpse at their personality, style and life. I met them (or want to meet them) because of the way they come across on social media channels. If it's all about conversing and communicating, that should be the goal, right? You should want to seek them out and meet them.

These are the people with whom I have conversed (or even if I haven't conversed with them, I would like to) through social media and I with whom I would like to have a cocktail and a conversation.

@russostrib - The Star Tribune's Minnesota Wild beat writer, Michael Russo, uses Twitter and his blog, Russo's Rants, to bring a special insight and analysis of the NHL, the life of a sports journalist, and has brought together fans across the country. He carries on conversations with other NHL journos, fans, athletes and even lowly bloggers. He has given "life" to a newspaper. Sure, he drives traffic to startribune.com, but his interaction with fans is what sets him apart. He retweets and answers questions, he offers his opinions and allows a typically one-way medium (the newspaper) to become a two-way channel through his interaction.

@jakenyberg - Sometimes a lightning rod, Jake can be seen as brash or even off-putting to some. However, he's opinionated, he is open and honest, he talks about sports, music and pop culture in addition to business. If you don't know, Jake runs a stellar video production company (Three Volts), behind some of the more interesting web-based campaigns you have probably seen. But Jake doesn't talk about that, because for him it's all "doing the business." Nyberg's goal is to make his client's marketing efforts better, not to name drop his client base. As a MIMA board member, he is among the group responsible for making people better at their jobs. Plus, he's a good dude, kind-hearted and talking with him is always enjoyable.

@keithprivette - Keith isn't a "social media professional", but he uses the social channels to bring visibility to causes he supports, he shares articles and information and insights from a business professional outside the marketing world and discusses the ramifications they have on corporate life. He talks about life as a father and husband. He's honestly one of the most positive people I've ever met without being fake, and it can be refreshing. It seems that Keith's goal is to bring people together to talk about life. He's a great conversationalist, though his golf game leaves something to be desired.

@derickson - David Erickson is the director of eStrategy at Tunheim Partners. But that doesn't mean he only talks about emarketing or agency life. David is passionate about the Minnesota Vikings. He even started his own daily email about the Vikings aggregating articles written across the internet and comments culled from Twitter. His @MNVikingsChat discusses all things Vikings, and he passionately discusses the franchise. He also rarely talks about work in specifics, but rather shares insights from his experience and posts information that educates. A smarter client makes for a better relationship and more creative agency experience, right David?

@rstanzel - Ryan Stanzel is the media relations & team services coordinator for the Minnesota Wild, but that's not the only thing he talks about on Twitter. He brings the life of the under-appreciated professional sports franchise employee to the masses. He talks about food. In fact, as much as he talks about his hunt for the best dive restaurant in the country, you fear for his GI system. Ryan converses with fans, journalists, PR folks and isn't afraid to join a conversation that has nothing to do with sports or food. He's also just a really nice guy. One down side to Ryan? He's a Yankees fan.

@mnheadhunter - Paul DeBettignies wants two things: 1) A Gopher Rose Bowl and 2) You to be happily employed. Paul brings his years of experience as a recruiter to the masses, teaching recruiters how to be better at their jobs and teaching job hunters how to get recruiters to notice and hire them. It's thankless, difficult and time-intensive, but it's worth it for Paul. Paul brings people together who seemingly have disparate goals, but whose experiences can work together in harmony, and helps those people learn from each other. But that's just the business side. Paul also is one of the two biggest Minnesota Golden Gopher supporters I know (and he happens to have had seats at TCF Bank Stadium next to the other). From his @Gophers Twitter account, Paul shares his opinions on all things Goldy. From live coverage of football and basketball games to his stories on road trips, Paul bleeds maroon and gold, and isn't afraid to enter into conversation with anyone and everyone on the topic of University of Minnesota athletics, even people from Wisconsin. He's a fantastic person, passionate, helpful and friendly. I am lucky to consider Paul a friend.

@PMac21 - Phil Mackey of 1500ESPN isn't afraid to offer his opinion on the local sports franchises. I may find his liberal use of sabermetrics annoying, but he's consistent with them. He doesn't just talk at you, he talks with you. Sometimes you have to wonder if some of what he says is just to fuel the fire, but he's always open to the discussion and conversation. He's also self-deprecating in regards to his personal life, but that only adds to his appeal as a foil. He seems genuine and honest and real. I'd like to get Phil, Jake Nyberg, Jesse Lund (@twinkietown) and Jon Marthaler (@jmarthaler) in a room, have a few beers and talk for hours.

@michelle_eide - Yeah, I'm naming my wife. Deal with it. She talks about color theory, usability, product management, design, aesthetics, being a new mom (never sugar coating the fears and insecurities as well as not being afraid to boast about Ingrid), television, music, pop culture, English football, news, politics, her lousy husband and life. Sprinkled liberally with snark, sap and self-deprecation, Michelle provides an open window into her life, with no window dressings. Hell, she even went on TV while 8 months pregnant to talk about it. My wife is awesome and I love her.

