“Let me take a Selfie.”

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Some people are early adopters of tech gadgets, I’m a late adopter of any software update ever known to man for my phone or computer. I can’t count the number of times I select, “Remind me later.” So, when I got a new phone with iOS 9 and imported my pictures, I was surprised by many photos auto-sorting into a folder called Selfies. I learned that this folder is pre-defined by Apple and there’s no way to delete it. I asked around and many of my friends had a similar experience! Is this a smart way to increase the amount of Selfies people take? Maybe. It’s at least one way to create a database of people’s portraits.

In 2013, “Selfie” was named Oxford Dictionary’s Word of the Year, and has since swelled in popularity, becoming the name of a 13 episode TV show by ABC and a fun song by the Chainsmokers. New gadgets like selfie sticks are available in any fine retailer near you. Some say this is evidence that we live in a culture increasingly interested in ‘me’. But, self-portraits  are some of the most popular types of paintings and have been around since ancient Greek and Egyptian times. Today, most Americans carry a ready-made artist in their pocket that can produce a self-portrait in 1.5 seconds flat. Good thing Apple has now created a way to organize them!

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Reimagining Barbie: Mattel asks your little girl, “What do you want to be?”

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Barbie goes back to its roots for a new marketing push this holiday season. Barbie’s creator, Ruth Handler, explained, “my whole philosophy behind Barbie was that, through the doll, the little girl could be anything that she wanted to be. Barbie always represented the fact that a woman has choices.”

What are do you do when your sales are dropping and your competitors’ products are more high-tech? 1.) Repurpose the reason for your product and 2.) Come up with some really impactful lifestyle marketing to show how your product can empower little girls. Perhaps inspired by campaigns like the Always #likeagirl, Mattel and Barbie join the conversation about girl empowerment.

Take a look at the ad that caught the attention of many (it was noted on the Adweek leaderboard for being one of the most watched ads in October of 2015) .

As a toy maker, you have a duel purpose in your marketing efforts, to interest children and win the wallets of their parents. Toy marketers often default to the nagging abilities of children, but this tactic has been exhausted on Barbie — a 56-year-old product. Instead, it seems the new marketing efforts hope to win the hearts of their parents so that they push Doctor Barbie or Professor Barbie to their children.

The jury is out on whether or not this campaign will cause an uptick in Barbie sales this season, but its timely release right before the holiday shopping season is no doubt geared toward getting Barbie in the hands of millions of dreaming little girls.

Native Ads & Context

While checking the weather today, I came across an ad that made me giggle, mostly because it contrasted so well with the forecast. See here:

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Imagine yourself building a fire pit in a small 12′ by 6′ backyard in 47 degrees in the pouring rain.  That might make you giggle too.

Sometimes you hit, sometimes you miss. If you could dynamically change the ad content based on the moment to moment conditions outside at a users location that would be impressive.

Brand Confusion? Just Alpha Up. That’s What Google Did.

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When the name of your company has become the verb that everyone and (quite literally) their mother uses to talk about searching for something, you’re going to face a lot of difficulty introducing a new product line like tech’s best Utopian dreams.

And just to make sure you don’t run out of opportunities for naming of these new lines, you’ll need to pick something that’s multi-faceted, universal and just as unique as your current brand. It’s got to be something that everyone can relate to and recognize as fundamental, foundational and necessary for every day life.

Enter, Alphabet. What other name can you think of that has 26 pre-included hooks (read: letters) to name businesses and services after. While Google hasn’t made an official statement saying that they intend to designate a venture under each letter, Tech Crunch takes a stab at listing possibilities.

Among the most interesting alphabetical call-outs are Calico, a bio-engineering fountain of hoped youth, Makani, kites that take advantage of wind power and Vehicles (Google self-driving car). Coming later to the story during the week we learned, BMW, which is also owns an Alphabet of its own suited up and delivered A-B-Cs of their Alphabet service, you can see it here.

Whether the search giant is merely keeping with their consistent theme of fundamentals or strategically chose a name that opens their brand to many possibilities, only time will tell. What’s for sure is that they’re willing to step on the toes of BMW and an eCommerce-based distributor (think: everything you need from a to z) in their new larger than life branding schema.

T-Mobile Ups the Stakes in the #NeverSettle Match

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While AT&T and Verizon are duking it out for customers, T-Mobile jumps into the fight to give consumers yet another option. Calling itself, the “un-carrier,” the telecommunications company is looking to persuade diehard Verizon fans to switch to their service with this tempting offer: try the T-mobile network risk free BEFORE switching.

The #neversettle trial offer started in the middle of May and will extend until June 27th allowing Verizon customers to port their numbers to the T-Mobile network for 14 days. If trialers like their experience, T-mobile will pay for their early terminations fees sanctioned by Verizon (that’s up to $650.00!). Even, if they decide not to go with T-mobile, T-mobile will pay any Verizon re-activation charges.

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The average consumer can be set adrift by any ad campaign that keys into their instinctual needs and desires (read: I need cheap phone service). But, when you throw in benefit-rich, emotionally-driven, value-compatible messaging (read: We’ll take care of you and give you the freedom you desire, we’re the “un-carrier”), even the savviest technophile may start to consider alternative options.

What’s of more interest is T-mobile’s use of the same hashtag that Verizon featured in their commericals: #Neversettle. Hashtags aren’t trademarked or reserved in any way (at least not yet) and they are an easy way to catalogue all of the conversations that are happening and content that’s being created surrounding the topic. What’s more, T-Mobile has turned the #neversettle hashtag on it’s head to include #NeversettleforVerizon.

What’s great about America is that our advertisements are far less regulated that other countries. You’d never get away with directly challenging the competition in other countries’ campaigns.

See the #Neversettleforverzion ad here:

Will you give T-Mobile a try this month? I probably won’t, but, I do applaud them on their savvy campaign execution.

Vacation Season is Here – Brush Up on Your Fun-Management Skills [Infographic]

Whether you are putting on your autoresponder and heading down to the beach or pressing play on some new email marketing programs this summer, snatch up these project (a.k. fun) management tips for delightful productivity all season long.

Planning an Email Campaign vs. Planning a Vacation #Infographic

Brought to you by GetResponse Email Marketing