I Want My WiFi Free


I recently flew to Atlanta on Delta Airlines to attend orientation for my new role as Managing Consultant with Capgemini Consulting.   I must admit that I was not looking forward to flying Delta. Given the choice, I typically fly JetBlue or, when the occasion presents itself, Virgin America – the Apple of air travel.

The last time I flew Delta was coming back from Florida. The trip was uneventful but somehow stressful.  I had flown JetBlue there and even though they lost my luggage for a day, they handled it so nicely, I went away with a really good feeling – a good customer experience.

The time before last I flew Delta to Las Vegas, and I recall spotting a mouse in the waiting area. So, my expectations were not high.

When I arrived at the Delta terminal, however, I was blown away by the technology.  In the waiting area of the gate was a high white table with what looked like iPads, available for passengers to use, as well as plugs for charging their own devices. It looked like something you might find at a trade show or conference. Very slick and modern.

When we boarded the plane, we were informed that there would be in flight wifi available. But not just available. Free. What?  You’re giving me something free on a domestic flight?  I promptly booted up my new iPad to check it out. Aha. The free wifi was sponsored. Brilliant. A much better business model than asking passengers to pay $15 or $20 for access. And a much better consumer experience. After all, I’m telling all of you about it.

And as for the advertiser, well the advertiser got a captive audience that visited a sponsored web page to activate the coverage.  Moreover, the page had an opt out lead generation component so that users would be added to the company’s mailing list unless they unchecked the box.

In addition to this on screen and direct marketing component, the advertiser had a short promotional video incorporated into the in flight television entertainment.

All in all, I thought it was an excellent program. A win win for all involved, And a reason to give Delta a second look.

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Life in the City – the 24-Hour Fruit Stand


The 24 hour fruit stand outside my apartment has different proprietors over the course of the day and night. I really like the one during the day. He knows my routine as I whiz by in the morning, grabbing a banana and handing him 25 cents. Sometimes I buy on credit if I don’t have change.

The guy at night is creepy and pushy in an annoying way. Tonight, I picked out two bananas and handed him a dollar bill in the hope that he would give me 50 cents and let me continue to my home.

“Just two bananas?” he said.

“Yes,” I said. “As you can see, two bananas.”

He made a move for a bag of baby carrots in an attempt to upsell.

I put the bananas down, grabbed the one dollar bill out of his hand and left. I don’t need that constant pressure from my fruit guy!

Life in the city.

Always On: 2011 in review


The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 6,800 times in 2011. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 6 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

 

As of April, I am now trending more than 1,100 views per month.  Thank you, everyone for visiting and reading.  You are my FAVORITE kind of person!

 

You’ve Been Placed. And You’ve Been Spotted


Product placement has become to video what social media is to media.  It is intrinsic to its fabric.  It has become second nature.  It has become indiscernible.  And that is why I continue to enjoy observing and calling out the placements I spot.  Here is my third installment.  (Stay tuned for more.)

  • Colbert and Wheat Thins: Colbert coins the term “Sponsortunity” on an episode in which he reads at length from the branding memo for “Wheat Thins” that only someone in brand management could have written.  A real treat and must-see for those in marketing.
  • Diet Coke: Diet Coke seems to have used product placement in its own ad (“Not All Stars Appear On Screen”) during the Oscars.  The commercial shows the evolution of a film from script to production with cameo appearances by Diet Coke cans, e.g., in the hands of the writers and those producing the film and placed on the shelves of the door to the sound stage.

  • Apple: I find it so interesting to see which programs use Apple computers but cover up the otherwise highly visible Apple on the back of each device.  Example: Two and a Half Men.  Clearly, the producers like the aesthetic and how it fits with Ashton’s character, but, I guess they did not strike a deal with Apple, so they cover up the fruit.  Other shows go all the way – do they get paid for that?  In Showtime’s “House of Lies,” the consultants use Lenovo Think Pads.  I would expect no less (and it makes me cringe a little when I think back to my pre-Mac years).

For more examples, check out: Place the Spot, Spot the Placement and Spot the Placement, Place the Spot.

Playing with Pinterest, Tallying with Twitter


I finally spent an evening (ok late night) playing with Pinterest, and I can see why it’s so addictive. So many beautiful images. It’s visual decadence and indulgence.

It’s uplifting. A great way to spend half an hour… or more. It’s also extremely easy to use with an overall positive vibe (or tone, as Pinterest would say). People are sharing things they find uplifting or attractive or thought provoking, in a light hearted way. As of now, no disturbing images. And wonderful production quality. I wonder how they control for that. Images come from the Internet, so they’re not really user generated – though they are user curated. That maintains this highly polished experience.

But what’s especially nice – it’s all about the details – is the email you get when you sign up: “Hi karenlevine,” it says, “YOU are the newest member of Pinterest, a community to share collections of things you love. We’re excited to have you as a member and can’t wait to see what you pin.” Now that’s just nice.

Twitter, of course, is also addictive, but in a different way. On Twitter, I find myself almost unhealthily aware of how many followers I have. Am I loved??? Am I respected?  It’s like they days when you would come home and rush to see whether you had voicemails.

Every time I post something on Twitter, I watch to see if it leads to more followers – in that vast community of hundreds of millions of people I don’t know. Someone out there shares a topic I am interested in and felt that what I had to say merited following me.

Of course, I also look to see whether I have been retweeted, the ultimate compliment. Or retweeted my multiple people, a real head rush.  And then there are the responses. The exchanges you have with someone you don’t know at all. At social media week, it was truly fun to watch people who had somehow ended up following or corresponding with each other meet in person. And because the avatars are typically photos, it makes it that much easier.

Social Media, Reese Witherspoon and Pinterest


Last night on Chelsea Lately, Reese Witherspoon admitted that she “doesn’t get” social media.  Twitter, she said, “scares me.”  And, although she knew she had a Facebook page, she thought, upon Chelsea’s suggestion, that the address is likely www.reesewitherspoon.com.  (It isn’t.)

This adds credence to Terri Li’s estimation during a Social Media Week panel entitled “The New Ghostwriter” that 4/5 of celebrity twitter feeds are ghostwritten.  Terri is the Chief Operating Officer of Bre.ad.  It’s no surprise, of course, that Reese does not manage her own Facebook page.  However… the point of this comment, and the part that is (ironically) interesting is that Reese exclaimed in the next sentence that she LOVES pinterest.

On another Social Media Week panel, Jon Steinberg, the president of buzzfeed said of pinterest: “I think it’s going to be one of the most powerful business models after Google.”  Wow, that’s big.  What happened to the days when social media and other sites took years to figure out how to monetize themselves?  In fact, Google itself took 5 years before hitting the lottery.

Images below: reesewitherspoon.com (top) and Reese’s Facebook page (bottom)