links for 2008-02-08

Bring home the bacon – make your social media work for you


If you’re looking for an example of how to use social media to enhance your brand’s presence online, look no further than J & D’s Bacon Salt. The makers of this incredibly popular product have been able to successfully use social media in a way that fits in with their brand message, their company’s personality and their audience’s behavior.

Let’s start with their great website. The “Our Story” page introduces you to the company’s creators, Justin and Dave, and how Bacon Salt came about. The story is told in a friendly, off-the-cuff tone, and it is taken to an even more personal level with a YouTube video of one of the creator’s toddler, which that won them $5,000 on America’s Funniest Home Videos, an amount they refer to as their “first round of funding”.

Since their product is in the spice/condiment family, J & D’s Bacon Salt website smartly offers a recipes page, which are perfect for sharing but would be even better if each recipe had its own “share” button (although you can share the website with the bookmarking links at the bottom). The reviews page has another a YouTube video that shows a bunch of people, women and men, young and old  (and really young), professing their love of Bacon Salt. Plus, the merchandise page makes use of an e-commerce widget from Zazzle.

But although it does contain social media elements, the website is reserved for communicating their brand message and their company’s personality. So Justin and Dave created a blog to help document their quest to make “everything taste like bacon” and created a MySpace page and a Facebook group so they can interact with their customers more directly. Both are very active, with customers proclaiming their love for bacon and Bacon Salt, sharing ideas, videos, asking for recipes and more.

So follow Justin and Dave’s lead and find out how social media can work best to enhance your brand and messaging.

Laughing babies = Advertising Gold?

Yet another YouTube video has made its way into a television commercial, and quite effectively I might add. BMW popularized the trend with its use of a home video depicting two ecstatic children who just received what is apparently the greatest gift ever. The commercial got its point across, equating the pure joy of the children with the joy of BMW ownership. Now AIG, a financial services company, has released a new commercial of a  cute and very amusing laughing baby that was a hit on YouTube. “Laughter can add eight years to your life. So live longer, retire stronger. Never outlive your money,” the commercial proclaims. The commercial flows nicely and it’s hard to argue with a laughing baby, just ask anyone who has visited YouTube recently. Laughing babies have seemingly turned into a phenomenon. Simply enter “laughing baby” and an endless array of giggling infants appears. Or look at the numbers: as of this entry’s writing, 35,839,310 people have watched the most popular laughing baby clip entitled “Hahaha”. AIG certainly took notice of these numbers and capitalized on this popularity.

links for 2008-02-01

links for 2008-01-31

Web 2.0 Makes parking a snap


Everyone knows that finding good parking is a huge pain. You’re not paying attention to the road, you reduce your speed and increase traffic, you throw away  gas and increase pollution by circling the block 80 times, and, of course, its a gigantic waste of time.

Enter SpotScout, a web-based parking spot market place; an eBay for parking, if you will. Except it’s first come, first served and there’s no bidding involved. Basically, anyone who owns a spot or garage or is leaving a public spot can be a SpotCaster, selling a reservation for their owned spot or information of where they are parked and when they are leaving for a public spot. SpotScouts (people looking to park) can then buy this information online from their computers or mobile phones. The benefit to individuals and to parking garages is clear, but businesses can also gain by signing up as a searchable destination so visitors can have a better chance of finding parking nearby!

Armed with great features like user ratings, advanced search options, walking distance from spot to destination and PayPal payments, SpotScout is quickly gathering steam and is being talked about at The New York Times, the Boston Globe, NPR, the Today Show and many more. Head on over to and let us know what you think.

We recently say the CEO of SpotScout speak at a Web Innovators meeting in Boston. He responded to a question from the audience that highlights one of the most talked about aspect of the new service: “How do you manage this in New York, a state whose laws strickly regulate the buying and selling of parking spaces.” He responded, “In the case of individuals selling street parking, we manage this because they actually aren’t selling parking—they are selling information.” It’s a clever concept. Let’s see if the cities and users will go for it!

Online Trend: Changing Sources of Information

It used to be that the journalism industry had relative monopoly on providing information. But now-a-days, millions of blogs and even sites like Wikipedia are taking over this service. When there are millions of sources available for getting your information, whether or not they are considered “accurate” and “reliable”, how can the journalism industry compete? This, of course, is a trend that can be observed in a number of other industries/institutions (TV, schools and universities), and it shows no signs of slowing down. BoingBoing’s Cory Doctorow writes that “in a Google search of five keywords or phrases representing the top five news stories of 2007” blogs are ranking higher than the New York Times website, and Wikipedia beats both. Perhaps the answer can be found in Hugh McGuire’s article for the Huffigton post, where he suggests that these industries are having trouble in the digital age because they confuse what they do with what they are for. What do you think?