Influencer Seppuku

Influencer Seppuku

They say that any press is good press, and up until the advent of social media (and the social media influencer) I think that adage held true. But social media changes things. Perhaps it’s that you can destroy your life in a single tweet and the media will gobble it up. Regardless, Influencers have a different set of rules where good press is GREAT press and bad press is TERRIBLE press. I want to share a little story before I get into what this post is actually about…Media Piece

Back in late 2010, I was emailed by a journalist from the Wall Street Journal – she was doing a story about Klout, and my name had come up when she was searching for an expert. We had a little back and forth because I needed to know what the intent of the article was as there was a tiny bit of curious wording. She got me on the phone and put my fears to ease about the article. I gave her a long detailed interview about my experiences and this new concept called ‘influencer marketing’. I was excited to be sourced as an expert by the Wall Street Journal!

And then the article came out… “Wannabe Cool Kids Aim to Game the Web’s New Social Scorekeepers”. I remember the sinking feeling of that headline, and then reading the article only confirmed my disappointment. It painted me as the headline ‘wannabe’, instead of someone who was experimenting too see the cause-effect of these new tools. Most know me as quite the experimenter. On Twitter I lamented about the headline, and I never shared the article on Facebook. Yes, it was cool to see my name printed in the Wall Street Journal… but it wasn’t good press.

Yesterday, I read an article called “No More Likes: Are the Days of the Style Influencer Numbered?” and later changed to “Peddling Influence”. The article is directed at style/fashion influencers, but the overall piece is a commentary on every content creator. I certainly cannot argue the fact that the article is very interesting and well written (credit to Anya Georgijevic), but it is certainly not good press. It’s especially bad for one blogger quoted as the expert who commits what can only be described as influencer seppuku.

I have known Jay DeMaria aka Jay Strut’s name for years now – he appeared on my Toronto Twitter Influencers list, and despite our lives being vastly different we often find ourselves at the same events and, ironically, media pieces. All that said, I’ve never met the guy. I assume, like I do of most people, that he’s probably a nice person which gives me some hesitance in even writing this. But I’m not one to bite my tongue when I think there’s a lesson to be learned. I think he just made one of the biggest mistakes of his life – he admitted to the world that any brand that works with him… get nothing in return:

“There isn’t one guy in this whole restaurant that’s going to my website and saying, ‘Oh, I’m gonna wear those tights, that low tank top and that gold chain. And women aren’t coming to my page and saying ‘Yes, I want to look like that tomorrow,’ … But, there are aspects of me – the freedom I have in my expression, my attitude towards things and my overall aesthetic – it’s not relatable, but it’s relatable.”

The author adds ‘He doesn’t sell clothes; he sells the fantasy’. It is the most unbelievable quote I’ve ever read from an influencer. Here is a guy that is given luxury products… to promote; is flown to foreign destinations… to promote; and is paid well enough to buy a condo through gigs that are… to promote the brands involved. Meanwhile he’s admitting that he has no influence over anyone’s purchasing decisions. It’s exactly why influencer marketing is getting such a bad wrap lately – you’re paid for a service you can’t deliver.  “Jay Strut is flown around the world to hype up designer labels, but even he’s questioning the future of social buzz.” You’re right, it’s over.

It’s Influencer Seppuku

The article goes on to discuss the recent Digiday ‘anonymous social media exec‘ tirade, makes reference to an article that talks about how Toronto fashion bloggers are garbage titled “Sophie Grégoire Trudeau vs Wannabe Influencers“, and then mentions Justine Iaboni’s post called “The True Cost of Blogging“, which offers the only counter balance to an otherwise lopsided ‘influencers should be paid in yogurt’ article. As if the authors bias wasn’t evident enough, she closes by saying she’s going to be ‘sticking to her day job’, which she should remember is in journalism.

Digital Seppuku

Make no mistake, influencer marketing is about generating a return on investment. I do think that a lot of influencers charge too much and deliver too little to the brands they work with. I think it’s especially true in the beauty/fashion/lifestyle genres where the supply is excessive. It’s also not entirely their fault – brands/PR/marketers are still trying to figure this all out and as such, play a bit of a guessing game in determining who to work with and what the ROI of working with them is. Experimentation leads to a LOT of mistakes.