So that's it. I'm not naming 10. I'm not apologizing for my list. These are the people who came to mind this morning when I thought about the people with whom I'd like to have a beer and conversation. Who are yours? Who are the people who have become your friends in real life thanks to your interactions in social channels? Who do you want to seek out and meet (in a non-creepy way)?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Movember. Or, "Why I look like an idiot"

I wouldn't exactly call me an activist, or even someone who is partial to charities or fundraising. However, there are a few things that bother me enough to the point of taking action. One is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not a fan of breast cancer nor do I not support the millions of women who have fought, or currently are fighting, breast cancer. It's an exceptionally devastating malady, and I feel for all involved.

What does bother me, however, is the marketing of the cause. Slap some pink or a ribbon on something, say that a portion of the proceeds are going to support the Susan J. Komen foundation or something and you're golden. I mean, jesus christ, KFC had pink buckets to raise money for breast cancer. Kentucky Fried effing Chicken. Let that sink in folks, the bastion of health that is fast food fried chicken even cashed in on the pink craze. Never mind that heart disease kills millions more women than breast cancer, after all a pink "Save the Tatas" t-shirt is much more fashionable and hip than one that says "Take the stairs" or "Put down the french fries".

Fantastic marketing. That's all there is to it. The breast cancer awareness groups have done a fantastic job in their cause marketing, and as such I applaud them. Every cause should have all of their needs met. Seriously, they should. However, causes have to fight for each, increasingly sparse, donation dollar. So, I will do my best to make sure that smaller organizations and lesser-known causes are not lost in the cause marketing world.

Men have always been on the outskirts of the cause marketing world. After all, erectile dysfunction meds are covered more readily than bone marrow transplants, insulin or statins. Men are supposed to be virile, indestructible and are supposed to help out the fairer sex in their silly little "causes" while they go to their big, bad jobs and bring home the bacon.

This ridiculously antiquated way of thinking also leads to many health problems inflicting men worldwide. Men are far less likely to see a doctor for a health issue, let alone for a regular yearly examination. They don't want to be seen as weak. They definitely don't talk about their health issues at work, or with their friends or in the locker room at the gym. Add the fact that men really don't want to talk about "sensitive" issues like prostate or testicular cancer, and it gets worse.

Sure, we have spokesmen like Lance Armstrong and Phil Kessel, who proved that testicular cancer can be beaten, can afflict even the most finely-tuned athletes, and can hit at any age, but the stigma is still there.

So, what can I do? Enter Movember.
The Mo, slang for moustache, and November come together each year for Movember.

"Movember challenges men to change their appearance and the face of men’s health by growing a moustache. The rules are simple, start Movember 1st  clean-shaven and then grow a moustache for the entire month.  The moustache becomes the ribbon for men’s health, the means by which awareness and funds are raised for cancers that affect men.  Much like the commitment to run or walk for charity, the men of Movember commit to growing a moustache for 30 days.

The idea for Movember was sparked in 2003 over a few beers in Melbourne, Australia.  The plan was simple – to bring the moustache back as a bit of a joke and do something for men’s health. No money was raised in 2003, but the guys behind the Mo realized the potential a moustache had in generating conversations about men’s health.  Inspired by the women around them and all they had done for breast cancer, the Mo Bros set themselves on a course to create a global men’s health movement.

In 2004 the campaign evolved and focused on raising awareness and funds for the number one cancer affecting men – prostate cancer. 432 Mo Bros joined the movement that year, raising $55,000 for the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia - representing the single largest donation they had ever received.

The Movember moustache has continued to grow year after year, expanding to the US, UK, Canada, New Zealand, Ireland, Spain, South Africa, the Netherlands and Finland.

In 2009, global participation of Mo Bros and Mo Sistas climbed to 255,755, with over one million donors raising $42 Million US equivalent dollars for Movember’s global beneficiary partners.

I ask you to support Movember. Support me. Do it for your fathers, your grandfathers, your husbands, sons and brothers. Do it for the men and women who love us. Prostate and Testicular cancer can strike any man at any age. Check yourself, check your partner, take your health into your own hands.

· 1 in 2 men will be diagnosed with cancer in his lifetime
· 1 in 6 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime

This is a cause that I feel passionately about and I’m asking you to support my efforts by making a donation to support the great work of the Prostate Cancer Foundation and LIVESTRONG.  To help, you can either:

-  Click this link http://us.movember.com/mospace/785214/ and donate online using your credit card or PayPal account
-  Write a check payable to Movember, referencing my name or Registration Number 785214 and mailing it to: Movember, PO Box 2726, Venice, CA 90294-2726

The money raised will help make a tangible difference to the lives of others, through the world’s most promising prostate cancer research and LIVESTRONG’s programs that support young adults and their families battling and surviving cancer.

