Big Fat Screw Up

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Walmart. Always a target. Always.

Walmart is no stranger to controversy whether it is from their employment practices, their paid wages, where their stuff is made, or any other reason you can think of. Recently their online site has come under criticism for something posted that may, or may not, have been intentional. Either way, everyone can agree that the newest flub is quite a big fat screw-up.

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To everyone reading this, you’re just a science project. You’re an experiment.

Every day we log onto social media to chat with our friends, to express inner opinions, to look at the new movie coming out, or even to “like” a new program. What you probably don’t know is that you’re part of a science experiment which is using everything you do, on your free to use social media platform, to create a profile for who you are and how you think. Ever write a status update on Facebook just to see your ads to change immediately to whatever you just typed about? That’s exactly what I’m talking about here.

In a PBS post by Angela Washeck, she quoted Douglas Rushkoff as saying that impressionable teens today have replaced their habit of plastering their personal stuff on their bedroom walls with now moved on to inhabiting social media and sharing their personality through there, but don’t realize how this is benefiting trends and brands (Washeck, 2014). Rushkoff’s newest Frontline documentary “Generation Like” explores how young adults are providing social marketing and advertising with treasure troves of information through their online interactions. Some, like Tyler Oakley, are getting “free” stuff in order to promote certain brands to their friends and/or followers (Washeck, 2014).

What we have perceived as “organic” viral trends are actually meticulously planned marketing strategies (Washeck, 2014). Do we really like these things or are we just monkeys running through the course in order to try and score “free” stuff and fame? While some are being given things for free, they really aren’t free. As these items or brands become popular, their publicity does the work for them. A couple of freebies handed out to some carefully placed popular online identities can turn into millions or billions of revenue for companies, so in a sense, they pay for themselves.

One of the questions being raised is whether or not this is exploitation. Not only have advertising pros learned exactly how young people share, but they’ve also learned just what drives them to share (Washeck, 2014). We, as consumers, are providing free data for marketers and advertisers without even realizing we’re doing it. Some may actually realize it though, and they’re profiting off of your shares and retweets. There is definitely more public relations work being done through this, but there is a lot of behind the scenes advertising as well. We, the consumers, are doing all the leg work without much benefit, unless you feel that the products you’re knowledgeable about now is your payment. According to Washeck, Rushkoff said, ““Over time, there will be a reaction against it…I’m kind of hopeful we’ll have another burst of awareness” (Washeck, 2014).

Knowing how we’re all essentially being manipulated through observation, how do you feel about this? Does this make you think twice about “liking” or re-tweeting something?


Washek, A. (2014, February 19). [Web log message]. Retrieved from

Twitter and Oreos, a few of my favorite things

By Matt Gillis

It is no doubt that Twitter is taking the advertising world by storm. Essentially, the social media tool is an advertiser’s greatest gift, allowing companies to converse with their target publics, send out messages in real time, and monitor audience receptivity.

Most recently, Twitter became a more-than-successful advertising platform for one such brand, Samsung. On Sunday night during the broadcast of the 86th Annual Academy Awards, Ellen DeGeneres’s now infamous selfie with Oscar-nominated celebrities including Jennifer Lawrence, Brad Pitt, and Meryl Streep, was taken with a Samsung phone and posted via Twitter. The picture became the most retweeted picture in the social media site’s history, a record that was previously held by a picture posted by President Obama of him and Michelle celebrating after his reelection in 2012.

The selfie, which has 3,311,786 retweets and counting, shows the extent to which brands like Samsung can reach potential consumers. Companies now have the opportunity to capitalize on Twitter’s successful use of interactivity by combining the advertising medium with real-world promotional tactics to reach an optimal consumer audience.

Another brand hoping for advertising success via Twitter is Oreo. After garnering widespread attention from their successful Super Bowl XLVII advertisement released on Twitter in response to the game’s blackout, Oreo is hoping to receive comparable publicity for their latest Twitter promotion.


The cookie brand is employing vending machines that will use trending Twitter conversations to create 3D custom-printed Oreo cookies. The vending machines, which were created by technology design and innovation firm Maya Design, will be featured at the South by Southwest (SXSW) Interactive Festival in the Oreo Trending Vending Lounge.


Using each machine’s touch screen, users will be able to browse and choose from the trending Twitter flavors that include a variety of 12 cremes and colors. The user will then be able to watch as the edible cookie is built in front of their eyes in less than two minutes. Twitter users interested in the promotion can follow the Oreo conversation using #eatthetweet.