But I also think that all WORK has a price tag attached to it. Bloggers are still offering a service – content creation/promotion through their own channel. EVERY creator HOPES that millions will want to read and then buy the product mentioned. It doesn’t often turn out that way, but the intent and desire is for it to be a huge success. No creator is trying to rip anyone off, especially not the brands taking a chance on them. As such, it behooves the creators to only talk about the great things they have done, improve their social and traffic numbers, and do their best to create great content.

There world of influencer marketing is still in its infancy, and much like a child learning to walk, it takes time to find footing. But through all the weird partnerships, over payments, ineffective content, brand deals that didn’t make sense for the influencer and all the other mistakes being made, slowly we’re all starting to figure it out. Once we get through this rocky phase, those that survive and can actually deliver value will thrive. Until that point, creators need to keep putting their best foot forward – and try not to tell the world how non-influential you are.

See What Facebook Thinks You Like

Facebook Thinks Ads

Ever been curious about what Facebook thinks you like? Sometimes their ads are dead on and it scares the hell out of me – while other times, they are so off base that I don’t know how they got that idea. One thing is for sure, Facebook is getting smarter and starting to track us more than ever. They have rapidly been working to improve and expand their tracking of users for a variety of reasons. The main reason is money. The better that Facebook knows you, the better they can monetize you.

In years past, the most obvious ways for them to learn about you was from the data you personally shared. Every time you mentioned a brand, or talked about something, or liked a page or shared an image, they could collect data based on that to learn. After nearly 10 years of tracking your content and conversations, they have a pretty clear picture on who you are. However, that’s not enough and Facebook is actively seeking and developing more (quietly) invasive tracking programs.

Facebook Ads

Facebook Thinks I Like Swamps…

All that said, they still have the years of information that they have collected already to base their ads on. In order to see what Facebook thinks you like, all you need to do is visit the ad settings and preferences option found here. On that page, you’ll find ad categories sorted into 13 different categories which include:

  • Business and Industry
  • Education
  • Family and Relationships
  • Fitness and Wellness
  • Food and Drink
  • Hobbies and Activities
  • Lifestyle and Culture
  • News and Entertainment
  • People
  • Shopping and Fashion
  • Sports and Outdoors
  • Technology
  • Travel, Places and Events

Under each category, you can see the individual things Facebook thinks you like – in my case, 276 different topics that range from Fido to Canon Camera, to Toronto Raptors, to Poland, and so much in between. In some cases, I understand why they think I’m interested in those things, in other cases… I have NO idea how they got that idea.

Some of the least accurate things Facebook thinks I like include the City of Bacoli, Grails, Ben Hill Stadium, Guy Berryman, Swamp, Bumblebeet, and B2W… mostly because I have no idea what any of those things are! But I am curious – what does Facebook think you like? Leave a comment below with some of the oddest things that Facebook has you pegged for!

The Problem with Influencer Platforms

Influencer Platforms

Let’s talk candidly about influencer platforms and their role when it comes to crossing the bridge between brands and creators. I have been working on a series of posts on making money as an influencer, and as part of that, I wanted to look at and review these platforms. After looking at more than 60 different platforms, I’ve got to say – there is a major problem here. It’s the kind of problem that’s only feeding the negativity surrounding influencer marketing right now, and it makes me feel like there’s going to be a bubble pop of sorts in the not to distant future. To sum it up into a sentence: Influencer platforms serve everyone, but deliver nothing to anyone

That’s a big, bold statement but with the way influencer marketing is being done right now – I question how long it can last. I recently wrote a response to the anonymous social media executive, who spent an entire post laying into influencers like they were the worst people in the world. I’m beginning to wonder if his critique was meant to target influencer platforms instead, because if so – I start to agree. Let me try to lay this out…

Who Do Influencer Platforms Target?

