The Science of the #TwitPitch

October 30, 2009

There are those of us (not me) who are excellent artists – like those people on cop shows that can draw a perfect rendition of the face of someone they have never met based on a description given by someone who was standing 100 yards away (“he had a nose… hair, it might have been brown – or black – maybe dark blonde.  Glasses, I think – but definitely eyes”).   There are those that are great writers – Shakespeare, Mark Twain, Perez Hilton (ok – maybe not so much with Perez – but he’s funny… usually).  And now, there is a new breed of greatness developing.   Those who are social-media mavens.  They can use Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to do ridiculously amazing things, whereas I can only use them for what they were initially designed for – a way to keep in touch with friends and family.  There are those among us who are making a huge impact on the world we live in with 140 characters and the click of a button… comparatively, by the end of this sentence it will have taken me 196 words to get to the main point of this blog – and so, without further ado – I bring to you… the #TWITPITCH!

Kind of.  But first – a history lesson.

About a year ago, a journalist named Stowe Boyd decided that he no longer wanted to be pitched stories through the traditional means of e-mail and phone calls.  He preferred the 140 character method of Twitter.  By being able to pitch an idea in 140 characters (or less!) a PR professional should, ideally, be able to convey their entire message quickly and concisely.  According to the article from PR Daily, at least 2  other journalists have picked up on the trend, and encourage PR professionals to pitch them only via Twitter.

Taking a different approach – many companies are now turning to social-media to promote their brands; many companies are posting YouTube demonstrations of their products, almost every company has a Facebook “fan” page ( apparently I am a “fan” of a lot of things – including some things that have no relevance to my life what-so-ever), and lots of companies are taking up residence in the Twitterverse (which I tried to link to a definition, but apparently it doesn’t have an official one).  By using Twitter, companies are essentially able to pitch their new products and announcements directly to consumers, rather than just to reporters and editors.

And now, some real life application.

I had already started writing this blog when I was assigned the task of creating “10-15” twitpitches for one of our clients.  This particular client has one of their products in use in a very public place,  the plan is to blast a couple tweets out to the Twitterverse saying basically “hey if you’re here, check it out!”.   Perfect, I thought.  I am already “researching” twitpitches –  I’ll use this for my blog!  I figured that the assignment couldn’t be too hard – a couple quick short announcements of a fact.  EASY! Orrr not.

Here is what I have found (… well, decided).

Coming up with 140 characters of information is hard.  140 characters of “Hey I bought new shoes” is simple – see, I just did it!  But actually getting a message across takes some skill.  It took me about an hour to come up with 8 very different, but still informative and (hopefully) attention-grabbing tweets all focused around the same thing.  When you’re limited to 140 characters and you have to use the same basic words at least once in each tweet (obviously I had to mention the product and location each time, so those took up at least 20 of my characters) being creative is tough.

In theory, the twitpitch is great.  In practice – it’s astounding.  It costs nothing and assuming you’ve got a lot of followers, which a lot of companies do, you’re able to get your message out to lots of people.  Efficiency is key, however.  Telling the Twitterverse you’ve got a new product is cool, but linking to it is essential – and those links take up characters.  Making sure people know where they can find a product is important, but don’t forget to include the hashtags (ex: “#caster” – hashtags make words easily searchable through twitter).  Being able to tweet your product in 140 characters or less and have it be memorable and informative is practically an art form.  Do not take twitpitching lightly.  If you’re doing a great job of it, and using it sparingly – they could prove to be invaluable to your company.  If you are just bombarding your followers with links and “buy this now!” types of messages, you may find that you’re “unfollowed” pretty quickly.

Just for reference, below is an example of how long a 140 character tweet it.

DogWiggles has just released their most innovative dog leash yet and its only $40.  Buy it now at and have a happy pup.

(The link is fake – I made up a webaddress [I think] to show a shortened Twitter link, which people tend to use, rather than lengthy URLs.)

Notice that I didn’t include any hashtags, and it isnt exactly interesting.  But it’s all I could come up with in 140 characters and a fake product/company.

Posted by Courtney | Follow me on Twitter

Volkswagen and iPhone take advertising to a new level.

October 28, 2009

Volkswagen and iPhone are my brothers two favorite things and now they have officially come together.  Volkswagen has decided to be the first and only car dealer to advertise solely on the iPhone.  No magazine articles, no commercials only iPhone owners are going to be able to enjoy the advertisement that Volkswagen has to offer for their 2010 GTI’s.  The PR value is huge because this is the first of its kind.  What are the other dealerships thinking?

