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July 2009, Week 2 Marketing Archives

Friday, July 10, 2009

Shark Week 09 Fishing For Great White Viewers

Shark Week Viral Kit
What social media outlets are they using?
  • Facebook Connect though I'm not sure whether or not it worked for me, not even sure how to tell quite honestly. I don't think the Facebook profile is getting much tractiont but haven't seen any other virus spreaders say anything about it so who knows.
  • Twitter: They created a frenziedwaters profile on Twitter and a lot of tweeps seem to think it's pure genious but I dunno. I also noticed that the term "Discovery Channel" was in Twitter Trends yesterday but it was gone this am.
  • YouTube: They have a user and channel set up with 4 well-produced videos that only lead to more mystery.
  • Blog: As far as I can tell they're only using Twitter and not a full-fledged blog, which makes sense due to the short term nature of the event they're marketing.
  • SEO: All of the bloggers are taking care of the seo for them with backlinks and tweets. I find it interesting that they are directing Google to not cache their homepage and that the homepage is all flash with no on-page seo value. One day an agency will step up that can do viral marketing with all the bells and whistles of streaming multimedia but also include on-page and on-site seo as part of their offerings but to date I have not seen any single firm do that yet, not even Camp Fire Media out of NYC (they did the campaign for Discovery Channel).
The cluing into geocaching, are they clued in or clueless?
I think the only reason I got one of the jars was because of my post on Monday about my recent geocaching experience. I think at the last minute the kind folks at Discovery Channel Shark Week thought it would be good to send me something since they put up all of those coordinates in their flash movie on The reason I am fairly certain this is the case is because I didn't get one of those fake obituaries like the other bloggers which leads me to believe this was a last minute type of deal but who knows. Regardless, the jar is at home with my daughters and Piper and I tried on the shark attack swim shorts this morning as a joke and surprised Shannon when she came downstairs, it was pretty funny. In fact, I think I might wear the shorts they sent us to the beach this weekend when I go surfing because they actually fit, go figure.
Site construction for the viral campaign
I felt like the "send to friend" link was not visible enough and blended in too easily into the background of the site. It was also bothersome that there was no way for you to cut and paste the coordinates into google maps or copy them to the clipboard to facilitate looking up the locations faster. Like I said before, the site has zero on page seo other than the Title and meta-descriptions being properly constructed. It's built entirely in flash and won't have any lasting value after this year's Shark Week is over. Which is no good for the Discovery Channel since they'll want the sites they constructed for the past years to show up on the first page of Google for the term Shark Week but I don't think that's going to happen with, oh well, live and learn I suppose. I guess it's wait and see time now so let's wait and see what kind of buzz this thing is going to generate.

Shark Week 09 Fishing For Great White Viewers By Jason Dowdell at 08:56 AM
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Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Shark Week Viral Marketing Frenzy Decrypted

Faux sea glass jar from Discovery Channel Sharkweek 2009As I was pulling out of the driveway this morning I nearly hit the FedEx delivery guy because I didn't see him as I was backing up. He certainly saw me and waved me on and pointed to my house, because he had a delivery to make. I thought it was odd since I know we haven't purchased anything online lately since we have started our new budget but I headed down the road anyway. About 2 minutes later I get a call from Shannon telling me that I got a next day air delivery from FedEx. I asked her if it was a book, I get a lot of books sent to me, but she said it wasn't and that it was in a large box. So I told her I'd turn around and be there in two minutes.
I arrived at the house and picked up the box and was surprised at how large it was, 12 inches tall by 12 inches wide. I assumed it was a viral marketing pitch by this agency named "Campfire Media" but I had no idea what it was. The from address on the shipping label was:
Campfire Media
62 White Street, 3E
New York, NY 10013

This certainly wasn't an address (physical or website) that I recognized so I was even more intrigued. I was especially intrigued since the package said "fragile, handle with care" which is not the norm for most viral marketing deliveries.
What was in the box?
Interestingly enough there was a note (printed but with a handwriting font) and a sea glass jar (complete with faux rusted lid and glass that had been frosted by months at sea and it contained different items. Unlike some other people, the kind folks at the Discovery Channel responsible for Shark Week, did not send me an obituary like they did JoBlo. But he and I did get all of the other items. Here's an inventory of what the rusted sea glass bottle contained:
  • 1 rusted boat key with a keychain for Discovery Marina SW09 (get it? as in Discovery Channel Shark Week 2009?)
  • One pair of baggies (swim trunks for the non surfers out there) with the left leg tattered and torn and bloodstained (obviously from a shark attack)
  • A faux Great White shark tooth attached to a copper keychain with the url stamped into it (I'm not sure where they had these made but this keychain is top notch, the copper is even oxidized (good job folks)
  • A paper warning sign that reads "BEACH CLOSED SWIM AT YOUR OWN RISK, FOR DETAILED CLOSURE INFO, CALL: (386) 675-0342 (the 386 area code includes the location in Florida where we see the largest number of shark attacks in the world, so the use of a 386 area code on this sign was quite nice. If you call this number you'll get a well produced recording about shark attacks, I highly recommend calling 1 (386) 675-0342 and hearing the message.
  • A note on stationery in a hand written font. I included the note on the stationery below.