In order to properly diagnose the problem, we first need to decide where the role of influencer fits in the marketing mix and who should be handling them. Creators (influencers) by their very nature are creatives – they spend their days creating new and unique things, and as a result, they have built up a following of people who trust their content and opinions. That audience is valuable to any brand wanting to get their product purchased. However, creators, more often than not, are not business minded. Most didn’t create their platform with the intent of making money, but as more and more brands want to work with them, they, naturally they want to be paid for it.

This is a lazy influencer creating lazy content - but it's also because of a influencer platform.
This is a lazy influencer creating lazy content – but it’s also because of an influencer platform.

The de facto responsibility of handling influencers has fallen into the hands of Public Relations specialists (PR). It seems like a reasonable fit – they have experience dealing with individuals who create content on a daily basis (journalists and media outlets) and know how to get real business results. The problem with PR is that they have been dealing with journalists (or taught to deal with them) for such a long time, that they think the same tactics work with creators. Unlike journalists who are paid by their outlets, creators want to be paid by the brands they will be representing. It’s a natural monetization step, and it’s one that is fair and makes sense. Creators take a great risk when working with brands, so they don’t want to take that risk for free. PR, on the other hand aren’t always equipped with budgets to pay influencers. So we run into a problem – wanting to be paid, but no cash.

Who has the money? Marketers. They have money to spend on ads but lack experience when it comes to dealing with influencers. They are used to rate cards and media buys, not egos and audiences. So, step in the influencer networks who try to enable the ones with cash to get their hands on influencers. The result is a consistent buffet style platform – here’s the influencers, give us cash and we’ll give you some numbers. But influencer marketing is far different than AdSense or pre-roll commercials on YouTube – it’s personal and if done incorrectly, is immediately ignored. Audiences aren’t stupid – they recognize an ad the minute it pops on the screen and quickly tune it out. These influencer platforms don’t really care about the content or the results as much as they care about the money. According to a friend who works for one of these platforms, they add on as much as 100-200% when talking to marketers – if an influencer wants $1000, they’ll sell them at $2000-$3000 and pocket the difference, and if the engagement rates are low they boost them with paid views/engagement.

I suppose it’s not all doom and gloom. Influencer networks are seemingly trying to do something of value. Money going into influencer marketing is good. Creators getting paid is great. But the current execution is rather poor. To get better results, there first needs to be an overall agreement that PR people are best suited for the task of working with creators. They have been on the front lines since the beginning and they are getting it more than anyone else – the relationships are there. Secondly, their role needs to be backed with marketing budgets creating a kind of hybrid PR. Instead of letting marketers buy influencers ineffectively, putting those budget behind PR directed campaigns is going to be key to getting major results. GOOD influencer marketing isn’t a ‘here’s cash… do something’ kind of thing – it’s collaborative and involves planning/feedback. Lastly, CREATORS: Don’t sell yourself for the first dollar thrown your way – you’re creatives, not cheap escorts. You’ve spent years building something real (presumably), so respect the time you’ve put in and the audience that loves your stuff.

Influencer marketing can work for everyone (brand to creator to audience), and in the future I think we’re going to see it done exceptionally well. But what is abundantly clear to me is that these influencer platforms are unlikely to be the ones to enable it – they just don’t get it.

BMO’s #HelpGiven Campaign has all the Feels

We live in a really interesting world. We live in a world that enables us to communicate and share with everyone from the comfort of our hands. But while we’ve opened these new lines of communication potential, I often feel like we’re not taking full advantage of them. Instead of getting to know people’s stories, we generally just look on the surface and that’s what we go for. Rarely do we think beyond that and what that persons life is like.

BMO (who have sponsored this post) recently launched a new campaign that will make you smile and perhaps even shed a tear. I mean, I’m a rough and tumble grizzly male and even I was touched by this. BMO works to get to know their clients, and in this particular instance Sheila, an assistant branch manager introduces us to a deli owner named Arash. Arash works every day. As a small business owner, he has to work his butt off to build his company – which means he does not really have the ability to take time off. Recently Arash had a minor limp that Sheila noticed and she asked about it. Turns out his knee buckled while carrying food up to a catering gig.

