Hi! Driven mostly by Red Bull, I blog about advertising, technology, business and politics. Occasionally other stuff pops into my head and I blog about that, too. Visit my About Me page to read more about me professionally and personally. If you're a colleague, industry peer, or potential employer, please visit my LinkedIn profile to view my professional accomplishments.

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Ann Arbor Marketers Benefit From Growing Michigan Film Industry

Hilary Swank. Minnie Driver. Clive Owen. Drew Barrymore. Michael Cera (“Superbad” and “Juno”). What do these actors have in common? They all starred in films shot here in Washtenaw County this year.

The state of Michigan is building a burgeoning new film industry to rival Hollywood. Michigan offers the biggest film incentives in the nation, up to an incredible 42% tax break for films produced in the state. It’s a gamble that’s paying off.

Before the film incentives were passed, two movies were made in Michigan in 2007. In 2008, that number grew to 35, generating approximately $120 million in revenue for the state. Nearly $60 million went directly to Michigan residents who worked on those films. And this year - that number of movies has so far skyrocketed to 85. The film industry has created 3,000 new jobs for Michiganders, according to the Michigan Film Office. The trailblazing film incentives are clearly working.

Want to know how Ann Arbor marketers can get a slice of the pie and take advantage of Michigan's growing film industry? Read more at my blog for Concentrate Media.


Four Pratical Reasons to Buy an iPad

Reason #1: 80% of the time I use my laptop is for surfing the web. The iPad was built exceptionally well for surfing the web - and making it fun.

Reason #2: My wife said "Wow" the moment she picked it up and held it in her hands. I didn't even have to sell her on it...that's a big plus for a tech gadget geek like myself.

Reason #3: It has an amazingly long battery life - something like 10 hours. That alone makes it far more portable and more web-surfable than my laptop.

Reason #4: The iPad boots up instantly. No more waiting half a minute to fire up Internet Explorer. With its great looks and form factor, the iPad deserves to be placed in the living room right next to the TV remote control. It'd be a disservice to shove the iPad in the office. Imagine watching TV and having something spark your interest and being able to reach over and get to the Web immediately.


Intelligent Logo Design

A friend of mine forwarded me an email I found interesting -

This simple looking logo actually carries a lot of information. First of all you can see the letters N and W, the first two letters of the brand name. But what most people don't see is the compass that points to the Northwest, another reference to the brand name.

Do you see any arrows on FedEx’s logo? I saw it a few times at other site saying that there’s an arrow hidden in the FedEx arrow, but I couldn’t find it. I have now know where it is, it’s your turn to find. The clue is that the arrow is located in between the alphabet E and X, and the arrow is white, acting as a background.

Toblerone is a chocolate-company from Bern, Switzerland. Bern is sometimes called ‘The City Of Bears". They have incorporated this idea in the Toblerone logo, because if you look closely, you'll see the silhouette of a bear.

Sony Vaio is a well known brand of laptops.  But did you know that the name Vaio logo also had a hidden meaning? Well, the first two letters represent the basic analogue signal. The last two letters look like a 1 and 0, representing the digital signal.



Nominate Ann Arbor for Google Fiber

What is harder to believe? That viral marketing resulted in 1,700 people RSVP'ing for the event? Or that it was pulled together in four days?

At the A2 Fiber YouTube contest kickoff, Tom Crawford (CFO of Ann Arbor) said that one of the considerations that weighs heavily in Google's decision where to award the Google Fiber contract is community endorsement. The City is doing it's part to write the proposal - crossing all the T's and dotting all the I's. At the town hall assembly, the City was looking for further community support. A number of us answered the call.

Like many other local organizations, the Ann Arbor Ad Club fully supports the City's efforts to bring Google Fiber here. We decided to tap into our talent and resources to spread the word. Our members are marketing communication professionals, PR people, etc. We are masters in communicating information to people. We will help the City communicate Google Fiber to people.

That kicked off the initiative for Google Fest. We all had been reading in the New York Times about what other cities were doing to court Google. In Duluth, Minnesota for instance, the mayor jumped in a freezing lake to show his City's support and how much they wanted Google Fiber there. Topeka, Kansas temporarily changed their name to Google, Kansas. A city in Florida had their mayor swim with sharks. Every city was trying to one-up the other with high-profile publicity stunts. Some seemed to grovel to desperate measures to capture Google's attention.

We needed something different. Brandon Wallace is a University of Michigan Law student. Like me, he held a previous event to increase public awareness and drive public action to show support. We decided to do a joint event - something bigger than either of us could accomplish alone. We called it Google Fest.

With the support of many individuals, organizations, and businesses, we created a grassroots movement. Brandon and I had never met - we heard about each other's event from the City - and over the next 4 days we would speak a dozen times a day until we met for the first time at Google Fest. In 48 hours, the Google Fest Facebook event page had hundreds of people RSVP'd. Brandon and I worked effortlessly with each other, and tirelessly in our single-minded focus: to catapult Ann Arbor's fiber fight to the national level. We wanted Ann Arbor to get picked up in the New York Times like other highly-publicized cities like Duluth and Topeka. We wanted to capture Google's attention.

Chad Wiebesick revving up the rally.Ultimately, Google Fest exceeded our wildest expectations. Over 1,700 people had RSVP'd with another 1,300 interested in attending. It caught the Mayor's attention, and he cleared his schedule to attend the Flash Mob kickoff (and, he joined in with the A2 Fiber anthem!). Hundreds and hundreds of people (some press reports say over 600 people were there) participated in the 3-minute flash mob at 11:57 am...singing and dancing the A2 Fiber anthem. Check out some really cool photos in the Google Fest photo gallery.

Google Fest was widely covered by TV, radio, and newspaper media including: Atlanta Journal, San Francisco Chronicle, Fox 2 News Detroit, Channel 4, Channel 7 ABC Action News Detroit, WOLV-TV, Ann Arbor's 107.1 FM, Michigan NPR radio, AnnArbor.com, Ann Arbor Journal, The Michigan Daily, and others. And it was picked up by the New York Times and the Associated Press.


Google Changes Name to Topeka

Google changed its name to Topeka, according to its blog, to honor Topeka Kansas' effort to woo Google Fiber to their town by changing their name to Google. Don't worry...this is an clever April Fool's joke. Oh, and as an aside, the New York Times journalist that wrote about what cities are doing to get Google's attention (Topeka, Kansas; Duluth, Minnesota, Peoria, IL) included Ann Arbor's own Google Fest. There is only one photo that accompanies the article - and it is Ann Arbor's Google Fest.