Archive for March, 2013
Cell phones are generally seen as “can’t-live-without” items these days, and the urge to answer an incoming text or phone call, even when you’re driving, can be hard to ignore. That being said, it’s no secret that using your phone while behind the wheel is incredibly dangerous, and doing so can cause an accident.
In an effort to promote safe driving, Sprint has unveiled the new “Drive First” App, which has multiple features designed to help drivers keep their eyes on the road, not on there phones.
The app uses motion sensor technology to detect when the car is in drive and automatically responds to incoming texts with away messages (which you’re familiar with from your instant messenger days, right, CuPidXoXo99?). It also sends calls directly to voicemail.
And for all you concerned parents out there, if your son and/or daughter tries to disable the app, Sprint will send an instant notification to your phone (just don’t check it while you’re driving), and you’ll have every right to take back those car keys.
I don’t know about you, but I feel safer already.
(Photo Credit: MLB.com)
Baseball is an American tradition. It’s our baby. It’s our national pastime. So when the World Baseball Classic was introduced in 2006, naturally the US would come out on top, right?
Not so fast, Bueller.
For the third consecutive WBC (which occurs every four years), Team USA failed to advance passed the semi-finals. This latest defeat came at the hands of Team Puerto Rico, which subsequently fell to the Dominican Republic – the eventual champions.
So why can’t the “mighty” American’s claim their rightful crown? The WBC is all about national pride. It’s also incredibly short (less than 3 weeks), which makes the level of competition in the tournament very intense. Players take pride in representing their country, and tend to play with a level of passion and purpose rarely seen during the painstakingly long 162-game MLB season. The players on Team USA’s roster are no exception.
See what I did there? The players on the roster…
For all of their pride, effort and good intentions, Team USA simply is not the best representation of America’s talent because it does not feature America’s best players. Don’t get me wrong, a lineup that boasts David Wright, Ryan Braun and Adam Jones, is nothing to sneeze at, but they’re not the best hitters in the game. Who can deny the absence of Prince Fielder, Josh Hamilton and Evan Longoria in the batters box? On the mound, Justin Verlander is the game’s most dominant pitcher along with C.C. Sabathia and David Price. All elite American players. All absent from the team.
A consistent theme amongst the high-ranking world teams like Puerto Rico, Japan and the Dominican Republic was the players’ willingness to put it all on the line for their flag. This is a trend rarely seen amongst America’s superstars. Robinson Cano of Team D.R. actually phoned head coach Tony Pena and asked to be put on the roster, and the WBC is full of stories about players like Cano, who put aside their contractual obligations in favor of patriotism.
Make no mistake, America still boasts some of the top players in the world, but until they’re unselfish enough to suit up for their country, Team USA will continue to forfeit the title which they believe to be inherently theirs.
Written by: Chrissy Tully
It didn’t rain on our parade this year, but it did snow. New Yorkers bared chilly temperatures on Saturday to watch Bagpipers, Irish Step Dancers and emerald-clad revelers march down Fifth Avenue for the 252nd St. Patrick’s Day Parade (but who’s counting?!). Whether you are Irish or just look good in green, a great time was had by the thousands of people flooding the parade route and pubs from 44th Street to 79th Street. After all, a winter storm can’t stop the Irish from having fun!
Written by: Carter Parrish
Parades, festivals, music, food and of course, Pubs! When you mention St. Patrick’s Day here in the capital those are the first words that come to mind. With a HUGE parade kicking off at noon from Picaddilly and marching through London to Trafalgar Square where the festivities continue until about 6pm. The parade is led by a giant dragon and features jugglers, charitable groups and marching bands from all over the world. Once the parade has finished Trafalgar Sq is transformed in a festival in itself with bands, comedy acts and dance performers. Food carts are serving traditional Irish food and beer as people fill the square and celebrate St. Patrick of Ireland.
