For 70 years, America has celebrated National Donut Day on the first Friday of June. The tradition was started by the Salvation Army of Chicago. Today, it's the ultimate marketing opportunity for the nations two largest Donut shop franchises: Krispy Kreme (NYSE: KKD) and Dunkin Donuts.
To commemorate the day, both chains are offering one free donut to each customer, but I give Dunkin Donuts credit for utilizing its social networks to engage customers. For example, here's a snapshot from Dunkin Donuts' Twitter Page today:
Jeff Hager of Hoover, Alabama created Dunkins Next Donut: Toffee in your coffee. Hager's grand prize winning donut is "Toffee for Your Coffee," a glazed, sour cream cake donut topped with bits of Heath Bar. Hager also won $12,000 and his donut will be sold in U.S. Dunkin' Donuts locations beginning fall '09.
Here's Dunkin Donuts Youtube video about Hager and the contest.
Their vessel, the Blue Dolphin, seats up to 49 passengers comfortably. It's a fully restored, 44-foot pontoon boat fashioned with cushioned seats, folding tables, a bathroom and a retractable roof for views rocket launches. Atlantic bottle nose dolphins, white egrets, manatees and ospreys are just a few of the animals you'll intimately encounter in their natural habitat.
I had the pleasure of joining Mark,Michele and a group of passengers for a tour. Within the first five minutes, we came within a few feet of a family of dolphins, including a baby. The first impression made on me was Mark and Michele's attention to detail.
Mark's extensive knowledge of the local ecosystem amazed and educated me throughout the tour. I've spent 23 of my 27 years on the Space Coast, and I learned more about our local environment in those two hours than all of my science classes. As amazing as the wildlife scenery is, there are also plenty of technological marvels to behold, including NASA's VAB (Vehicle Assembly Building), and some of the world's largest cruises,docked in Port Canaveral.
You'll cruise through the lock system, a series of gates and chambers that balance the water levels between the Atlantic Ocean and the Banana River Lagoon system.As we entered the locks and waited for the water level to equalize, two Manatees surfaced just off the starboard side of the boat.
Once we passed through the locks and entered the port, Mark informed us that Tropicana Orange Juice is stored in Port Canaveral, as well as Morton Salt, which is shipped to Sea World for their saltwater facilities. Mark and Michele's knowledge of the area comes from hours of research between the two, as well as input from local NASA workers and Sea Ray workers who shared their facts during different tours.
'Anytime we'd read an article with a local scientist or biologist, we would contact them and ask them if they could tell us more about the local area,' Michele said. 'We learn every day and what's great about this job is you meet people from all over the world. We've met people from Australia, South Africa, Asia and even Eskimos.'
Michele tends to each passenger. Snacks and drinks are served on fold down tables. She takes good pride in the Blue Dolphin, and for good reason- she and Mark each poured their financial and physical resources into restoring the boat.
'I think if we knew everything we would have to go through, we wouldn't have done it. It took a lot out of us, but we made it, and we're so glad we persevered.'
Inspiration for Space Coast River Tours came during Michele's trip to Montauk, NY (Long Island) . Michele found out that a friend of hers had given up, after many years, his fishing charter business to start a Montauk Lake Boat Tour business on a 40' pontoon boat. Michele got the idea of doing the same here at Port Canaveral.two years later, after many sleepless nights on the Internet that Michele found - THE BOAT, nicknamed "the Beast" (she was that ugly) in Michigan.
They knew that the Beast had a lot of potential, and with lots of TLC and hard work could be turned into a swan. So, filled with determination, they had the Beast trucked down here to Florida, and started revamping her in August 2002. Mark and Michelle, both U.S. Coast Guard Certified captains, maintain the boat and are constantly exploring new ideas for special tours. In addition to their standard nature tour, they also offer shuttle launch tours, Christmas boat parade tours, wine and cheese cruises for Mother's Day and Valentine's Day, and even a gardening cruise. A botanist from a local nursery, Rockledge Gardens, grabs the mic and points out examples of quality lawns and proper landscaping techniques along the backyards of houses lining the canals of Sykes Creek. It's just another way Mark and Michele use their business to build stronger bonds with fellow local business owners.
To book a tour on the Blue Dolphin, call (321)-652-1052 or visit www.spacecoastrivertours.com for more information.
That's great news for anyone planning to by a Palm Pre or Android, but iPhone owners won't be happy when they read this excerpt from the article:
There is still no timetable for a version of Flash that will run on Apple Inc.'s iPhone or Research In Motion Ltd.'s BlackBerry... Adobe has engineering teams dedicated to working on each major smart phone. In the case of the iPhone, the hold up isn't entirely technical. "We need to have Apple's agreement before we can do it," he says. Apple and RIM declined to comment.
By remaining silent, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) has effectively turned a deaf ear to its customers' demands, and if you don't believe me, just check out the comments from my first post about Flash for iPhone.
