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Jun 2, 2009

Michelob Joins Keg Party at Twitter, but Will Its Tweets Draw Heat?

Trouble May Follow A-B, Given Age-Verification Flap That Felled Bud.TV

Being asked how old they are isn't likely to deter underage drinkers desperate to read Michelob's tweets, which focus on beer styles and food pairings and the like. But it does underscore how carefully alcohol marketers -- required by industry guidelines to limit ad messages to venues where at least 70% of the audience is of legal drinking age -- are treading into Twitter.

Alcohol Twitter
Michelob is A-B's only tweeting brand, while its chief rival, MillerCoors, has yet to use Twitter at all for marketing purposes. "It's appealing to us, but we're looking at how we'd wash it against the marketing code," said a MillerCoors spokesman.

Tom Shipley, senior director-digital marketing at A-B, said the brewer is using Twitter "because our adult consumers increasingly want to have a conversation with us." He said asking would-be followers how old they are is consistent with the age checks the brewer uses on its branded websites.

Age-verification concerns with online media have flummoxed A-B before. Its much-touted Bud.tv site, on which it spent millions creating its own content, was ultimately undermined by a vigorous firewall that checked viewers' age claims against databases of state IDs, in some cases keeping out of-age consumers. Yet activists and state attorneys general said A-B wasn't doing enough to keep underage users off the site, leaving the No. 1 brewer in a lose-lose situation.

'Lack of dignity'
It wouldn't be hard for brewers and distillers to provoke a similar backlash regarding social networks. "Twitter is for kids, and this is a way to put these brand names in their faces," said George Hacker, director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, which lobbies for more restrictions on alcohol marketing. "This is just the latest example of a lack of real dignity in the industry."

And that's in response to relatively few efforts from older-skewing brands such as Michelob and Beam Global's upscale Tres Generaciones line extension of its Sauza tequila brand, which retails for upward of $40 a bottle.

Beam, which adopted more-stringent codes for its marketing in 2007, has created a Twitter persona for deceased tequila patriarch Don Cenobio Sauza.

Peter Wijk, senior director-global tequilas at Beam, said Twitter is a perfect fit with Beam's word-of-mouth-driven approach to brand marketing, which puts the company's entire marketing budget in the service of creating chatter about its brands. "We want to have brands people want to talk about, and social media is an excellent way to start a dialogue," he said.

But can Beam, which earned plaudits in 2007 by adopting tougher marketing standards than the spirits industry requires, do that without skirting its own guidelines? Mr. Wijk said it can, noting that Twitter provides the company with demographics information that shows that more than 75% of the people reading its communications are of legal drinking age.

Still, he said, social media is not a risk-free proposition for brewers and distillers. Sauza, he said, has spawned a series of fan pages on Facebook and other corners of the internet, and there's no guarantee those sites will show the brand in a good light, or to the right audience. "You do let go of some control in social media," he said. "In our industry, that can be somewhat worrying."

Jun 1, 2009

Google Wave Drips With Ambition. A New Communication Platform For A New Web.

Ed: Despite the excitement:

  • What is Wave? The flash features aside, Wave tries to replace SMTP and POP, with a new infrastructure. No chance.
  • Wave is realtime structure for storing documents and edits in pieces, allowing many to edit and view at the same time; and playback of the edits. How often do we need realtime edit? Not often. How complex is this hack? Very.
  • Will it scale to hundreds of participants? Problably not. Thus, it does not address the Facebook model of friends, or Twitter's new publishing model - Apples to Oranges.
  • Even with a slick interface full of cheap thrills, will enterprises that are using Lotus or Sharepoint rip out their infrastructure and training to use Wave? Too expensive.
  • Will enterprises that are not using collaboration suddenly feel the impulse to try? Not likely.
  • Will small technology businesses adopt quickly? Absolutely.
In summary, Wave has its place, but won't be the big wave that they or the public hopes to see. If they execute poorly, it'll be a wave that disappears pretty quickly. Just an opinion.

by MG Siegler on May 28, 2009

google_wave_logoYesterday, during the Google I/O keynote, Google’s VP of Engineering, Vic Gundotra, laid out a grand vision for the direction Google sees the web heading towards with the move to the HTML 5 standard. While we’re not there yet, all the major browser players besides Microsoft are aligned and ready for the next phase, which will include such things as the ability to run 3D games and movies in the browser without additional plug-ins. But Google wants to take it one step further with a brand new method of communication for this new era. It’s called Google Wave.

