First Real-Time Twitter Race?

NASCAR / Coke Zero 400 / Daytona 2013 - Sprint 60/ Real Time Tweet and Leo Burnett enable first real time Twitter integration into Social TV Advertising today announced that Sprint in conjunction with Leo Burnett used’s Social TV Advertising platform, Sync, during TNT’s Wide Open coverage of NASCAR’s Coke Zero 400 in Daytona, Florida to power the world’s first real time Twitter-race during a sponsored segment.

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Guggenheim Social Media Case Study

Visiting the Guggenheim a few times this winter when we were in NYC I was impressed by how they use the space for multi-media presentations, music, film, dance, and other events. There is no space like it. It lends itself to grand presentations (now what Frank Lloyd Wright had in mind, I’m sure).

In June of 2010 the Guggenheim launched the inaugural YouTube Play. A Biennial of Creative Video. This experimental collaboration between YouTube and the world-renowned art museum, presented with HP + Intel, set out to discover and showcase the most exceptional talent from the rapidly growing realm of online video.

Chevron’s Aggressive PR Challenge – ‘buying’ bloggers?

Chevron logoChevron is throwing down the gauntlet – conducting a bare knuckle PR campaign the likes of which we have rarely seen. At stake is a $27 billion judgement in an Ecuadorian court that, if leveled (a decision is expected this year), and if it sticks (it is not clear if an Ecuadorian court can extract payment from an American company with no current operations in its country), would be the largest environmental lawsuit in history.

Such a judgement could severely hamper Chevron and impact its stock. New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo is demanding a full accounting from Chevron (the state, through pension funds, is a shareholder). Dozens of blogs and web sites are devoted to slamming the company and generating a consistent stream of negative news -  including accusing the company of buying off bloggers. Chevron is aggressively fighting back.

Anybody who does not believe that high-profile civil cases are fought as much through PR as they are in the courtroom should study the Chevron case.

The latest flame-up in this story was the May 3, 2009, ’60 Minutes’ segment titled Amazon Crude. Silvia M. Garrigo, Manager, Global Issues and Policy for Chevron, was in the unenviable position of facing the 60 Minutes grilling from Scott Pelley. Garrigo’s performance on ’60 Minutes’ was ridiculed by many anti-Chevron groups although, from my perspective, she is a strong and credible advocate for her client.

Chevron responded to 60 Minutes by hiring former CNN correspondent  Gene Randall to narrate a ‘News” report that tells the story from its Darryl Hannah in Ecuador to highlight damage from environmental disasterperspective. The video, Chevron Texaco Ecuador Lawsuit – Behind the Scenes, is on YouTube and a company web site devoted to the case.

Smack in the middle is a blogger called Zennie62, who, ChevronToxicoclaims, is a paid shill for Chevron. ChevronToxico offers no proof and Zennie Abraham, the blogger, does not confirm or deny payments in his blog posts. He posts prodigiously about the case and seems to have a wealth of information that would only be available to an insider. His blog posts and YouTube videos rank high in Google searches on keywords Chevron, Texaco (acquired by Chevron), and Ecuador.  Daryl Hannah, right, visiting environmental disaster site in Ecuador.

In 2008, Amazon Watch disclosed that Bay Area blogger Pat Murphy was a paid to post pro-Chevron comments on the Ecuador case in his small online newspaper.  Murphy has publicly acknowledged he accepted fees for control of editorial content, according to Amazon Watch.

Chevron’s Garrigo has acknowledged that this is a PR battle. The company claims that it cannot get a fair trial in Ecuador and they seek to sway public opinion in the U.S. if the case is brought here. This is not a ‘cut and dry’ case, despite the entrenched certainty of the opposing forces. There is plenty of villainy to go around. The Ecuadorian government has an atrocious environmental record – the big U.S. oil company is an easy target that reaps enormous political benefit, even if they don’t realize a dime from the lawsuit.