Like many small business owners, finding time to relax can be few and far between – so Sheila along with four other branch managers gave him exactly what he needed: A Day Off. Arash’s smile, and laughs and even tears just make you feel happy for him. In truth, describing it does not do it justice so make sure you watch it, you’ll be glad you did! BMO has a really good idea with this campaign that they are calling #HelpGiven and I really hope to see it continue! I look forward to seeing more stories like Arash’s Day Off!


Toronto’s Now a Better City

I’ll be forthright with you, as I have always been, and always shall be – Audi wants to put a little bit of wind into the sails of my pirate ship, as they’ve come up with a pretty neat commercial about their new Audi Q3 and how it’s a city conquerer. My immediate reaction was first to say yes, because Audi is a fantastic brand, and also because in the vein of yesterday’s election it gave me a legit reason to talk about the election and why we’re a better city today than we were just a day ago.

So let’s first address the supporters of this post – the all-new, agile Audi Q3. It’s a compact SUV, seats 5, 473 litres of cargo space, high ground clearance, and has a 6.5″ display with MMI operating logic. I mean, I’m really shortchanging them on what’s all included in this vehicle, but you can get all the specifics of this car right here on Audi’s site. That said, their latest ad is a tongue-in-cheek example of why the car is designed for conquering a city like Toronto.

Naturally the real Audi Q3 cannot park on an angle, but if you’re at all curious about how ads like this are made (I was and so I asked if there was a making of video, and lo and behold.) But needless to say, it’s a pretty solid vehicle for the streets of Toronto – which brings us to why we’re a better city today than we were yesterday.

Toronto has a new mayor – one who can speak in full sentences, who’s not going to have personal drama consume everything happening at city hall, and who’s going to try and bridge a deep divide that Toronto has found itself in. It’s not going to happen overnight, but I’m convinced under this new mayor we’re going to see a lot of improvements in the city. John Tory doesn’t come in as the perfect candidate – I don’t think we’re ever going to see a perfect candidate again after Barack Obama ruined that for everyone by turning out to be more of the same, after campaigning on a wave of planned ‘change’. I know many people are disappointed that Doug Ford didn’t win (at least 34% of Toronto), and that Olivia Chow didn’t perform better (23%), but I’m convinced that over time we’ll see John Tory bridge both of those camps quite well: respecting taxpayers and addressing issues like affordable housing and poverty in the city.

In many ways, John Tory is an Audi Q3 – perfectly designed for a city like Toronto, capable of doing everything you need it to do, whether that’s small errands or massive roadtrips. In Toronto, it’s just a good match!

Toronto is a better city today than it was yesterday!

Do It #LikeACaptain for Captain Morgan

Back in August 2012, when the Zach Bussey Show podcast was still in it’s infancy, I mentioned about how the show was a pirate ship and I was the captain. It’s an analogy that I just randomly brought up, but it’s one that stuck with me. I decided to stay with that comparison and routinely referred to the podcast, and have since then extended the reference to my blog and entire social media presence as the pirate ship. It fits so well within my brand – I like to steer the ship, plunder when necessary and aim the cannons at enemy ships from time to time. I’m a bit of a maverick! All this said, when one of my favourite Captains contacted me and wanted to put a little bit of wind on the sails of the pirate ship I jumped at the opportunity (that means cash). Who wouldn’t want Captain Morgan himself helping keep this ship afloat?

Well, now it’s time to show off what you can do #LikeACaptain! Currently, they are hosting a major contest that will see someone walk away with $10,000! Quite the bounty! It’s actually incredibly simple to enter too – share your own #LikeACaptain moment via social media and mention @CaptainMorganCA, and you are immediately entered for a chance to win! Yes, that’s really it! Take a video, photo or tweet of you doing something #LikeACaptain, and then share it on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or Vine – and you’re gold! Want some ideas? Well, obviously they put together some of their own as inspiration. My personal favourite is the drone making Captain + Colas – (PS. If you win, buy me that drone as a thank you gift?)

I also love this one! I hope to god it’s real. (Side: On a completely unrelated note, sharing videos is the easiest thing ever with WordPress 4.0! You just drop the URL into the content and it automatically scales and embeds it to your content. That’s #LikeACaptain!)