Hand Written (not really) Note From SW09
This jar holds a story -, the story of a single tragic accident, the details of which need to be unlocked. Dive in, investigate the evidence, and uncover what lies beneath the surface at, part of an online experience leading into Discovery Channel's Shark Week.
Now that we've gotten through all of the tedium of Shark Week 09's viral marketing campaign, I'll put up a follow up entry in an hour or so that breaks down the campaign and what works and doesn't work and how well we should expect this to perform over the next 7 days.

Shark Week Viral Marketing Frenzy Decrypted By Jason Dowdell at 04:01 PM
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Monday, July 06, 2009

Geocaching For Beginners: Tips, Terminology and Personal Examples

Shannon and I have recently implemented a Dave Ramsey-esque budget in our household in an effort to decrease our expenses and get control of our spending. So far it's worked incredibly well, thanks to my amazingly organized and brilliant wife. However, there has been one drawback to the new budget, there simply isn't enough money for us to have our usual date night activities which include going to the movies, dinner and paying a babysitter. So we've been looking for some decent activities that we can do together that won't break our budget. A couple of weeks ago we talked about trying out Geocaching. Geocaching is basically a worldwide scavenger hunt where members of plant "caches" in different locations and supply hints and GPS coordinates to the location where the loot is hidden. It costs nothing to join the site or to play and there are nearly 1,000,000 geocaches hidden worldwide so chances are there is some cache to be found in your area. The only trick is that you need a GPS device, or a phone with GPS or Google Maps on it in order to find the cache. Since Shannon bought me a Garmin etrex Venture HC GPSr (that's GPS Receiver in geocache-ese) for Father's day, I was all set. So yesterday, the Dowdells went out on a geocache mission as a family to try the activity out. Yes, the entire family came along. Here's the breakdown in case you're curious.

  • Jason aka Dad (age 35)
  • Shannon aka Mama (age: younger than Jason)
  • Piper: Age 6
  • Finley: Age 4
  • Jonas: Age 14 mos.
  • Vehicle: Land Rover LR3
  • GPS Device: Garmin eTrex Venture HC
  • Writing Instrument: Ink Pen
  • Phone: iPhone 3G (not the 3Gs)

Results of our 1st Geocaching Low Cost Family Activity

Immediately Shannon and I felt like we should've gone on our first geocaching adventure alone (without children) because we felt dumb. The first two places we went just didn't work out, either the cache was no longer there or we just couldn't find it because we'd never done this before. We found that for the best results of a specific hunt we really needed to look up the specific Geocache before we went to the site so we could read the comments by other cachers and see when the cache was last found. On our first mission the cache had just been replaced by the cache creator that morning but we still couldn't find it. It was supposedly hidden on, near or around a swingset that we frequent often because the park is at the end of our neighborhood but still, no luck. Even though we didn't find the first or second geocaches our family was still in high spirits and having a great time. The kids thought it was awesome that we were going on a real live treasure hunt and the only cost was the price of gas.

For our next trek we decided to go to a cache we found on the site that was at a cemetary. The title was "Cache in Peace" and the natural allure of a cemetary and our children meant this was a must do cache. Plus the cache creator said you didn't have to go on private property to get the cache and that meant that we really didn't need to go inside the cemetary (but the kids couldn't resist). So we went to the coordinates and didn't find it but then I thought, hmm, I bet these bricks move... (there was a brick wall that lined the cemetary) and sure enough, there was a tiny little duct tape package with a log (paper with all those that found the cache's signature on it) as well as a folded up crisp $1 bill. We decided to SL TN (sign the log and took nothing) since the cache we had would not fit inside the small container. That was when things really got exciting, we had found our first "treasure" and now the kids were excited.

We made a couple of other treks, one that required the unnecessary use of the 4 wheel drive and height adjustable suspension on our Land Rover and was a great find. I'm sure that I'm not suppose to talk about what objects are in each cache capsule so I'll refrain from being a spoiler. But I can tell you that when Shannon and I go on a date this week we will be geocaching because it's so much fun. If you live in an area with a lot of parks or bike paths then I'm sure you could go to most of the caches without even using a car. Some of the caches around our area are only accessible by water which means I'll have to find a way to get our family of 5 on one of my longboard surfboards to get the cache :)

Biggest Point of Frustration
The only thing that was more frustrating than not being able to find a cache was not understanding the acronyms that commenters put on the geocache descriptions in the log entries. Some were fairly straightforward to understand and others just looked like gobblygook. So between unfamiliar acronyms and words I'd never heard of before I did get a bit frustrated. To keep you from being frustrated like me, I have compiled a list of the most important words and acronymns used in geocaching so you can have the maximum amount of fun.