 “Paying so-called independent bloggers to post is just one part of a wide-ranging fraud designed by Chevron to cover up the company’s enormous exposure in Ecuador,” said Prieto. Prieto said Samson, Chevron’s public relations director, has built an “empire” of consultants in the U.S. and Ecuador to put out misleading information about the case.  Chevron’s environmental problems in Ecuador have become the company’s largest worldwide public relations problem. Samson has retained the New York office of the global public relations behemoth Hill & Knowlton — the same firm that represented the tobacco industry for decades– to manage Chevron’s image problems stemming from the Ecuador case. Chevron P.R. Director Donald Samson Behind Secret Payments to Bloggers to Hide Ecuador Liability

Hyper Local Talk #1

How do you get down in the fabric of the local community? How do you influence from the real grassroots, one-to-one? These are questions that rack the brains of marketers these days. The Internet is the great distribution pipe marketers and PR people could only dream about.  But hyper local marketing requires an authentic voice, tangible action that benefits the local community and most dauntingly, it requires time and patience.

Manhattan Times

An example of hyper local marketing that works. I live in Washington Heights on the upper west side of Manhattan.  On the corner of 157th street and Broadway I pick up a free copy of Manhattan Times from the box by the subway station. Washington Heights is predominately Latino with a heavy Dominican concentration, along with a growing minority of professional whites determined to gentrify every square inch of this island. This is heavy duty Hillary Clinton country and Manhattan Times is unabashed in its support of our Junior Senator.  

So in the Manhattan Times I learn about the Bizz&Buzz campaign . It started in 2007 to promote activities in Washington Heights and Inwood.  Says the Manhattan Times site: The campaign includes special events, a regular email blast of upcoming events, and the paper’s weekly “Shhhh!” column, which reminds readers of the business openings, celebrity spottings, and media attention in Northern Manhattan, the city’s best kept secret.

So I get on the weekly Bizz&Buzz email list, which alerts me to Annette A. Aguilar & the StringBeans performing Latin jazz at the Garden Cafe on 207th street and Braodway on Valentine’s eve. I Manhattan Times Bizz&Buzznever heard of the band or the club but I had been sweating to find the right place to take my sweetie on the special day. Bizz&Buzz only has 362 subscribers. If it is confined to two neighborhoods by nature it will not grow too big. But it is the arrow in the bullseyes when it comes to hyper local marketing combining traditional (newspaper) and 2.0 (web and email marketing).

Google goes local.  Type in your city or town name or zip code and you get news results with your local news at the top of the search. Google says that this promotes local news sources but I suspect it also helps them target ads more effectively.  

Richard Prince, the Guggenheim, annoying

Annoying Communication:  You’re in the Guggenheim, digging the permanent collection – all the heavyweights Picasso (some stunners, especially from the early years), Cezanne, Degas, Kandinsky, Rousseau, Rothko, Koons - after doing the marble down the chute bit of the Gugg for the master show on Richard Prince that’s closing in a few days. Richard Prince was a great show for the space, expansive, allowing for a natural upward progression of his development. The cowboys and bikers and nurses the other connected Tribes of Prince’s mind get spaces of their own, along with the enormous quips and cocktail napkin jokes that keep you off balance and keeps the audience (it’s that kind of show) laughing.  You are not contemplating the bust of Homer here, you are singular and invincible, facing the open western spaces with the Marlboro man, conjuring iamges of the highway ticking off highline poles on the road to freedom, the destination that is always someplace else. Read Peter Schjeldahl’s bitchy review in The New Yorker. or Roberta Smith’s kinder and more instructive piece in The New York Times.

Richard Prince Show Closing at Guggenheim

Anyway, I am digging the permanent collection when one of the new “Guides” they have wandering the Gugg comes up to me and says “I see that you are looking at the art.” Considering the smart aleck Prince show fresh in my mind two possible responses popped into my head.

  • Really? Because I am in a museum shuffling around the periphery looking at the objects on the wall. Is that the clue?
  • No, I am actually trying to catch the M86 bus. Is this a stop?

He was persistent, this Guide. He was about half my age. “What is it about this painting that you like?” he asked, trying to prompt a discussion about art. It was his job, he said. “Everything,” I said. Undeterred, he dug deeper. On it went until he got me talking color and composition and all that. It was Cezanne, the beautiful French countryside. “Maybe it is so good because it was painted outdoors,” he said. I could have said, “Really? Imagine painting the outdoors from the outdoors. What innovation! Ah, the French.”

Richard Prince show closing at Guggenheim in New York City