The contest closes on October 31st, 2014 – so time is of the essence to get your entries in! For full contest details visit

From one pirate ship captain to another, thank you Captain Morgan for your support!

72% of Men are Contaminated from their Bathing Practices

About a year ago or so, I went off on a rant on the Zach Bussey Show about how there’s a real problem with people and the bathroom. We spend all this time in our lives worrying about being hygienic – washing the dishes with hot water and soap, vacuuming, washing your hands every time you touch a surface, anti-bacterial gels, germ killing sprays, sanitizing wipes, bleach, laundry soaps etc. Everyone is so worried about grime and germs, until they get in the shower. The minute you step in the shower all of the obsession with hygiene goes out the window. Odd duality huh? Instead of worrying about being clean, we think nothing of what we’re actually doing. Not sure what I’m talking about? You’re probably contaminated.

The average shower contains just a few items – a bar of soap, a couple different bottles of shampoo and conditioner. There might be other things depending on the person, but generally this is what is in a bathtub. I did some investigative journalism to confirm this. As such, based on these items it is easy to extrapolate the problem – you get in the shower; you enjoy some hot water and get your hair wet; you pour some shampoo in your hand and lather up; rinse; repeat with the conditioner; now you grab the bar of soap, lather up usually starting at the legs, and moving up your body; you end up washing your face; rinsing off and then getting out to towel off

Still don’t see the problem? You’re definitely part of the 72% who are inflicted with this affliction. YOU RUB SOAP ON YOUR JUNK AND THEN SHORTLY AFTER YOU RUB IT IN YOUR FACE! Aahhhh!

Denial? I’ve heard it all and it’s nonsense.

  • “But I use a face cloth!” – Yeah, but the soap still rubs your junk, then your facecloth, then your face.
  • “But I have two different bars of soap.” – Unlikely but possible, but my guess is they are both the same brand, and there’s no way you track which one is for which task.
  • “But I don’t wash my face in the shower.” – Uhhh, you might be a bigger problem then.
  • “But soap is hygienic in nature, it can’t cross contaminate.” – Soap is like a lubricant for filth. It helps filth wash off, but soap itself can fester with bacteria.

Well, Neutrogena Men contacted me with a campaign they have been working on that surprisingly fit very well with my beliefs on this issue! They put a little bit of wind into the sails of my pirate ship, and thus I’ve jumped on the conquest to end this very serious epidemic in men’s health!


Junk. Face. Junk Face. Junkface. Washing your junk, washing your face. Good god man we have a problem when 72% of men surveyed said they are guilty of this problem. Want further proof? Check out the website that Neutrogena Men has set up to combat this epidemic –

Still don’t believe this is a problem? Well, I dug deeper into my investigative journalism and started taking pictures of people’s bathrooms to see if they were contaminated or not. I’ve shared some of the results below:

Case 1 – Single Adult Male, Probability of Contamination: 100%

While the tub and shower itself were quite clean, the contents of the shower proved to be problematic. Within I found three different kinds of shampoo for men and a single bar of white soap. No wash clothes, no secondary bar. This case is definitely contaminated with Junkface.


Case 2 – Teen + Family, Probability of Contamination: 95%

In this bathroom, which is used by a teen boy and some family members, I found three kinds of shampoo, a bottle of conditioner and a single bar of grey/green soap. The likelihood is that there might be cross contamination between family members as well, due to the singular nature of the soap!


Case 3 – In a Relationship, Adult Male, Probability of Contamination: 75%

In this bathroom I found a single bottle of shampoo and a bar of green soap. There IS a facecloth, but the fact remains that the soap likely serves both purposes and there are not independent soaps for each area. I also found a bottle of Irish Whiskey. I feel like that may help the cause if using the alcoholic content to kill off germs on the soap – if that’s what it’s being used for.


Case 4 – Two Adult Males, Probability of Contamination: 20%

I found this picture on Twitter taken by @Kevin_R_Benton, (original can be found here). Within you can see two bottles of shampoo, a single bar of green soap BUT, there is a container of Neutrogena Men (likely) Face Wash! We also have one one of the men sitting in the tub, and he clearly does NOT have junkface!


