Saturday, December 27, 2008

Visual Artist of The Year

(Shepard Fairey by Tiner)

No hanging chad here. Shepard Fairey is the visual artist of year.

(Obama by Fairey)

Throughout the year Fairey's iconic portrait of Obama has solidified his reputation as a prominent 21st-century artist. From having the portrait featured on the cover of Time to posted on millions of social networking profiles, Shepard's portrait of Obama has been viewed all over the world.

Ironically, it was the public that previously helped Fairey rise to prominence in the art community over twenty years ago. While attending RISD in Providence, RI, Fairey started posting images of Andre the Giant around North Eastern communities. Fairey dubbed the campaign an "experiment in phenomenology." Interest in the experiment grew and soon Fairey's admirers were posting images of Andre the Giant on billboards, walls, and behind crosswalk signs.

(Andre the Giant, source:

As more images of Andre the Giant were posted throughout the world, Fairey launched Obey, his clothing line. The apparel line started as a small mail order business, but soon flourished and is carried today in national retail stores and independent clothing boutiques.

Today, images of Andre the Giant are still posted throughout the world, but it is Fairey's iconic portrait of Obama that has made him a household name. Regardless of your political party, Obama's portrait will continue to shared, posted, and discussed for at least the next four years.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Peristence of Nostalgia

The Persistence of Memory,
Salvador Dali, 1931

Volkswagen Polo Blue Motion,
Advertising Agency: DDB, Berlin, Germany, 2008

"What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done there is nothing new under the sun" (ECC 1:9 RSV)

Volkswagen's new Polo Blue Motion advertisement illustrates how using use nostalgia can engage target audiences into a marketing campaign. In 1931, Salvador Dali painted The Persistence of Memory, one of his most famous surrealistic works. The painting is one of Dali's most recognized works and is frequently referenced and parodied in contemporary culture. Over 75 years after Dali painted the masterpiece, Volkswagen has parodied the painting with its "Absurdly low consumption" tagline and surreal creative concept.

As the global marketplace moves further into economic uncertainty, it will be interesting if more companies incorporate artistic masterpieces into marketing promotions. According to an article in the International Communication Association "the positioning of products as constructed realms of memory offers consumers an emotional and immediate connection to an assumed better past. While doing so, advertising also influences the way consumers perceive 'real' history, 'as it was.'"

Using well known and positive references from the past can make viewers feel nostalgic. A sincere feeling of nostalgia can often evoke feelings of economic security and stability.

Will nostalgia encourage consumers to purchase
Volkswagen's Polo Blue Motion? ...Time will only tell.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Happy New Year!

From my family to yours,

Wishing you a Happy New 2009!
Fight On!

Another year is finishing and I'm amazed how fast this one went.

5 Memorable Moments from 2008:

5) Faces Series. From meeting Perez Hilton in Los Angeles, CA to Greg Verdino in Cambridge, MA, my portrait series has opened diverse doors for me.

(Soul Cole, KLAS FM Radio DJ)

(Perez Hilton, Media Blogger)

(Leone Barezzi, Couture Designer)

(Greg Verdino, Social Media Strategist)

4) Surfer Magazine. In March, I was invited to attend Rick Iron's 40th birthday party in Carlsbad, CA. Prior to the party, I visited Irons at his office in San Juan Capistrano.

(Rick Irons, Publisher of Surfer Magazine)

At the time of my visit, Surfer was writing an article about the Trestles Toll Road initiative. While I was discussing the proposal with Irons, I showed him an aerial photograph I captured of Trestles. Irons really enjoyed the photograph and purchased it for the magazine. It was always a big goal of mine to have a photograph published in Surfer and I am excited to have accomplished it.

3) Fiji. I really enjoy traveling to exotic locations. This past Spring, I was fortunate to spend a week photographing the islands of Fiji. Although I visited Fiji during the wet season, I was able to capture some landscape photography. A few of the photographs are now on display for purchase at Garys in Newport Beach, CA and Pierside Gallery in Huntington Beach, CA. During my visit, I also met some new Australian friends who have since visited me in Southern California.



2) Finishing Graduate School. This past month, I completed my Masters in Communication Management from USC's Annenberg School for Communication. Thanks to hard work, I was able to finish at the top of program and have my marketing strategy featured in Brandweek Magazine. Additionally, I am thankful for the new friends I met at USC and to graduate from the same university my brother wanted to attend.