Written by: Brian Marshall
Saturday, 10:00am: A glorious sight – a leprechaun wearing a jet pack on the Chicago River. Wee little man ended up in the river on this cold, cold day.
Saturday, 10:15am: The Chicago River is dyed green as thousands watch…it’s stunning just how green the water gets.
Saturday, 2:00pm: At Harry Caray’s restaurant in River North, a mediocre cover band plays Weezer’s “Say It Ain’t So” while a group of drunk girls attempt to dance in front of the stage. This restaurant was especially packed for the day, with most sporting hideous green outfits.
Sunday, 11:00am: A glitter-bombed sewer cover the morning after the Saturday celebrations on Michigan Ave and Ohio Street.
MKTG INC’s Cincinnati Office is often tasked with making uncomfortable topics talkable and sharable – things like tampons, digestive aids and wipes for your derrière (yeah – we went there!). So how do you take something like a moist towelette for your nether regions and get bloggers to write about it? Well – you give them something fun that they can’t help but share with the masses.
Thus – the Tush towel was born!
The creative team works on programs for a word-of-mouth community called Vocalpoint to get samples and coupons in the hands of people that love to use, talk and share about products. But when faced with something not-so-fun to talk about – the challenge was to give the blogger no other option than to chat about it!
The advocacy concept for the campaign was that you wouldn’t bathe with just a dry towel and expect to get clean. After marinating on that – the creative team thought, “Let’s give them a dry towel to go with the product and drive that concept home!” But you just can’t give a blogger any old towel and expect them to spend their precious time blogging about it – so the team went with something funny. A two-sided towel: one side for your face and the other side for your tush! Throw some branding and fun colors on it as well as a full-size sample of the product and your blogger kit is ready to go.
The blogger kit was a success with bloggers across the nation sharing their pics of the towel as well as (and more importantly) their thoughts on the product! With over 5,000 product reviews – this campaign has definitely done it’s job.
Written by: Heather Johnson
Who needs paper when you can draw on thin air? Behold the 3Doodle, a new pen that allows you to create drawings in 3D.
Borrowing from 3D printer technology, this new pen replaces ink with melted plastic to create 3D objects before your very eyes. You can draw normally by pressing the pen to paper, but when you lift it into the air, the pen keeps drawing. A tiny fan in the nib hardens the plastic, solidifying it into a 3D object.
So what’s next for this remarkable technology? How about a pen that uses the same technology to create edible art? The company that produced the pen is working on a version that draws in sugar, so your doodles are not just 3D, but also delicious.
Willy Wonka, eat your chocolate river out.
Fortunately for the future of our children, leaders from America’s public and private sectors have taken notice and are taking action. The First Lady, Michelle Obama, has rallied a number of organizations including Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA), the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD) and Nike, to create a groundbreaking program, Let’s Move! Active Schools. The program provides schools across the country with the resources to offer a healthy environment for kids to be active. On February 28, the First Lady returned to Chicago to launch the campaign.
Utilizing every inch of McCormick Place, America’s 2nd largest convention center, the WH, in cooperation with the Mayor’s office, put the invite out. And the Chicago Public School district accepted in record numbers. Almost 6,000 students and 700 chaperones showed up for the monumental event, not to mention the 150+ media members. Students arrived early, spending their time learning a choreographed workout-dance and created a mural for Mrs. Obama with drawings of their favorite activities and pledges on how they would stay healthy. All of this happened while they awaited appearances from a variety of Special guests. Little did they know, this was just the beginning. They weren’t just going to see a show. They were going to be in the show.
While the kids danced and drew – unbeknownst to the press – on the other side of the air wall the First Lady and Nike CEO, Mark Parker, addressed the media. Olympic Sprinter Allyson Felix served as emcee as Mrs. Obama, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Rahm Emmanuel spoke on the issue at hand. With the touch of the button, the curtain behind them disappeared letting loose a stream of kids. They poured in front of the stage, engulfed the media and cameras, and created a backdrop that will not soon be forgotten.
