Even more of me to read

Friday, 26 October 2007

The 9-to-5er just started up a company blog, so I will now be blogging about copywriting and SEO stuff over there as well. More technical and businessy, a little more censored, but definitely some good stuff about content and writing for the web-with some social media and Facebook thrown in, of course.

I’ll still be blogging here, where I can say whatever I want (and more frequently very soon, I swear), but check out the AMPloyee blog for some excellent insight on design, development, PPC and search engine marketing.

Shameless plug, but I figured I’d share some of what I do at work.

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It’s official, I’m a geek

Friday, 19 October 2007

Last night I attended the Boston Blogger Dinner and finally came to terms with the fact that I am a geek. A girlie geek, but still. I truly love what I do and feel very lucky that I get paid to write and put my creativity to good use. Talking to so many other bloggers who are as excited by the same things that I go crazy over was really, really cool.

I met a bunch of people and had tons of interesting conversations, and was pleasantly surprised at the number of women in attendance. I often feel outnumbered and ignored as a woman on the web, so it was nice to hear what other women deal with. Alyssa and Amanda each gave me their perspective on how they deal in this male-dominated field.

I’m inspired to be more aggressive, or assertive, or something; whatever you want to call it, what I really took away from last night was how to better stand up for my ideas and back up my opinions. ‘Cuz I know I’m right, so it’s up to me to make sure everyone else does too.

I’m now officially “out” as a geek, and I’m cool with that. I’m even excited for podcamp.

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Blonde as a marketing strategy

Thursday, 18 October 2007

reese-witherspoon-wallpapers-1.jpgI’ve been contemplating dying my hair for awhile now, and last night I came thisclose to doing it. Dark. REAL dark. I figured it was time for a change; I’ve spent my whole life identifying myself as a blonde (yes, it started out natural…no one knows for sure what color I’d be now, not even my hairdresser). I had nearly talked myself into it too, running through a list of actresses who look amazing as both platinum blondes and a deep brunettes. Reese Witherspoon Walked the Line from Legally Blonde to chestnut brown.simpson.jpg Why couldn’t I?

Because blonde has become part of my identity; it’s how I define myself. I’ve spent a large part of my life playing up the dumb blonde stereotype, using it to my advantage and preying on people’s assumptions of me, than surprising them once they thought they had me figured out. Our culture is full of blonde jokes, and I played into every single one of them. I bought the t-shirts, idolized the ditzy blonde celeb of the week. But at some point, being blonde stopped being one of many adjectives to describe me and became my blondemakeup1.jpgmain definition. I was a blonde-fun, flirty, über female.

Just look at my blog; it’s built on this “catch them off guard” idea. I’ve branded myself as a blonde in every dumb-blonde-lip1.gifaspect of my life. But at what point does this blonde brand stop being an extension of one as a person and completely take over?

Blonde has become a marketing strategy; not even being blonde, just blonde. It is no longer a physical trait, but a way of life, a personality brunettes.jpgtype. There are tons of products that play to our advertiser-driven “blondes have more fun” philosophy.

Blonding works in much the same way that “pinkwashing” does; turn any product you can into some type of blonde joke or reference and watch sales soar. The brunette backlash brought a whole new slew of pro-brunette and anti-blonde products that merely perpetuate the worn out “blondes are better” ideal.


Essentially, advertisers are pitting women against each other to sell clichéd t-shirts that advertise that blondes are stupid and brunettes are boring. I’ll admit that I laugh, and even ocassionally buy, these shirts, I’m old enough to know better. When The Limited Too starts peddling pre-teens this propaganda, it’s a much bigger issue.

No one wears shirts that say proudly proclaim they are tall, or short; see through blue eyes or brown; or were blessed with natural curls. Why the fascination with blondes? This Aryan ideal is still intact, only now we’ve put a Barbie doll spin on it and mass marketed it as fashion. I’m not denying that the shirts are cute, but we need to be aware of what we’re wearing.

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Great marketing, better cause

Thursday, 04 October 2007

pink_img.gifAs I’m sure most people have figure out, October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, which, in my opinion, is simply a marketing ploy to sell women more stuff and make them feel less guilty about it. Don’t get me wrong, I fully support breast cancer research and awareness-I just don’t think that’s what this campaign is really about.

Every year, retailers cash in on philanthropic females with a propensity for pink. Call me cynical if you want, but 10% of proceeds for one month on one randomly rose-hued item is not a very sizeable charitable contribution for most major brands. So really what alison-driscoll-gal.jpgthey’re doing is making a whole bunch of normal stuff pink to designate them as breast cancer donation items, when in fact they are simply marketing to a large segment of the population who will buy anything because it’s pink, and have been tricked into thinking they are supporting a good cause.

So that’s my issue with using breast cancer to sell useless consumer products. Now, on to a much better use of your hard-earned money and our beloved internet-the Design-her-Gals Virtual Breast Cancer Walk. This walk benefits the Gal to Gal Foundation, which uses the funds to improve the lives of women diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer, the most advanced and invasive type of breast cancer.

The Gal-to-Gal walk does several things very well, for fundraising and for the internet. First, they kept the donation low-$3 to alison-driscoll-simpsons.jpgregister, with the option to donate more. Definitely doable for anybody with internet access.

Second, they created a virtual event, one of the next big things for the internet. These are really cool when they’re done well, really easy and very viral. Basically, a marketing hat trick. I’ve been pushing one of these types of events at the 9-to-5er, and this walk definitely validated my ideas.

Third, they made the site highly interactive and fun, encouraging people to come back every day to learn trivia on the city they’re “walking” through and search for friends, real or virtual. Both of these features give the site high word of mouth potential, which also raises their fundraising potential.

Finally, Gal-to-Gal cashed in on the avatar craze, a key part of any alison-driscoll-southpark.jpgvirtual event. Designing a little mini-you is fun; just look at the popularity of the South Park character generator or the Simpsons avatar creator. People love to look at themselves, and this is just another expression of that. Or, you can think of it as paper dolls for grown ups.

Either way, anything that lets people create virtual versions of themselves is almost sure to be a hit. Combine that with some social interaction and a cause people can get behind, and you have a nearly sure-fire marketing plan. The true test is whether it works in the real…er, virtual…world.

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