1) Mark P. Tiner Education Foundation Recipients. Thanks to your support, I am excited that this year The Mark P. Tiner Education Foundation was able to award two $1,000 financial needs scholarships to graduating high school seniors in Orange County, CA. The foundation received over 70 applications for scholarships. Although I miss my brother, I'm honored that I'm able to continue his memory through the foundation and help students pursue higher education.

(2008 Mark P. Tiner Education Foundation Recipient)

(2008 Mark P. Tiner Education Foundation Recipient)

Thank you so much for your support. I look forward to 2009 and wish everyone an abundance of success in the coming year! Cheers.

...Twas the night before Christmas

Enjoy a creative holiday commercial from AKQA.

"Twas the night before Christmas,
when all through the house
not a creature was stirring,
not even a mouse.

Stockings were hung
by the chimney with care,
as the microwaves' thrum
was filling the air." -AKQA

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Imaginary Foundation Show

Last weekend, I attended the Imaginary Foundation Art Show at Suru in Los Angeles, CA. I really enjoyed seeing some of the company's original paintings on display.

The paintings are created by artist Nick Philip who is regarded as pioneering the surreal Photoshop aesthetic. In an era of logo dominance, Philip is relying upon his art to speak as the main marketing element for the Imaginary Foundation.

In addition to his paintings, Phillips had the Cosmic Drummer preform a drum solo outside the exhibit. It provided a comical sidebar to the abstract imagery of Phillip's designs.

I first discovered the Imaginary Foundation line at a small clothing boutique near the end of 2006. I was really impressed by the company's strong use and range of color. While most competitors offer silk-screened t-shirts that typically offer one to four colors, Imaginary Foundation's t-shirts offer 8 to 20 shades of color. The company is really utilizing new technology to offer customers unprecedented shades of color.

It's really impressive how Philip has taken his passion for art and developed it into a successful clothing company. He has carved his own niche along Chris Anderson's The Long Tail and is starting to enjoy mainstream success. From having Nordstroms carry his fashion line to partnering with Element and reproducing his images on skateboard decks, Philips's clothing company is moving beyond boutiques to mainstream retail brands.

It's encouraging when a company founded by one artist can enjoy so much success. In the 1980s, Sean Stussy launched his clothing company and offered cutting edge graphics to the surfing audience. Stussy went on to establish lucrative clothing contracts with major retailers. In the 1990s, Shepard Fairey (yes, the creator of the iconic Obama portrait) inspired a group of followers to post the Andre the Giant image as graffiti art in suburban communities. The movement helped to create underground interest in Fairey's designs and Obey, his clothing line. Obey continues to offer cutting edge designs and is sold by independent and national retailers, including Nordstroms.

Today, Phillips is starting to enjoy the same commercial success as Stussy and Fairey. It will be interesting to see how these companies grow in the months and years ahead.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


(Gemma Louise Ward by Tiner)

(Nana Ichikawa by Tiner)

(Anna B Barros by Tiner)


Last Sunday, Pete Carroll was featured on 60 Minutes. The program highlighted how Carroll spends his free time life coaching inner-city youth. Carroll's A Better LA supports inner-city youth, provides encouragement, and renews validation in hopes and dreams.

Recently, Validation, a 16-minute short film, was streamed on YouTube and features a charismatic parking attendant giving positive compliments to everyday people. From managers to photographers, the attendant renews hope and happiness in the average person.

As schedules become demanding, it's easy to become absorbed in daily routines and forget to acknowledge the positive qualities of others. The holiday season allows us to reflect on the year and appreciate the impact that family and friends make in our lives. From gifts to holiday cards, constant reminders of appreciation are traditionally sent to acknowledge a core group of friends.

As the year concludes, take a moment to acknowledge someone outside your immediate group of friends, family, and acquaintances. You may be surprised how that validation will help to impact their life and create a better society.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Rémi Gaillard

Constantly pushing the envelope, Rémi Gaillard's latest prank brings Nintendo's Mario Kart Video Game to life.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Stand by happiness

"The basic thing is that everyone wants happiness, no one wants suffering. And happiness mainly comes from our own attitude, rather than from external factors. If your own mental attitude is correct, even if you remain in a hostile atmosphere, you feel happy." -The Dali Lama

As the stock market continues to fluctuate and the financial crisis continues to affect different sectors of the global economy, it is important to create marketing campaigns that positively inspire. Consumers want to connect to campaigns that motivate and illuminant on happier qualities in life.