Let’s end this problem and get on the bandwagon to getting rid of Junkface for good! Whether you’re a dude who’s currently suffering, a woman dating a guy with Junkface, or you know a family member who is stricken with a terrible case of Junkface, now is the time to clear this problem up and rid the world of junk and face cross contamination.

Neutrogena Men sent me a gift bag to help me fight off my own problems with junkface. Actually, when they first contacted me on this issue – I was mildly hurt. Why would they associate my face with my junk? But then I looked at my face in the mirror and realized it was true. I crumpled into a heap in the corner and sobbed gently at the realization that I probably wasn’t getting any Tinder matches lately because women could see my junkface! In all honesty though, they sent a package with some product to help me groom a bit better….

And they also sent the most disturbing item I’ve ever seen. A pair of boxers with my face on them.


Win a #StopJunkface Kit

If you would like to win a #StopJunkface kit, simply enter into the contest below and together we can put an end to Junkface for good!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Coors Light and Molson Canadian Wide Mouth Aluminum Bottles on Recall?

Are you familair with the Wide Mouth Aluminum bottle pioneered by Molson Coors this summer? Well, a credible source has informed me that they are being recalled for “overly aged flavour”. I looked online for information about it, but not seeing it may mean I am breaking some news.

On June 28th, Molson Coors launched their new packaging line at a Toronto Plant. The $13.5M investment was to build the new line of wide mouth aluminum bottles for Coors Light, Molson Canadian and Coors Light Iced Tea. This new packaging is 100% recyclable, resealable and is marketed as a major improvement from the glass bottles and cans we are accustomed to with beer.

Well, it seems the current production of wide mouth aluminum bottles are being recalled across Canada for both Coors Light and Molson Canadian. Coors Light Iced Tea is not part of the recall. The reason cited for the recall is “some instances of an overly aged flavour”. The recall is not based on any food safety concerns, but only based on the “taste issue” they have found. They intend to correct the issue and have a new batch soon, but don’t provide any timeline for it.

While surely this is a financial loss to them to do this kind of recall, you can certainly appreciate that they want the product to be the best it can be. In the meantime, I’m going to try and track down some bottles so that I can compare the taste when the next production line comes out.

I’ve sent out a couple messages to Molson Coors’ @MolsonTonia and @MolsonFerg for comment.

Update: 1:46AM – Here’s a notice of the recall sent to retailers that was sent to me.

Top Marks for Wind Mobile

As a blogger, it seems the only time most of us post anything positive about a company is when we’ve been given something. I don’t know why that is… the opposite is also true, whenever we have a bad experience we’re immediately on our blogs complaining about it. It’s some sort of entitlement culture we’ve all been encouraged to believe in I think… Oh well, that’s not what this is supposed to be about.

I’ll preface by saying, WIND has not given me anything for free. About a year ago, I purchased my cellphone in store, the same price everyone would pay. I signed up for a promotional plan at $29 a month for unlimited local calls, texts and data. (Yes Data! Enjoy your $60 6GB plans Rogers users). The promotional price was going to expire one year later and go to ~$50 a month. Each month I pay for the bill like the majority of other cellphone users. Nothing special here besides the great price. Today, I get an email from WIND, displayed below.

Needless to say I’m thrilled! I’ve been a Bell, Rogers and Telus customer in the past and NEVER did they ever offer me an extension on a promotional plan. When I did try to get it extended, first I had to navigate their customer service and then when asking to keep the promotional price, they would say no and just offer me 25-50 extra minutes a month, or a bigger voicemail inbox. Essentially, it was a no, but here’s some scraps…. meanwhile WIND has sent this email out to a bunch of other people I know who were on the plan.

So WIND, without asking, extending the plan and continuing to give me a great deal is HUGE. As a customer, this essentially has confirmed my ongoing loyalty to your company. You treat your customers like people. You want to make the customer happy. You have great prices, significantly less than competitors at your normal rate, and EVEN THEN go out of your way to extend promotional pricing indefinitely. It’s major. And it’s how it should be!