Everyone uses email and instant messaging on the web now, but imagine if you could tie those two forms of communication together and add a load of functionality on top of it. At its most fundamental form, that’s essentially what Wave is. Developed by brothers Lars and Jens Rasmussenand Stephanie Hannon out of Google’s Sydney, Australia offices, Wave was born out of the idea that email and instant messaging, as successful as they still are, were both created a very long time ago. We now have a much more robust web full of content and brimming with a desire to share stuff. Or as Lars Rasumussen put it, “Wave is what email would look like if it were invented today.”

May 31, 2009

Poll: Business People Say Twitter More Important Than LinkedIn

  • Enterprises favor Twitter for brand marketing.
  • Consultants favor LinkedIn for B2B marketing.
  • Small businesses vary depending on their focus.
  • Digg is for geeks.

A month-long poll conducted on business social network LinkedIn has uncovered some fascinating numbers concerning social media platforms and brand presence. The biggest surprise was that Twitter was deemed more important to brands than LinkedIn, and the poll was performed on LinkedIn. With more than 3,600 respondents so far, each well understood in terms of job titles, company size, age and gender - this is a high-quality data set worth paying attention to. The question asked was simply: "What is the most important new platform for brands to master?" Options were Twitter, Facebook, the iPhone, Digg and LinkedIn.

Some of the conclusions were a real surprise. Others confirmed our suspicions. Read on for charts, bullet points and a few thoughts.

Below are charts breaking out the poll responses from various groups and some text we've written to interpret those charts. It's important to remember the question wasn't "what do you prefer" but rather "what is most important for brands to master." Those are related but different questions.

Just for context, we'll start with a traffic graph.

Key takeaways from the poll:



  • Twitter is #1, leading Facebook by a respectable margin
  • The iPhone is considered less important than LinkedIn
  • Almost no-one thinks Digg is the most important
  • There is no consensus; every platform named (except for Digg) has a group of backers that believes it is most important.

About the respondents

  • 3,615 respondents is a very good number
  • Only 4% were business owners, 26% managers, 56% non-managers
  • 75% were from small businesses
  • 26% were marketers, the largest percentage among job functions
  • Twice as many men responded as women
  • 83% of respondents were between the ages of 25 and 54, only 17% younger or older

Most appreciative of Twitter: Business owners, C-Level or VPs. People at large- or medium-sized companies. People doing business development, marketing or creative work.

Least appreciative of Twitter: Non-managers. People at very large or small businesses. Consultants, Salespeople and Engineers.

Most appreciative of LinkedIn: C-level and non-managers. At small- or medium-sized businesses. Doing consulting or sales.

Least appreciative of LinkedIn: Owners and managers. At large or enterprise companies. In creative or marketing departments.

By Job Title


  • Business owners are most likely to put Twitter at the top, non-management people are least likely
  • Non-managers are most likely to favor LinkedIn, owners are least likely
  • Non-C-level or VP managers are most likely to favor Facebook, owners are least likely
  • About 1 out of 5 people in all positions favor the iPhone

By Company Size


  • Large businesses are most likely to favor Twitter
  • Medium and small businesses are twice as likely to favor LinkedIn
  • Small businesses are twice as likely to favor Digg
  • Medium-sized businesses are least likely to favor the iPhone

By Job Function

LIBrand4 .jpg

  • Marketing, business development and creatives are most likely to favor Twitter
  • Consultants and sales are least likely to favor Twitter
  • Creatives and marketing are least likely to favor LinkedIn
  • Consultants and sales are most likely to favor LinkedIn
  • Consultants are most likely to favor iPhone, marketing least likely
  • Engineers are far more likely to favor Digg than anyone
  • Marketing is most into Facebook, business development the least (prefers Twitter)

By Gender


  • Women are much more likely to prefer Twitter
  • Men are more likely to favor LinkedIn, iPhone

By Age


  • 55+ far more likely 75% than anyone to favor LinkedIn
  • 25-54 more likely to favor the iPhone than younger or older people

So what do you think? Surprises? Confirmed beliefs? This looks like good quality data to us so we suspect we'll be thinking about it for a while. Two things are for sure - there's no topping LinkedIn for professional background information, and there's no chance we'd be able to trust a poll like this if it was performed on Twitter!

Thanks to Tom Humbarger for Twittering about this poll; that's how we found it.

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