Instead of a simple advertisement Volkswagen went above and beyond, they made a one of a kind racing game through Firement Real Racing.  ‘Real Racing GTI’ is available to download on apples app store for free.  It allows you to choose from six different 2010 GTI’s and race them on VW tracks.  There is one major advantage to being an iPhone user and being able to play/ view this advertisement from VW, you have the chance to win one of six limited edition 2010 GTI’s.  If you win one or choose to purchase one of these GTI’s you will be able to view your music library from your iPhone right on the dashboard!

The next six weeks will be filled with VW junkies, including my brother on their iPhones playing this game because there is no limit to how often you race, and the highest score from each week will be the winner of a new 2010 GTI!  They have even gone a step further by allowing the players to upload their actual races to YouTube and the racers will also be allowed to access Twitter right from the game.

Volkswagen has made this their single advertising move for this car leaving people like me who don’t own an iPhone left out and actually rather sad.  They may be saving money on advertising and this may be an incredible PR approach to selling a car but to me it seems like they are shrinking their audience.   I have a strong feeling though that a lot of VW fans will be investing in an iPhone.   I guess it pays to own an iPhone.

Posted by: Kate the intern

Dear Santa, I would like the Kindle..I mean the Nook

October 27, 2009

There is approximately 59 days until Santa will be climbing down your chimney and if you are an avid reader requesting the Kindle as a gift, you might want to rethink your wish. On, Tuesday October 20th, Barnes & Noble introduced their equivalent of the Kindle: the Nook. Set to be released in November, the Nook is available for pre-order as of  last Tuesday evening.

Thus far, the Nook has proven to be a bit sassier then the Kindle. One of the major selling points of the Nook is that it can lend e-books to other Nook users or anyone who has the electronic book software. In the feature called ‘Lendme’, books can be shared free for up to two weeks. The books can be lended to users of iPhones, iPod touches, blackberries, Motorola smartphones, Macs or PCS. The lending is not just limited to books but any electronic print such as newspapers and magazines. Nook users can obtain these electronic print sources through the online book store that has been set up by Barnes & Noble. Also, when Nook users go to any Barnes & Noble Store, they have free internet connection, built in Wi-Fi, and can read any book in the store for free. Outside of the book stores, the Nook has internet access thanks to AT&T and runs on Google Android OS.

The Nook has a 3.5 inch color touch screen that has a keyboard that is used to help browse books and when reading the keyboard disappears. The text of the books is black and white. When reading the electronic material, users can use the bookmark features, highlight important quotes or use the dictionary. There is 2GB of internal storage and up to 16GB SB card storage can be added. Unlike the Kindle, the Nook weighs one ounce more. (The Kindle weighs 10.2 ounces whereas the Nook weighs 11.2 ounces.) The Nook also does not have the same battery life as the Kindle. (The Kindle’s battery life is 14 days and the Nook’s is 10 days.) Protective covers can  be purchased for the Nook. The covers come in different colors and styles allowing users to add personality to their Nook.

For the first 10,000 buyers of the Nook, they will receive a free copy of Malcolm Gladwell’s book The Tipping Point. Gladwell even made an appearance at the launch event that was held Tuesday evening in Manhattan. Details of the Nook was first reported by the Wall Street Journal after a source from the publication got to see an advertisement that is going to run in the New York Times this Sunday( 10/25).

While the Kindle may weigh more and not last as long as the Kindle, a huge selling point is that the Nook can share information. Torn as to which one you want Santa to bring you? Check out the Nook’s blog or the Kindle’s blog  for more information.


Can the Political Season Help Save Newspapers, TV and Radio?

October 26, 2009

The 2010 Political season is just around the corner, and we all know what that means: our favorite channels will be taken hostage by every Tom, Dick and Harry seeking political office.

I am not an avid political follower, nor do I enjoy in the least watching these commercials, but the one thing that I am utterly shocked by is the amount of money that is spent on advertising by these candidates.

In 2010, political ad spending is estimated to increase 11% and it $3.3 billion. Yes, I just said BILLION.

According to an article in Media Week,

The ad windfall, more than 60 percent of which will go to local TV, will be fueled by the election of 37 governors, 38 senators, every member of the House of Representatives and issue advertising (which could approach $1 billion) on hot-button issues such as health care.

Experts are predicting that this election year will just about equal the record setting $3.4 billion spent in 2006, as similar issues were on the campaign trail.

Honestly, I think the numbers in question are insane, but it means some much needed revenue to some markets that are struggling, such as TV, radio and newspapers. We all know that these media outlets are struggling and a political season is probably music to their ears.  

I don’t think that this alone will save these media outlets, but I do believe it will be a much needed boost.