So, the questions always turns to this whenever I tell people I’m with WIND… “What’s the service like?” And while they don’t mean the customer service, it alone should be reason to bail on horrible providers like Bell, Telus and Rogers. But here’s the honest truth… when I first signed up with WIND, the service was okay. However, they have been expanding their coverage and improving their towers in current markets so fast… they seemingly add new cities every single day. And the service now is BETTER than I’ve had with others. Rarely have a dropped call. I tether my phone (use about 5-6GB a month) and the speeds are always fast (I’ve played Diablo 3 online while tethering). The calls are clear. Texts always go through, and you can use it in a ton of different markets… last month I used it (again unlimited) in Vancouver… it’s just a joy! And the icing on the cake is the price! $30 for unlimited everything!

So, I just wanted to write this to say thank you… It’s very rare that we speak out to thank a corporation for running their business without throwing a party, without sending me a phone or a product, without doing anything other than what you normally do… and it’s refreshing and impressive. Keep this up WIND, you’re going to continue to grow as more people wake up, sick of paying $60-$100 for a cellphone and shitty customer service.

PS. That said, my phones screen is cracked… so if you DID want to send me a phone, I wouldn’t object. Haha. Had to.

Brands and Bloggers, A Proposed Change For Better

The days of the promote everything blogger are coming to an end, and for any blogger who isn’t evolving away from that, is going to fade into obsolescence. I’m rewriting the beginning of this post, though the majority of it I wrote just about a month ago. I wanted to wait for the right cue to post it. That cue came yesterday via my good friend Val who’s post “Sick of Blogging” was an indication that she knew something was wrong with her blog. I have told her gently that I wanted to see more of her thoughts and creative content without any involvement of a PR company, brand or event… So I’m thrilled to hear she wants a change and know that she’s going to grow as a blogger now… maybe she likes the idea I suggest below and implements it. But now to carry on with the actual post.

It’s funny how the blogging community works… people build something uniquely their own, with an interesting voice and perspective on the world… Only to change and become a verbal vomit billboard for any brand willing to send a sample their way. It’s why I imagine a lot of ‘overnight’ successful people end up face down in mountains of cocaine, broke or worse – they don’t know how to handle new found success after being average for their entire lives. It’s definitely a similar thing for bloggers… where once your ideas on a website were just a hobby, now deliver products, opportunities and parties.

Bloggers create content… but when that content becomes negatively infected by a new brand every day, the blog loses it’s appeal. The content that readers loved disappears and is replaced by a a new branded something-or-other each and every day. How many free product reviews can we really read before we give up? My tolerance for branded blogs is about 3. If you write three posts back-to-back-to-back that are all about a different brand or branded event… the relationship between you as a blogger and me as a reader is over. It tells the reader that you have given up to the corporate spoon of ‘free’ and will never return to the reason we started reading you. That’s not to say I don’t have any room for it. In fact, I think for a lot of personal bloggers it provides some value for readers and for the blogger… you get some free stuff and the reader may get some insight/vicarious living or a chance to win something. But there needs to be a balance and it can’t be something new every single day. Consistency is definitely important.

For myself, I’ve talked in the past about my brand loyalties to Ford and Carlsberg in a post I wrote nearly a year ago. While neither company has ever paid me a cent to blog on my website, or tweet or attend their events… they’ve provided me with great opportunities over the years to a point where I don’t feel guilty about tweeting about them. We’ve established an ongoing relationship that feels natural. And that’s the main idea behind this blog. As bloggers, brands, PR companies and readers… it’s time to change the blogging landscape and do something different. It’s never been more necessary, and the switch is perfect – especially with the push/pull of bloggers now asking for cash from PR companies for blog posts. (Have an ‘observation’ blog post I’ll be posting shortly as a follow up.)

I believe the key to the successful implementation of bloggers+brands+PR companies+readers is… a long term program/relationship that benefits everyone.

I’m convinced this concept will benefit everyone far more than the current wild west of free products and horrible blog posts about products that the blogger would never even purchase themselves. What I’m suggesting is that a blogger and PR company work to establish a relationship between the blogger and a brand. This relationships is ongoing with a (minimum) commitment of 6 months. This way all parties can really get things rolling and see if its a partnership that works. (Also, based on how brands develop customers, this idea makes SO much more sense.)