For more details on how the funds raised from previous campaigns have been used and the impact Movember is having please visit


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Even Dilbert has evolved with the times

Thanks to Scott Adams for discussing the frustrations that many corporate social media practitioners feel. More importantly, thanks to Deluxe Corporation, and all of the people there who support what it is I do on a daily basis. Seriously, I am an incredibly lucky man to work with such forward-thinking people.




Wednesday, August 18, 2010

17th Annual Tom Murphy Memorial Golf Tournament


On Saturday, September 18, join golfers from around the area at the 17th annual Tom Murphy Memorial tournament, held at Theo Wirth golf course in Minneapolis.

Held in memory of Tom Murphy, an avid golfer, whose life ended prematurely due to a commonly experienced mental illness, the tournament supports the work of the Mental Health Association of Minnesota.

The tournament is a four-person scramble, followed by a dinner and silent auction.

As I am in Portland for work on this day, I call upon you, my friends and readers, to fill my place and inundate Tim with golfers. Mental health affects all of us in one way or another. MHAM and agencies like them work to help remove the stigma of mental illness and to alleviate the fears of those affected. Please, help us help our fellow Minnesotans. Thank you.

Golf and Dinner: $100 ($42 tax deductible)
Dinner Only: $30 ($7 tax deductible)
Tournament Sponsorship: $50

11 a.m. - 1 p.m. Tee Times
6 – 7 p.m. Social Hour
7 p.m. Dinner and Prizes


Locations and Directions:

Theodore Wirth Golf Course
1301 Theodore Wirth Parkway
Golden Valley, MN 55422

View Larger Map

Doubletree Hotel
1500 Park Place Blvd.
St. Louis Park, MN 55416

View Larger Map


Registration Form

Name: _________________________

Address: _______________________


State: _________  Zip: __________

Phone: _______________________

Foursome members:

1. ___________________________

2. ___________________________


4. ___________________________

__Please assign me to a foursome
__ Golf & Dinner ($100)
    (Carts extra. Please call the course to reserve.)
__Dinner only ($30)
__Tournament Sponsor ($50)

Return your check (made out to the Mental Health Association of Minnesota) and this form to:
Tim Murphy, 5354 Parkdale Drive, Suite 104, Minneapolis, MN 55416
Email: TMurphyLtd@aol.com
Phone: 952-591-1226 or 612-242-3237
Fax: 952-545-0474

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Toyota's swagger wagon campaign reviewed


The Mommy & Daddy Like and Swagger Wagon campaigns are brilliant uses of web video for a brand trying to change their image or the image of one of their products. If you haven't seen it, you're not necessarily alone, but there are millions who have.

"Toyota teamed with comedy director Jody Hill to create a series of Web videos featuring two self-absorbed parents and the only vehicle that matches their awesomeness, the all new Sienna - the first minivan made with adults' minds in mind."

What is the Swagger Wagon?

Look at the comments both on Facebook and YouTube:

  • toyota for me has always been the most boring company in the entire world (since they dropped the supra) but this ad made me see it in a different way, not that I'd buy a Corolla or anything... Well planned

  • why is this not on tv? this alone would give a big boost to your sales, this is one of the best videos/commercials i have ever seen in my life..........................­.....

  • These are so hilarious! Creatively written and the execution is fabulous! Great job family!!!! (And Toyota!)

  • seriously tho i really hate toyota but they have an epicly awesome marketing company

  • This is seriously the most creative awesome commercial for a minivan! I gotta hand it to toyota, very funny. Love it!

  • Brilliant! You need to put these on national television...

  • As a professional man who grew up in the hood, I am going old school and will give this commercial the "dope" label. A+ to the ad agency who came up with this. They more than earned their money. This should have been a SuperBowl Commercial.

Sure, the grammar of many YouTube and Facebook commenters may lack something, but it's clear that Toyota has found a new avenue through web video. These videos are edgy, self-reflective, irreverent, funny and most importantly sustainable and scalable. The style works right now, taking the lead of newer "mockumentary" TV series' such as The Office and Modern Family. People have become accustomed to living vicariously through the family, and people can see a little of themselves in the characters, which makes the series relatable. It's also set up to be extended as long as there is creative to be written, and with actress Rachael Drummond pregnant in real-life, I would hope Toyota is writing a new storyline around her pregnancy.

The campaign is integrated. You can easily access the Toyota website to Build Your Swagger Wagon and get more information on the vehicle, as well as find other social networks on which the Sienna has a presence, primarily www.youtube.com/sienna & www.facebook.com/sienna. The sentiment around the product on Twitter has also been primarily positive, though mainly about the campaign itself, rather than the vehicle, which was likely the purpose of the campaign. This is clearly a branding campaign rather than one to drive immediate sales. There is no mention of pricing, deals or special programs.

And for those of you asking about the impact of ROI, well as loathe as agencies and companies are to share this info, there is no current information; but for positive brand sentiment, it's killing. Over 2.4 million views to date of the Swagger Wagon music video and thousands of links on Twitter and Facebook, the spread of the new brand for the Sienna is improving.

What do you think, love it, hate it, something else? Let me know.