There was a lot of Milwaukee business news this week. Also check out the link below from @tdefren. The video he posted on his blog titled "Welcome to the Agency World" is hilarious.

Follow me on Twitter for live updates @ladyhero.

Hello, and happy Memorial Day weekend. I hope you are able to get outside enjoy some nice weather before the weekend ends.

PF Chang's lovers check out the last link for a free coupon. Also, be sure to read a great article about tips for making conversations with strangers with graduation parties and weddings upon us they are bound to come in handy.

Follow me on Twitter @ladyhero.

Within the past year I have become a huge fan of watching TV online. It’s a great way to save money (no need for DVR) and for the small price of four to six commercials you can watch most shows without resorting to illegal downloads. Thank you Hulu and ABC.com.

As I’ve been watching copious amounts of TV online I have noticed many different styles of online ads. Some can be very entertaining and informative while others are just plain boring. Most web sites give you 30 seconds to capture an audience that can easily go to the bathroom, grab a snack, or even (dare I say) surf the web during that time. That said, running your standard 30 second spot is not going to cut it.

Here are a few of my personal guidelines for creating online ads for TV shows.

  1. Do not go over 30 seconds.
    It sounds pretty basic, but you would be amazed how many people violate this rule. As soon as that little timer hits zero I am finding out if Chuck Bass will finally tell Blair "I love you." It’s okay to give your audience the option to engage with your ad a bit longer, but by 30 seconds you have to be done talking.

  2. Provide me with valuable content.
    The keyword here is valuable. I am not a robot sitting in front of the TV. I’m online baby, I have options. And if I don’t like what you’re doing I can easily look through my Google Reader while you’re yapping away.

    One of my favorite sponsors has been Florida Orange Juice. Their spots included educational games and quizzes that taught me why orange juice is good for me. Short and quick online games are always an easy win.

  3. Use multiple techniques.
    There are several ways to do this. One online ad for a car company showed their traditional spot in the upper left hand corner while allowing me to learn more about their car on the right hand side of the screen. I actually remember probing around while listening to the ad. Remember, people can be surprisingly good at multi-tasking and chances are they’ll be engaged by at least one of the options you present.

  4. Develop multiple ads.
    If you are the sole advertiser/sponsor for a show, seeing the same thing five or six times in a row gets really annoying. I will never forget the commercial for digital cameras with the quote from F. Scott Fitzgerald and how I came to despise it.

    Nesquik does a decent job of mixing it up. While their ads don’t always entertain me for the full 30 seconds I appreciate how they switch it up. One time I get to play around and make the rabbit dance while another time they show a more formal commercial.

What did I miss? What do you like and dislike about online TV ads? Do you have any guidelines you wish advertisers would follow?

Twitter Links: May 10-16

There were a lot of good stories out last week. Read below for articles about social media, travel, some of the best cookies ever and WolframAlpha (It's like AskJeeves, but better).

Follow me on Twitter @ladyhero.

Last Friday I attended Ragan’s Social Media Unconference in Chicago. For those unfamiliar with an unconference it’s kind of like a big brainstorm session with a couple moderators to keep everyone on topic.

One comment that has stuck with me is, “It is better to engage in one social network and do it really well than to engage in many and do them poorly.” This statement really resonated with me. How often do we join social networks only to forget about them a few months later? How does this help our personal brands and our clients’ brands? Perhaps, more importantly, how does it hurt them?

The one social networking account I have fallen behind on is LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a great professional networking site, but it seems that I (like many people) only use it when I’m looking for a job. I hate to admit that I often only log-in to accept friend requests. Who has time when they are busy Twittering, Facebooking and blogging? Okay, poor excuse.

The truth is a social networking profile is only as good as you make it. Profiles aren’t like a pot roast you can set-up and leave on while you’re away at work. It’s important to keep all of your social networks up-to-date and stay engaged. After all, in the event that you have to look for another job you want your LinkedIn connections to be ready and waiting. You shouldn’t be working on growing your LinkedIn presence after you’ve been laid off. By the time that happens you want your connections to be working for you.

To that end I have decided to take a renewed interest in my LinkedIn profile and become an active member in the community. You know, just in case. I hear it can be good for building your brand too. Which social networking sites have you left on the back burner, and how are you planning to resurrect them?

While you're at it, connect with me on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/in/sarahsoczka.