Oreo has managed to stay ahead of the advertising trends and create an innovative advertising experience that allows for ultimate consumer interactivity with the brand. Consumers are involved in creating the Twitter conversations that influence the Oreo flavors, they are able to choose the actual cookie to be created, and they can engage in conversation using the promoted hashtag.

This promotion definitely wins my personal award for best advertisement because it combines my two favorite things, Twitter and Oreos.

Reference list:

–       Lukovitz, K. (2014, March 6). Twitter-Powered Vending Machine Creates 3D Oreos. MediaPost. Retrieved March 6, 2014, from

–       Sloane, G. (2014, March 6). Oreo Uses Twitter to Make 3-D Cookies at SXSW. AdWeek. Retrieved March 6, 2014, from

#EsuranceSave30 sweepstakes explodes Twitter

By Matt Gillis

In today’s marketplace, any company looking to create a successful brand presence must turn their advertising efforts to the realm of social media. Consumers are voicing their opinions via online blogs, engaging with companies on Twitter and “liking” the organization’s Facebook page to get the brand’s latest updates. But in order to bridge the gap between such online interactions and traditional print or broadcast advertisements as a fulfillment of a company’s integrated marketing communications, these brands must provide incentive for consumers to make that jump.

While many companies chose the traditional and expensive route of broadcast television advertisements during Super Bowl XLVIII this past Sunday, Esurance, an auto insurance company, combined the use of a television commercial with the integrated communication tactic of online engagement in promotion of a sweepstakes.

The company strategically purchased a television spot for directly after the big game. In the advertisement, The Office star John Krasinski explains that the company is randomly giving away $1.5 million, which is the amount of money the company saved by waiting to advertise until after the Super Bowl, to a United States Twitter user who tweets using the hashtag #EsuranceSave30. The sweepstakes was scheduled to last from 4 p.m. Eastern Sunday until 4 a.m. Eastern Tuesday.

While the sweepstakes was the largest sum of money given out via a Twitter contest, the promotional tactic also generated significant publicity for Esurance due to its successful reception by Twitter users. According to the company’s spokesman Danny Miller, 200,000 tweets featuring the promoted hashtag were submitted within a minute of the commercial’s airing and two million entries were recorded within less than 24 hours into the contest. Esurance increased their Twitter following by 101,100 followers within the sweepstake’s timeframe and was the top trending topic throughout the United States throughout that period.


“John,” a 29-year-old from California, was revealed as the winner of the sweepstakes Wednesday night on ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live!.

Last year during Super Bowl XLVII, Oreo released a timely advertisement via Twitter during the game, which made reference to the blackout that occurred during the second half. Both Oreo and Esurance’s advertisements garnered more attention than any televised commercial during each Super Bowl, proving that Twitter is a powerful marketing platform in the world of advertising.

Due to the nature of Twitter, which allows users to easily retweet content generated by others, companies have the opportunity to create viral marketing messages with just a little bit of creativity. Consumers are willing and eager to engage with companies in order to establish a more intimate relationship with the brand. With just a small incentive, like $1.5 million, companies have the ability to reach outside of the bounds of traditional advertising and into the world of social media.

Reference list:

–       Luckerson, V. (2014, February 3). Esurances $1.5 Million Giveaway Is Making Twitter Go Crazy. Time: Business & Money. Retrieved February 5, 2014, from


–       Rive Holmes, R. (2014, February 6). Winner of $1.5M Esurance Giveaway Announced on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!”. KMBZ. Retrieved February 6, 2014, from

They’re Back


$25,000 sunglasses, money, fashion and couture; materialistic objects that define The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. In todays society, vanity is greater than virtue. People live by the motto “the more you have, the more you are worth”. Aired in October 14, 2010 with 2.8 million total viewers among females in the age of eighteen to 49 in prime time (Gorman). The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills is a reality show that focuses on the lifestyle of five “wealthy” women and how they interact with each other and society. In this new season, Carlton Gebbia and Joyce Giraud became the replacement of Taylor Armstrong and Adrienne Maloof.

As I now began to see the new season, I did not even think about why they had replaced the old cast of the housewives. It was after the show was over that I realized, Glamour and fashion are priorities for The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. Bravo media,one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies in the development, production, and marketing of entertainment, news, and information to a global audience, has dominated and taken over Monday night by having the highest records of people watching the show; drew a season-to-date high with 1.15 million adults from 18-49.

