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Archive for January, 2013

Super Ad Sunday

Wednesday, January 30th, 2013

On February 3, over 100 million people will watch Super Bowl XLVII,’but for some, football isn’t what they want to see – it’s the commercials. Americans are fascinated by Super Bowl ads. It’s one of the few times when we keep our remotes on the coffee table and focus our attention to a variety of ads with multi-million dollar price tags that feature talking babies, animals, celebrities, fast cars and scantily clad models, among other things.

According to the New York Times, the first buzzworthy Super Bowl ad came in 1984 when Apple ran the famous’1984′ to introduce the Macintosh. Google named it on a list of ‘Best Super Bowl Ads of all time’. Inspired by George Orwell’s book, 1984, this spot was the beginning of big budget spending.

Year after year, companies like Anheuser-Busch,, Volkswagen and Coca-Cola spend millions of dollars (in some cases a brand’s entire annual ad budget) on Super Bowl ad campaigns with the hope of increasing brand engagement and interaction, ROI and brand awareness. According to Advertising Age’s Who’s Buying What in Super Bowl 2013, it’s estimated that this year’s Super Bowl spot costs are averaging between $3.7 million to $3.8 million. USA Today reports that the Super Bowl ad rate is growing at three to five times the rate it did a decade ago.

Beyond Nielsen ratings, advertisers are able to measure and track brand interaction on social media such as USA Today’s Ad Meter. Launched in 2012, Ad Meter allows viewers to rate Super Bowl ads and share and discuss with Facebook friends. Ratings are then factored into USA Today‘s annual commercial ratings.

For those companies that are new to the game like SodaStream, maker of home soda machines and Gildan, an apparel company, it is imperative to make the most of these primetime debuts since the Super Bowl represents a large chunk of their marketing budgets.

If the price tag for a :30 ad continues to rise, Super Bowl commercials will cost roughly $5 million by 2016. Is it really worth it for new companies to compete with the big names during the Super Bowl? How many commercials can you recall from last year’s Super Bowl, let alone years prior?

Hustle and bustle

Friday, January 25th, 2013

Like a scene from 1940s Americana. Technology changes, but some things still remain the same.

Shot on an iPhone by Paul Bell.

Flu in the Workplace

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013

Every winter, the flu hits Americans, which costs employers nearly $10.4 billion in health care expenses and lost productivity according to The Centers for Disease Control (CDC). This year’s flu strain is one of the strongest yet and has already reached epidemic proportions. And the worst is yet to come as the CDC expects cases to peak later within weeks.

According to NPR’s Sick Workers’ Dilemma: Stay Home or Go to Work?, about 40 percent of workers don’t receive paid sick days as a benefit, so many people work while under the weather. With strict sick day policies and workers worried about losing their jobs, employees who are sick produce at a lower productivity rate and continue to spread illness to other employees. A recent study found that 84 percent of employed adults have gone to work sick and nearly half of those employees do not tell colleagues about their unhealthy state.

Additionally, people continue to work while sick to avoid appearing weak and to avoid ‘upsetting the apple cart’ at the office. According to a recent Swedish study, workers go to work while sick to avoid being viewed as fragile. Americans have felt more pressure to show up at work at all costs since the recession, which has lead to an aversion to sick days.

Would your boss be angrier if you took more time on a task, or if you gave him/her the flu? Bite the bullet and stay home for a day or two.

Grand central.

Friday, January 18th, 2013
Daily hustle and bustle — one of the most pedestrian trafficked locations in the U.S. Does anyone ever stop to appreciate’the grandeur of it all?
Shot on an iPhone by Jon Keeling.

Collaborative Consumption

Wednesday, January 16th, 2013

From a young age, we were taught to share.’While we have always shared the air we breathe and the roads we drive, in today’s society the sharing landscape is ever-changing.

As economic times have become more challenging and as resources are becoming depleted, many individuals are following the mantra of, ‘reduce, reuse and recycle’. Recycling is changing the way we think about the ‘stuff’ that comes into our lives, how it’s made, where it’s made and what is it made of.

Collaborative consumption is part of this movement. Defined as a system of organized sharing, bartering, lending, trading, renting, gifting, and swapping, collaborative consumption has and will continue to grow rapidly in the age of digital and social media. According to Harvard Business Review’s Beyond Zipcar: Collaborative Consumption, ‘Collaborative consumption gives people the benefits of ownership with reduced personal burden and cost and also lower environmental impact.’

Collaborative consumption allows the individual to pay for the benefit of using a product without needing to own the product outright. There are peer-to-peer car sharing services like ZipCar, bike sharing companies, textbook rentals, fashion rental websites such as Rent the Runway, and even online neighborhood rental websites driven by social sharing like Share Some Sugar which was developed right here in Cincinnati.

According to The Power of Sharing in the Internet Economy in Forbes, ‘The growth of collaborative consumption comes from all of us seeking new ways to create profit and increase value in a globally connected society that loves to share.’ It can also be suggested that collaborative consumption has gained popularity due to the fact that people want to simplify their lives and are conscious about the environment. Urban residents are especially concerned with collaborative consumption as their space is limited.

While collaborative consumption or ‘sharing economy’ sounds like an idyllic world where friendly strangers share their personal belongings and lend their services, a major factor in this movement is trust. Would you lend your car to a stranger for the day?