Twitter Links: May 3-9

Hello, I apologize for not posting yesterday. I had a really busy weekend. Last week I watched a great TED talk from 2004 on authenticity (yes, it's still relevant), learned about Moms Uprising and attended Ragan's Social Media Unconference. Check out the links below.

Follow me on Twitter @ladyhero.


As I write this post I am listening to the entire No Doubt digital audio catalog. That’s right, all six albums. This in and of itself is not worthy of a blog post, but what is worthy is the way I received the music. I didn’t buy each mp3, download the files illegally or even upload individual albums from CD’s. (What are those again?) Instead, I got all this music free for purchasing tickets to a No Doubt concert.

In an e-mail message from nodoubt.com the site stated:


“Thank you for your ticket purchase and for being part of No Doubt’s 2009 Summer Tour! Below are the instructions to follow to receive a free download of the band’s entire digital audio catalog for each ticket you purchased.”

We’ve seen gestures such as this with other bands. Recently, Coldplay announced they are giving copies of their Left Right Left Right Left CD to everyone who attends their “Viva La Vida” summer tour (excluding festivals). The nine-track CD will also be made available May 15 for free download at Coldplay.com. In 2007, Radiohead put their album In Rainbows online and allowed fans to pay what they thought was fair.

It seems musicians and record labels are finally conceding that they simply can’t rely on record sales anymore. (Much like newspapers are starting to recognize that they cannot rely solely on subscriptions.) Fans are simply not willing to spend $15 to $18 on a CD that may only have two good tracks.

Instead the music industry is beginning to move to an experiential business model that focuses more on ticket sales and concert swag than a good and/or service based business model. There are many other industries that have gone through this transformation. Starbucks was one of the first coffee shops that made drinking coffee an experience rather than a service. Hotels and resorts like Treasure Island in Las Vegas have also turned a typically service based business into an experiential one.

In the near future many more businesses will be capitalizing on the idea to provide consumers with an experience. So the next time you’re trying to come up with the “next big idea” for a client; think about how you can help the consumer experience the company. Why would someone pay for your company’s experience over another’s?

A couple weeks ago I was having lunch with one of my PR friends when the conversation turned to social media. My friend confessed that he carefully guards his online identities stating the infamous, “I like to keep my personal life personal.”


While I can certainly appreciate the desire to keep some things out of the public eye, you cannot have a successful online identity without being personal. After all, that’s what social networking is all about.

In reality, meeting people online isn’t much different than meeting them in person. The only change I’ve found is that meeting people online makes us a little bit braver. It’s easier to introduce yourself to someone online. You can comment on their blog, post a message on their wall or send them an @Reply. If they don’t respond there’s no humiliation involved. No awkward silence, no fumbling over words, no patronizing stares.

The trouble comes when the rules we follow in professional settings are broken online. In real life you may not share your college spring break experience with business associates, but you probably wouldn’t be afraid to talk about your latest golf outing, favorite restaurant or summer vacation. There’s a reason why many business deals are made on the golf course.

It’s all about personal connections. As much as the internet has “isolated” us it is still important to connect with people. Sometimes it’s not possible to meet face to face. Instead we settle for reading their Twitter streams, blogs or cataloging their hobbies on Facebook. In the end, we want to be able to look that person in the eye (or at least their profile) and know that we’ll get along. Know that we have some things in common outside the business world.

Consequently, the idea of separating your personal life from your professional life online is no smarter than doing so in real life. There are some things that would be smarter not to share online (discriminating photos, off-color jokes, stories about crazy nights in Mexico), but creating an online presence that is devoid of personality will do you no good either.

What’s your take? Have you had trouble separating your personal life from your professional life online? Are there any rules you follow?

I hope everyone had a good weekend. I ran/walked a mile this Saturday! Hey, we all have to start somewhere. This week there are many good articles on social media, a new restaurant opens in Milwaukee, we take a look back at Obama's 100 days and much more.

Follow me on Twitter http://twitter.com/ladyhero.

In today's economy it can be easy to keep your head down and stick to what "works." This clip (courtesy of Agency Spy) of Leo Burnett helped remind me that even though many of us face potential layoffs and are uncertain about the fate of our agencies, it is not an excuse to lower our standards.

To everyone looking for jobs, battling to keep jobs and just hoping to make it through... Please do your best to stay inspired. Do your best work and come up with new ideas. Question the way you do things. That is the only way our industry will prosper.

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