The first scream was Bieber-Fever-esque as a bevvy of athletes flooded the stage to demonstrate how, and why, its so important to stay active. Bo Jackson began, followed by the likes of Dominique Dawes, Colin Kaepernick, Bob Harper (The Biggest Loser), Serena Williams, Gabby Douglas, Paul Rodriguez, Ashton Eaton and Sarah Reinertsen. Then, Mrs. Obama came dancing onto the stage and the reaction from the kids was one of unbelievable excitement. After a passionate message of encouragement and inspiration, everyone got moving and the dancing ensued. At the conclusion the kids were surprised with a performance by Jordin Sparks as the finale.
There were smiles all around. Some if the success was immediate. Part of the success will come five years from now when 50,000 schools nationwide have recess again thanks to LMAS. But true success will be a healthy outlook for this generation, a future unimaginable without this unique partnership.
Written by: Pete Cohen
Getting an egg carton in the mail is not the kind of thing you easily forget. But it is the kind of thing you’ll tell your friends about.
That’s exactly what the Cincinnati office was going for when we created a direct mail piece for Land O’Lakes Eggs in the shape of a half-dozen egg carton. The fact that AAF Cincinnati recognized the work with a Silver ADDY Award (Direct Marketing, B-to-B or Consumer category) was pretty cool, too.
“This is a piece we are particularly proud of and I’m so happy the team was recognized for their work. Disruption is key — when you can get the consumer to smile before seeing the brand message, the stickiness of the communication is far greater…and far more shareable,” said MKTG INC’s VP of Creative, Paulette Yarosz.
Yarosz, Senior Designer Kelleen Bradley, Senior Copywriter Amy Lozier and Account Supervisor Amy Curtis worked together on this custom piece that reached 20,000 homes across the United States. It was so engaging that 65% of its recipients redeemed their coupons for a FREE carton of Land O’Lakes Eggs. And 100% of affected postal workers said, “What the…?”*
The mailer was part of an integrated word-of-mouth marketing campaign that included an online microsite with product information, reviews and an Egghead trivia game. The site garnered 147,000 page views, 69,000 unique visitors and 44,000 Egghead players.**
**No egg puns were harmed in the creation of this post
Written by: Amy Lozier
(Photo Credit: DC Comics)
It is a sad day for the comic book world, as another tragic event has befallen our beloved Dark Knight.
DC Comics (which boasts titles like Batman, Superman and Justice League) has shown lately it’s not afraid to take huge risks. Just over a year ago, they embarked on a highly publicized, highly successful relaunch called “The New 52,” which re-debuted every title at #1 and put DC back on the map (and onto the New York Times best-seller list). Perhaps seeking to capitalize on their renewed popularity, DC is once again shocking the world by killing off one of their most recognizable players; Robin: The Boy Wonder (Batman’s kid sidekick).
Although you may be familiar with the character, what you may not know is that his alter ego has changed. This Robin is not Dick Grayson (the original Boy Wonder), but actually Batman’s own son, Damian Wayne.
For comic book fans, this is personal, as Damian was rapidly becoming a fan favorite. When first introduced in 2006 by acclaimed writer Grant Morrison, Damian was often portrayed as tough, brilliant, disobedient, entitled, violent and rash (much to the chagrin of his super hero dad). He was also a world class detective and martial artist by the age of 10.
Although you’ll have to pick up a copy of Batman Incorporated #8 to discover how Damian meets his fate, Morrison was clear in saying that the young sidekick goes out as an undisputed hero. Oh, and in case you’re wondering why he felt it was necessary to kill Robin? Morrison replied, ” because what son could ever hope to replace Batman?”
As gloomy as this situation may seem for fans, there is a silver lining. Superheroes who die rarely stay dead in the comic book realm, and if history has taught us anything, young Damian will return one day. However, whether or not he’ll don the Robin costume ever again is anyone’s guess.