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Happy 7th Birthday Facebook!

4 Feb

Today is Facebook’s 7th anniversary and I wanted to take some time to look back at the highs and lows of everyone’s favorite (or most hated) social networking site. Facebook has worked its way into our lives and has become a vital tool for most of our social interactions. How did people used to flirt before you could poke, wall post or private message your crush? I certainly don’t remember. We have all creeped, befriended, unfriended and blocked people – sometimes all of those repeatedly with the same person in the span of a few weeks. Our lives were never as exposed as they are on Facebook, but let’s be honest and not blame Zuckerberg for everything — we share as much as we want. I remember when I first heard of Facebook I was still living in Venezuela and my friend who went to university in New York showed me the site. Being the same internet nerd that I am now, I wanted to join without even knowing its purpose. I waited until my acceptance at U of T — in those days you could only sign up with a college or university email — and joined The Facebook (back when it had the article preceding it) with my academic email address. I had approximately 10 friends for about 5 months and you could only see a picture and some basic info.

I was still so excited about it I told everyone in my dorm — by December of 2005 I had more than 300 friends — and high school students were in it too. Then we started poking and uploading our 60-picture-limit albums, and began spending more time looking at people’s party pictures rather than going to actual parties. I feel like I’ve been to Asia just because I’ve seen about a quarter million pictures of the Full Moon party in Vietnam.

In 2006 the News Feed was introduced, and that just expedited everyone’s creeping abilities. You didn’t even have to search for the contacts anymore since all their current activity was presented to you as soon as you logged in. And then people complained — like they do every time there is some new change — because it was too cluttered and full of undesired information, while others protested it made it too easy to track your ex-boyfriends relationship status. Since then Zuckerberg has allowed us to keep some privacy to ourselves and to those we don’t mind seeing and judging our every move.
Now seven years after it was launched and six years since I have been on it, I can say Facebook is my link to many of my friends close and far. Its how I invite people to parties and how I get informed of them. Everyone I know has Facebook or has had it at some point, and whether we like it or not it was valued at $50 billion and 600 million people are registered on it. So, Facebook, we might hate you for being intrusive and gossipy but in the end we are all so into you… Happy Birthday!

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Social Media and Social Change: The Egyptian Crisis

2 Feb


Last week’s events in Egypt and Tunisia made everyone talk and tweet about the role of social networking in a socio-political crisis. As a Venezuelan, I am fully aware of the power of social networking when the media and conventional channels of information are distrusted and compromised by the government. But in this particular scenario, are we giving the Internet an omnipotent role in the cause of a grassroots revolution, when really more credit should be given to the courage of Egyptians that mobilized people without the internet? I personally believe that what we have witnessed the past week is that revolution happens from passion and the will of people and it is not a function of any technology.

Last week the Egyptian government took the unprecedented step of shutting down the internet and yet larger and more encompassing protests continue to take place. Of course, I am not saying that social networks did not play a catalytic role in the beginning, because they did. Instantaneous information lines connected Egyptians inside and outside of their country and aided in the massive protests. Activists agree that many of these social networks served as support and life lines so critical that the government felt the need to stop them.

Yesterday the “march of millions” took place without the help of any social networking sites. More than two million protesters gathered in Cairo’s Midan Tahrir’s square. Cutting across entrenched lines of piety, class and ideology they united for a common message: Leave Mubarak. Sarah Topol from Slate Magazine interviewed one of the protesters, who responded “By bringing 2 million people to the square, we sent Mubarak a message. We can bring 2 million. Next week, we’ll bring 6 million. There’s no Internet, no SMS, no Facebook, but we did it anyway. We built this without any tools. … That means people can do whatever they want. That’s the point—and the message.”

Internet is restored now in Egypt. I guess the government understood that the people of Egypt are far more powerful and not dependent on social networking.

This is an interesting video on Egypt’s Internet Revolution. Check it out!

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Coca-Cola’s 5 by 20

19 Jan

This might not be breaking news, however had to share it with all of you. Coca-Cola’s 5 by 20 Initiative is in my opinion one of the most brilliant ways for a company like Coca-Cola to work on their public image and actually make a long lasting positive impact. Usually when we think of Coke, nothing but calories, rotting teeth, diabetes, child obesity and sugar comes to mind. However at a plenary session on empowering women at the Clinton Global Initiative, Muhtar Kent, chairman and chief executive officer of The Coca-Cola Company, made a promise in the name of the conglomerate to empower 5 million women entrepreneurs throughout Coca-Cola’s global business system by 2020.

How are they going to do this? The initiative is based on the company’s Micro Distribution Centers (MDCs) in Africa. MDCs are an independent network of entrepreneurs who distribute Coca-Cola’s beverage products to shops and restaurants, often by bicycle, pushcart and in the better cases small trucks. Women play a part in the MCD sometimes as partners to their husbands and in some cases as the main entrepreneurs. Coca-Cola provides training, support and resources for these businesswomen to confidently and successfully run their business. This partnership benefits their families, their communities and of course Coca-Cola.

The success of this initiative not only will provide Coca-Cola with a better distribution network in the participating communities but will also create guaranteed brand loyalty and product placement opportunities (in the cars, bicycles, pushcarts, retailers etc.) Most importantly Coca-Cola will be associated with the well being of the communities in which women are becoming strong, prosperous while creating more jobs and financial stability. What a change from the rotting teeth association!

Here is the website with the video which was presented through TED Talks division for women. The video portrays the whole idea of 5 by 20 through the lives of 3 women who are excelling as MDCs.

The Pink Pony Case Study and John St.

19 Jan

As a marketing post-grad student eager to get out in the world and start working at an innovative agency or company I cannot tell you how excited I was to learn about John St. This Toronto based agency is exactly what I have been day dreaming about while in class. John St. is the type of place where creativity is their main weapon- by excelling and relying on it to deliver well manicured marketing strategies and shape brands into unignorable signifiers.

Their business goal is clear and simple not a convoluted mess of self-centered ideals, they measure their success with that of their clients. With less than 10 years in the industry and with clients as big as AstraZeneca, The Bay and Holiday Inn in their portfolio, one can say they are reaching their goals and going an extra mile.

A showcase of their creative ability is the video they put together to portray their services in a brilliant manner. The Pink Pony Case Study displays all the elements of a successful marketing campaign, by exemplifying this in a human and accessible manner they not only demonstrate their abilities but introduce the viewer to the type of experience that their services provide.

Please enjoy the video here

Advertising Week

18 Jan

It starts next week and I am very excited with all the exciting events that are taking place! Unfortunately I am in class or working for most of them ( so mad I am missing Agency Wars II). I am at least going to go to one of the Speaker Series Event: Five for Five. In which five of MDC Partners Top Thought Leaders discuss the latest, greatest, game changing thing they are working on now and how they will affect the industry.

This is a great opportunity for your professionals in the industry as well as newbies like me to get their foot, learn something from these pros and perhaps make some valuable connections.

The events are taking place in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Halifax and Edmonton. Here in Toronto they start in exactly a week- so log on to http://www.advertisingweek.ca/ and check out ( and sign up) the events that fit your schedule.

Hope to see some of you there with your business cards ready!

The race for marketshare in the Smartphone world

16 Jan

The race of the smartphones

Seeing that mobile technology is the rising trend in marketing, let’s take a look into what smartphones are leading the race for marketshare.