Acronyms / Short Codes / TXT Codes / Shorthand

TFTH: "Thanks For The Hide:" When a hide was extra special people will leave this in the log book.
TFTC: "Thanks For The Cache" I guess the only difference between this and TFTH is that the cache must be good.
TNLN: "Took Nothing Left Nothing" Usually it seems like noncommital geocachers use this term to prove they found the cache but didn't want to take anything out of it, possibly because they had nothing to replace it with. It is proper geocaching etiquette to always "SL" aka Sign Log so you can show others that you were there.
SL: "Signed Log" Every geocache item should have a paper log near it and geocachers will sign the log to show they found it. They typically sign their username instead of their real name which further frustrates the muggles (see below) ;).
BYOP: "Bring Your Own Pencil" (but if you sign a log you should use a water-insoluble ink pen since it won't be erased as easily - learned that in 10th grade chemistry with Dr. McCord)
CITO: "Cash In Trash Out" (on your way to find the geocache, pick up trash and clean up the area)
DNF: "Did Not Find" Shannon and I did not find 2 of the 5 caches we seeked yesterday.
D/T: "Difficulty and Terrain" Scales of 1 to 5 for each, one being the easiest.
FTF: "First To Find" First geocacher that finds the cache can post this in their log and get special bragging rights, I guess.
GPSr: "Global Position Satellite Receiver" Slang for a GPS device although I think adding the "r" to the end of it was not the best choice since many items ending in r are vowels.
GZ: "Ground Zero" The location where the cache is hidden, does not necessarily mean on the ground since many caches are hidden above or below the ground.
SWAG: "Stuff We All Get" This is not a Silly Wild A$$ Guess but is the cache items at a specific location find.

Geocaching Words / Terms and Definitions

Muggle: A non-geocacher. Caches are often hidden at public parks and public places so many times there will be people there hanging out or going about their normal business and in Geocaching terminology they are referred to as Muggles. It's a Harry Potter term that means un-magical people.
Spoiler: A hint that tells of the exact location of a cache before someone finds it. Same as a movie spoiler but not the same as a car spoiler which is used to create downforce on the front end or rear end of the car in order to stabilize it at high speeds. Geocaching is so geeky I felt it important to put in some gear head terminology just to preserve my manhood.

You can read all of the terms used in geocaching in their glossary but they're not very well organized and kind of out of context if you've never played the game before.

Geocaching Tips For Newbies

Here are some tips for those of you that have never tried geocaching before, these are a must if you want to have a good time and find the most caches possible.
  1. Do not rely 100% on the coordinates given to you in the cache description. If you get within 2 - 3 feet of the exact coordinates then it is time to start looking around. Many factors could cause the location to be slightly off so just use 0 - 3 feet as an approximation.
  2. Don't expect the cache to be hidden in plain site, expert cachers are known for hiding something using the native camoflage of the environment. Look up, down, below the ground, at eye level. Tip: if there is a tree 2 - 3 ft within the coordinates then chances are the object is tied up in the tree with a rope ;)
  3. If the geocache location is on or near a business or private property then be sure to not let your kids run all around the place because it could be very dangerous.
  4. Read the hints in the description very carefully, often there are clues contained in the description that don't mean anything until you actually get to the location. So read and then reread once you get to the spot.
  5. Take a phone with you that has a browswer in it so you can look up the description of each geocache location before you get to it. Otherwise you won't have all of the hints with you and will get quite frustrated. An alternative to this would be to print out all of the cache spots you want to visit before you leave the house but that requires a printer and paper.
  6. Remember that it's just a game and don't get too annoyed by all of the geek speek of stuff like muggles (can't believe I'm playing a game that uses terminology from Harry Potter, seriously). The game can be incredibly fun so don't let your pride get in the way of having a good time.

Geocaching For Beginners: Tips, Terminology and Personal Examples By Jason Dowdell at 11:11 AM
Comments (5)

« July 2009 Week 1 July 2009 Week 3 »

  • Week 1 (2 entries) July 1-4
  • Week 2 (3 entries) July 5-11
  • Week 3 (1 entries) July 12-18
  • Week 4 (0 entries) July 19-25
  • Week 5 (0 entries) July 26-31

Geocaching For Beginners: Tips, Terminology and Personal Examples
I enjoyed reading your article; particularly the r...
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Geocaching For Beginners: Tips, Terminology and Personal Examples
Got into geocaching about six weeks ago. Love it. ...
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Shark Week 09 Fishing For Great White Viewers
Thought this may be of interest to all shark fans....
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Campaigns and content like Shark Week and the shar...
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