Following Orlando's defeat of the Cleveland Cavs, was inspired to combine several images, including Dwight Howard, the logo from the Puppetmaster horror movie series, Adidas (Dwight Howard's shoe dealer) and a banner ad for Nike MVPs-featuring puppet versions of Kobe Bryant and LeBron James. I'll give Orlando Sentinel Editorial Cartoonist Dana Summers credit for her drawing, since the work is 100% original, but I'd like to see any media that used the nickname before my post ran on June 1.
If you're a parent, you know how frustrating it is to be stuck in the driver's seat as your kids beg for entertainment. You struggle to navigate the highway, without any toys or tapes on hand,so you're forced to recite some of their favorite songs. That's no easy task when you're weaving across three lanes.
Now, there's an App that ensures you'll always have something to amuse your childeren with.I must admit, I have yet to experience the joys and challenges of fatherhood, but I have five nieces and three nephews, so I appreciate any App designed to entertain a kid in desperate need of entertainment.
I recently received an email from Eli Portnoy from tinyteacher.com, who introduced me to their new iPhone App, TinyTeacher Songs #1.
TinyTeacher Songs plays four classic nursery songs: Old McDonald , Twinkle, twinkle little star, B.I.N.G.O and If you're happy and you know it. Each song includes subtitles that appear in correspondence to the singer's voice set to streaming video as well as a few still shots of people,animals, farming tools and other items mentioned in the songs.
I highly recommend TinyTeacher Songs for any parent of toddlers and I'm sure it's only a matter of time before we see major brands produce similar apps.
With hundreds of millions of members on social networks and thousands more joining Facebook and Twitter by the hour, it's easy to assume ad revenue would cover most of the overhead.
As Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has discovered, the path to profitability isn't a walk through the park. Earlier this year, the network's financial frustrations led me to ask: Will Facebook Remain Free? Options such as subscription fees may thwart the remarkable influx of new members, so the best route to revenue appears to be through social game fees, and that's where Zynga comes into the equation.
Founded by Mark Pincus, Zynga is the largest applications developer on Facebook. Millions of Facebook users engage in multi-player games such mafia Mafia Wars and Scramble (Zynga's version of scrabble), Pirates, Yoville, and others. An excerpt from a related article in the Financial Times reads:
Users are increasingly spending real money buying virtual goods and credits on the applications that run on Facebook’s platform. Zynga, the largest applications developer on Facebook, with 42m users of its games, is reported to be nearing annual sales of $100m. Together, developers working on Facebook’s platform are expected to make more than $500m this year - perhaps more than Facebook itself.
These games and similar, known as "virtual goods", are also available from other developers,including Offerpal Media. Venture capitalists must view these developers as the most efficient route to capitalize on the habits of network users who spend long amounts of time on the network.
I'm curious to see the percentage of Facebook users who frequently play these games,because I'm willing to bet there's a large portion of users who still strictly use Facebook for its original intent-keeping in touch with friends and family. That's why I'm not convinced that virtual good fees are the silver bullet for killing the financial monsters.
How about you? Do you play the Mafia War games or do you consider those apps a waste of time?
Tired of dropped calls? You can't blame your friend's Sprint (NYSE:S) service anymore. AT&T (NYSE:T)is finally taking the blame for all those dropped calls you've been experiencing on your iPhone lately. During the past few weeks, my connection dropped so many times, I began to wonder if there was something physically wrong with my iPhone. Thanks to national talk show host and consumer advocate Clark Howard, I know I'm not alone. Today, Clark posted an article on his blog titled:AT&T fesses up about network issues
An excerpt for the article reads:
AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson has now admitted that the company's network is not up to snuff with the rollout of all the iPhones. In addition, the honcho has pledged that AT&T will spend billions of dollars to get it together with increased speed and capacity.
To compensate, AT&T is expediting its plans to implement its 4G network earlier than expected, within the next two years. With Palm Pre set to release on Saturday, AT&T's confession couldn't have come at a worse time for AT&T
Dhani Jones has a hunger for adventure, whether it's eating live bugs, throwing giant boulders or learning the Asian kickboxing sport known as Muay Thai, the Travel Channel followed his journey during the first season of Dhani Tackles the Globe. Fans will be happy to see their favorite NFL linebacker back in action for second season. Jones recently announced the good news via his Twitter page, and now he's seeking fan input for season 2 ideas.
Dhani's latest Tweet is yet another great example for establishing brand recognition, expanding your exposure and engaging your fanbase simultaneously. You may recall Marketing Shift's weekly updates crediting Dhani's marketing team for their efficient use of social networks throughout Season 1. Dhani frequently updated fans on the show with video posts on Dhani's Youtube Channel and his Facebook page. Today, Jones encouraged his followers on Twitter to submit any ideas they might have for season 2.
The challenge for a company is 'how do I create a platform that encourages the consumer to interact with me?' Start leveraging the power of open innovation and network orchestration. All of these are perfect for today's environment.