Posted by: Lauren

A question of business ethics

October 23, 2009

Did you know that business ethics are a form of applied ethics that examines ethical principles and moral or ethical problems that arise in a business environment?

Though I may not have defined it that way, I certainly know what they are and I definitely know when they should be questioned.

I guess you only know in the moment if you can choose to do the right thing, and if you choose wrong what does that say about you? And then if others subsequently choose wrong because of the first ethical crisis, what becomes of them? It’s a slippery slope.

And one I am really glad not to be on.

posted by KDL | follow me on Twitter :  newscaster

Windows 7 Launches Today

October 22, 2009

The much anticipated Windows 7 launched today. And while the launch didn’t come with as much fanfare as previous new platform launches from Microsoft, this one is supposed to pack a pretty big punch.   

Vista was a disaster. Although I am a fan of the new design, operationally I beg for XP every time I get the “blue circle of death” – which always seems happens when I am on deadline. Over the past 2 years we have been submerged in Vista and all of its quirkiness. I now know that there are a few combinations of programs that will just NOT run at the same time (Photoshop with ANTYHING for instance). But I digress…

Windows 7 has been highly anticipated for the past year – especially in the custom channel. Media Centers have great potential. We all know that. But one of the biggest roadblocks has been the unpredictability of the Windows platform. Windows 7 is supposed to change all of that. And I really hope it does. Integrators have been anticipating the launch of Win 7 for some time, planning for it to help take their business to the next level and allow them to do things that weren’t previously possible. Over the past 6 months, many have even postponed specing in Media Centers because they are waiting for the new OS (Even though most manufacturers are offering free upgrade software) in anticipation of the new version being released.

I have yet to use it, but I am in the process of looking for a new laptop and decided to wait until Win 7 emerged. I’m interested to hear from the early adaptors on their thoughts about the new platform. Does it really solve the problems and glitches it is supposed to?

Posted by: Lauren Simmen

Audio One Wins 5 CEDIA Lifestyles Awards

October 21, 2009

Custom Home Theater, Whole Home Control and Elegant Design Merge in Three Gorgeous Homes

Audio One has received an incredible five 2009 CEDIA Industry Recognition Awards in honor of its outstanding home theater, media room and integrated home installations.

 “We are extremely honored that our peers have recognized our work on these projects,” said Audio One Founder and President David Frangioni. “Our clients demand the highest levels of quality, performance and attention to personal detail, and we consistently deliver systems that exceed their expectations.  I am honored to receive these awards.”

Overall, three projects accounted for the five awards. 

Large Home Theater – Technical Design Winner, Level VI Bronze ($391,000 – $670,000). This unusual project found Audio One with 17 days to redesign, install and set up an upgraded home theater. An added twist: The wealthy homeowner, who employs a full-time Crestron programmer, was in the process of building a new house with its own dedicated home theater, and used this project as an acid test to see how Audio One would perform under pressure. The end product of Audio One’s high-pressure cram session was incredibly high-performance, reference-quality audio and video that blends seamlessly with the home’s decor, as well as provides unprecedented security functionality. All told, Audio One says it’s one of the best theaters its staff has ever experienced. 

Media Room Technical Design, Bronze Technical Design Award; Integrated Home Level IX: $1,000,001 – $1,400,000, Level IX Silver Technical Design; Best Dressed System. The client for this triple-award winning collaboration wanted to turn an everyday media room into a top-notch, easy-to-use, crank-up-the-volume home theater that wasn’t a dark space like a traditional dedicated home theater. The catch: The media room was not located in a standalone house but in an apartment, so sound isolation was critical. This project required a high level of cooperation and collaboration between Audio One, an acoustic engineer, an architect, a general contractor, an HVAC contractor and an interior designer. The result, based around a Steinway-Lygndorf Model M surround system, is a stunning room-within-a-room with an ocean view that delivers a premium audio, video and control experience while being considerate of the needs of both the resident family and its neighbors. Yes, you can have a great home theater in an apartment. 

 Integrated Home Level VIII: $801,000 – $1,000,000, Level VIII Bronze Technical Design. The homeowners in this installation wanted a top-of-the-line home technology system that was intuitive, easy to use, fun and reliable. The system was expected to provide access points from several key locations in the apartment through which the homeowners could effortlessly manage audio, video, lighting, air conditioning and shades, and they wanted the ability to do so with no training necessary. To make the system sing, and to accommodate the homeowners’ high-design living space, Audio One worked closely with an interior designer on this project. Audio One dedicated several years to this project, but it was well worth the time: the result was extremely satisfied clients.

Credit: Myro Rosky

 Credit: Myro Rosky
Credit: Myro Rosky


Posted by Courtney | Follow me on Twitter