I’ll give you an example of how I see the implementation (and this is entirely hypothetical)… A PR company comes to me indicating their client Subway is interested in partnering with me. The idea is simple, they have 40 items on the menu that I should try. Once a week for the next 40 weeks, I need to try each product – they’ll provide the gift cards to do it. The deal is: each week I update a blog post with the latest item I’ve tried off of their menu. Each update includes an instagram photo tweeted/shared on Facebook. As a bonus tie in, every 4 weeks, I host a contest where I giveaway a $XX gift card to one reader.

This concept should truly benefit everyone in the short and long term:

  • To the blogger, an ongoing reward, free lunch and a natural piece of ongoing content which is far more natural than all the one off brand blogs. It’s something you can track ongoing results and tweak to make better/learn from and build better content as a result
  • To the PR company, ongoing results which are better accepted by readers, relatively inexpensive and fit more naturally into a blog. You save a ton of time because you have a list of brand loyal bloggers you can contact with new updates. Content created on a consistent basis and able to really track results as well as give/get feedback.
  • To the brand, you lock down brand lovers who will be loyal long after the program and will naturally promote you in their every day life (I know I do for Dentyne, Carlsberg, Ford etc.) The results will be better than one off ‘brand switcher’ posts that a lot of bloggers post currently.
  • To the readers, less throwaway branded posts that you don’t care about replaced with posts fitting more naturally within a blog. The focused content is easier to accept and get behind, plus with planned giveaways, you’ll know when to come back. You also will probably have more respect for them not bombaring you with a million brands every month.

There’s probably benefits that I’m missing, and there’s probably some negatives to this for all involved to… but quite frankly, things the way they are now are horrible. Bloggers I used to read only post branded content, brands waste their time and effort on people who’s opinions no one could ever trust (saying things like the best car is Toyota, Honda, Ford, Lexus, or whatever car company lends them a car that week), and as a blogger it’s a big waste of my time to deal with all the silly PR pitches, plus I know that my readers get annoyed if I get too brand lovey.

That said, I want to hear what PR people, other bloggers and readers have to say about this idea…. please comment below and let me know your thoughts! Would you as a reader like this idea? Bloggers, think it would be easier/better for you? PR people, what problems/difficulties do you envision? Brands (community managers?) what do you think your bosses would think of this?

Don’t forget to subscribe to the Zach Bussey Show Podcast on iTunes or TuneIn, and listen Tuesday nights at 6PM live at

Found: William Hill Ad Music

I heard a track the other day playing behind a William Hill ad… and I don’t know what it was about the song, but it roped me in instantly. I went on the search for the track and was nearly at the end of the rope, when I finally found it!

It’s apparently pretty highly sought after based on my searches… so I figured, why not share it here in hopes that it helps someone else find the music quicker! I think that’s the great thing about ads using real music, when you pick the right track for your ad, people are going to remember it for a long time. Never discount the power of music!

The track to the William Hill ad is called Rival Consoles by Kid Velo.

William Hill are pretty good at choosing the right music for their ads, another one of theirs that I was looking for about a year ago and found was this:

The first time this every happened to me was for a Toyota car back in Summer of 2005… the ad was original aired in theaters, which I remember because I saw about a dozen movies that summer and that ad was always one of my favourite parts of seeing a movie. I spent months trying to find the track with a little recording I had made on my cellphone at the time…

Here’s that ad…

What about you? Any ads in your memory where the music really connected you to the brand/ad?

Actually I Like to Touch

Quick poll, how many people are expecting something R rated to come up in the rest of this poll? Pervs.

No, actually Keifer Sutherland likes to Touch… mainly on his new show coming out on March 22nd on Global. The show, called Touch, actually looks decent! I saw the opening teaser a couple weeks ago and thought it might be interesting. Jack Bau— Martin Bohm is a widower who learns that his son can predict events before they happen. Could be a good show!

Continue reading “Actually I Like to Touch”