Evidently, a member of the local broadcast media in Orlando presented Howard with a puppet of his own According to this excerpt from the Orlando Sentinel:
You've probably seen the hilarious Nike ads of LeBron James and Kobe Bryant in puppet form. For a few moments this afternoon, Dwight Howard had a puppet of his own. It happened over at RDV Sportsplex after Howard spent a few minutes answering reporters' questions. After Howard finished, one local TV journalist opened a rectangular box and pulled out a puppet with a Magic jersey.The puppet was a pretty good likeness of Howard. Then, the reporter handed Howard the doll and asked him to say a few words.Needless to say, Howard was shocked. He broke into a smile, but he was at a loss for words. He finally came up with something. As he moved the puppet's mouth, Howard said in a high-pitched voice, "Go Magic! Go Magic!"
Perhaps it's just a coincidence, but the timing makes me wonder if their idea wasn't original. Game one of the NBA Finals is Thursday night, as the Orlando Magic visit the Staples Center in Los Angeles and try to dethrone the Lakers.
Orlando Magic All-Star Dwight Howard already has several nicknames, including Superman and Black Magic. Now, he should be known as the Puppet Master .
Howard has the perfect marketing opportunity awaiting him, if Adidas decides to take a sharp jab at Nike. His 40-point contribution in game six of the Eastern Conference Finals knocked Cleveland out of the playoffs, removing the chance for a Kobe Bryant vs.LeBron James matchup.
Virtually every NBA fan outside of the greater Orlando area craved a Lakers vs. Cavs pairing,but to the delight of Adidas and the dismay of ABC and Nike, the Orlando Magic spoiled those plans. The best way to shove it Nike's face would be a counter ad featuring Dwight Howard as the Puppet Master. We know Dwight is always looking for creative ways to market himself, such as the Black Magic alias Howard chose from fan suggestions via Twitter.
This is the second post in Marketingshift's coverage of Ken Butler III, a rookie driver on the NASCAR Nationwide Series. Follow Marketingshift.co as we track the life of a professional driver and all of the challenges he encounters,on and off the track.
Dover, Delaware The weekend started great for Ken Butler. The rookie driver on the NASCAR Nationwide Series arrived in Wilmington, Delaware late Wednesday night and had a good nights rest before heading to Dupont Country Club where he played golf as a celebrity guest in the Drive for Autism celebrity/amateur golf tournament with Michael Waltrip and guests from Aarons his sponsor. After a nice banquet it was back to get some rest because KB3 knew the rest of the weekend was all business.
Waking up and going to the track in always one of the adrenaline pumping experiences KB3 has. He had never run the monster mile at Dover. The ritual is much the same. A good hotel breakfast consisting of the Hampton Inn’s finest and a couple bottles of fluids to stay hydrated throughout the day.
Ken set out to tackle the speedway in practice. Running some laps to throw down some rubber and break in some tires is always part of the process. Butler and the crew opted for minor adjustments that they had the Aarons Dream Machine they to go to battle with. Then the skies opened and washed all the rubber of the track and postponed the AAA sponsored truck race. Ben Burnett, Butler’s sports marketing guru was kind enough to take pictures for us all along the way.
Saturday morning was early. I always get up early because I am eager for the day. We had some minor adjustments to the car but that is normal. Butler had a good feeling about the day.
I knew I had a good car. I had just had my daughter (Piper Shay) a week earlier. I knew I was in a good situation and the team at R3 Motorsports had done a great job getting everything ready to go. Qualifying was right where I expected to be and I knew that things were going my way. Everybody felt the excitement. It was contagious. We all knew that things were shaping up nicely.
As the race started in the Heluva Good! 200 Butler was inching his way into the top 30 when John Wes Townley (the driver of the Zaxby’s #9 car). got into him coming out of turn 2. Nobody from R3 Motorsports would comment on the situation but Ben Burnett gave us one tid bit: "It was just really unfortunate for us."
Townley was already a lap down before five laps had even passed. He had already been responsible for the race’s first caution flag going into turn 1 of lap 1 at the monster mile. If at the very least Townley tied a dubious record. However, his reputation among other drivers precedes him and research shows he usually inflicts careless damage just to himself… usually in practice or qualifying. Butler was his second casualty.
But we’re a marketing blog. NASCAR is the #2 venue in all of sports marketing only behind the NFL , with heavy coverage on ABC.
If people are going to invest a minimum of $100,000 in sponsorship for travel and expenses for every race we feel it is our duty to protect marketing interests. As a casual observer to NASCAR even I know it’s a courtesy to every other driver to race a good race but not make foolish decisions to affect other cars driving like 16-year old kid when you’re already a lap down.
NASCAR is huge business and if you’re a lap down before the 10th lap, you should have the frame of mind to let everyone else run. The 28th lap is too soon to act like that. It was probably an honest mistake. But the kid deserves some bad press since he’s a professional, and at Marketing Shift, we're not afraid to call him out for it. We will be here to check in with our favorite NASCAR driver Ken Butler III the rest of the season.
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