The drama that is created in this show has caused massive controversy between Twitter users and the cast. Viewers constantly tweet what they think about the drama and who they side with. The cast is bombarded with strong hard comments that criticize them. Instead of letting the tweets not get to them, the stars of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills tweet what they think and talk about each other outside of the show.

Demonstrating their gender roles as high end society forces them to live up to certain standards, which end up damaging not only themselves but others. Maintaining the lifestyle that The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills have can be comfortable and luxurious at times but, it can lead to overspending and in extreme cases death due to the pressures of keep up with the lifestyle in which they live. Rusell Armostrong, Taylor Armstrong’s husband, committed suicide at the end of the past season due to the pressure he was under of maintaining their lifestyle and showing off their luxuries. Russell Armstrong was more than $1.5 million in debt and spending wildly before his apparent suicide; he was living month to month to support Taylor’s expenses and for her to be able to stay on the show. Although Armstrong made enough money to support his family, he overspent and fell into debt by trying to keep up with the other housewives. The current obsession with money has a negative impact on society just how it had a detrimental impact on Rusell Armstrong and his family.

Realizing that one of the reasons that they took Taylor out of the show was because she could not keep up with the “lifestyle” Bravo expected, made me realize how people lack morality and the understanding of the actual value of money. If people from a different country watch this show, they could consider Americans to be shallow and selfish. People are straying away from the important things in life such as family and happiness and are replacing these values with greed. The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills is an example of what society has come to; a place where money is king and if one does not have it, one is worth less than those that do.



      –     I Watch Anything On TV. (n.d.). The real housewives of beverly  hills, season premiere at 9pm on    bravo. Retrieved from

Digital Culture?

Is new media shaping our culture? What is fair game and what isn’t? Those are definitely questions we should all be asking ourselves in the digital age we are living in. This has been discussed in the media semi-recently when a comedian live tweeted a breakup of a couple from his apartment rooftop.


In an article, Tweeting Private Conversations #DirtyLaundry, by Paulina Haselhorst, she said, “But despite Ayer’s conviction that his tweets were innocent, there’s something that just doesn’t feel right about publishing personal conversations, especially ones that are not our own” (2014). Haselhorst has a nice moral opinion stated there, but honestly, can we really hold ourselves to this? Public is public. These people could have easily held this conversation in their apartment, but chose to go to the roof and then, upon getting up there, proceeded to carry on this conversation despite another person being up there.


Is it wrong to tweet this? The couple had every opportunity to not have this in public despite Haselhorst’s statement that “some compassion is in order…” (2014). I believe that when someone knowingly throws common sense and/or tact out the window then they are fair game for someone else who chooses not to show compassion. Is it really fair to tweet, blog, or YouTube someone who got pulled over because of a DUI? A case could be made that they, too, deserve compassion because it was a screw up and it’s not our drama, but it’s still getting reported through these mediums anyway. This is the culture we live in today and just going out your door every morning you see people constantly with ear buds in or reading their phones, tablets, laptops, etc. It’s to be expected that new media is everywhere!


Haselhorst also went on to say that users of Twitter can still have laughs, but should ultimately be choosy or selective about what they post to get the laughs. I don’t understand how this author can take this moral attitude without scolding all the comedians, journalists, script writers, song writers, or even everyday people who go about making a living by telling other people stories based off of something public that has happened or they experienced. Twitter isn’t the only place that this sort of exposure happens and something as little as this isn’t nearly as embarrassing as other stories that get told to thousands of people each day. All someone needs to do is to log onto YouTube and people are constantly posting videos of things people are doing. These videos can be moronic, dangerous, or heartwarming. The bottom line is that media is a major part of our culture and we are being shaped by it through its control over the population.


I don’t feel that we, as in the general public, should go about tweeting or sharing everything we see, but I also don’t believe we should censor everything either. While we might be disgusted at the sharing of public information, it also may serve as historical data for future generations as well. All of this is certainly up for ethical debate, but one thing remains constant and that is that new media is around us. We’re told all the time to be careful what we post, but we also know that people are watching us whether we want it or not. With access to all sorts of media at the click of a button, it’s only a matter of time before we begin to shape our culture as either socially awkward or everyone becoming “e-famous”.


Haselhorst, P. (2014, January 08). Tweeting private conversations

Images courtesy of: 10 Of The Best Twitter Cartoons