A brand can choose to remind consumers about the economic crisis and instill fear or it can make consumers feel happy and that they are part of something bigger then themselves. The Stand by Me video illustrates how different street performers can unite and be part of a global project.

As the media continually reminds us of global problems, it's refreshing when a song or marketing campaign can positively inspire viewers and make them "feel happy."

Sunday, December 7, 2008


(LA Coliseum (C) Tiner)

Congratulations to the USC Trojans for capturing their 7th consecutive PAC 10 football title and clinching a trip to the 2009 Rose Bowl.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

I Dream, Therefore I Become.

One of my favorite brands, The Imaginary Foundation, is hosting I Dream, Therefore I Become, a fun night of art and music.

"Drop by if you're near Los Angeles on the evening of Saturday, Dec 13th. Music supplied by LA's DJ Nitedog, Darkhorse of Radio 360 and a special one-time live performance by the 'Cosmic Drummer.' The fun starts at 7PM and the event will be held @ Suru (7662 Melrose Ave, LA, CA 90046)."

Monday, December 1, 2008

December Desktop

(Newport Beach (C) Tiner)

Enjoy an aerial perspective of Newport Beach, CA for December's complimentary desktop.

This limited-edition photograph is available for purchase at Gary's in Fashion Island (401 Newport Center Drive, Newport Beach, CA 92660).

Saturday, November 29, 2008

100 Portraits: A Creative Journey (eBook)

Andy Warhol opened society’s eyes with portrait art, but I desire to revolutionize portraiture for the new millennium. Today, I produced 100 Portraits: A Creative Journey, a free eBook that is an artistic reflection of the past ten months.

As you browse through the 100 portraits I created of people from various backgrounds, I hope you enjoy the unique perspectives and energy that I try to convey in each composition. Feel free to share this eBook and use the artwork for your own inspiration.

Tiner's 100 Portraits

100 Portraits

Order of Appearance
Adriana Suvari, model
Agyness Deyn, model
Angelina Jolie, actress
Andy Warhol, artist
Amber Lee Ettinger, model
Ann Handley, blogger
Anne Vyalitsyna, model
Barbara Stoyanoff, model
Bebe Durbidge, surfer
Bob Marley, musician
Albert Einstein, inventor
Brandie Moses, model
Bree Condon, model
Breann McGregor, model
Brian Solis, public speaker
Charlene Li, author
Christopher Latronic, television host
Dane Reynolds, surfer
David Ewalt, author
Dr. Drew Pinsky, radio & television host
Eline De Boer, model
Donny Deutsch, entrepreneur
David Pogue, journalist
David Meerman Scott, author
David Ewalt, journalist
David Armano, blogger
Daria Webowy, model
Danny Fuller, surfer
Dali Lama, advocate
Coldplay, band
Cindey Dutton, model
Chris Brogan, author
Coco Rocha, model
Chris Berman, journalist
Elizabeth Currid, author
Elliott Spitzer, politician
Elyse Taylor, model
Candice Swanepoel, model
George Carlin, comedian
Girls Next Door, models
Gizel Bundcen, model
Harry Potter, character
Greg Verdino, marketer
Heather Hahn, model
Heath Ledger, actor
Heather Marks, model
Holly Huddleston, model
Hugh Macleod, blogger
Jac Vanek, model
Jack Nicholson, actor
Jamie Lee Spears, singer
Jason Falls, blogger
Jay Z, musician
John Furrier, blogger
John Wooden, coach
Hugh Hefner, entrepreneur
Julie Mintz, model
Katherine Werderitsch, model
Julie Stegner, model
Katja Schekina, model
LL Cool J, entertainer
Lauren Conrad, actress
Kristen Cavallari, actress
Max Kalehoff, blogger
Matt Leinart, athlete
Mark Zuckerberg, entrepreneur
Nana Ichikawa, model
Michelle Williams, actress
Kobe Bryant, athlete
Vlada Roslyakova, model
Walter Annenberg, entrepreneur
Warren Buffet, investor
Yves St. Laurent, designer
Yasmin Brunet Fernandez, model
Tiger Woods, athlete
Valentina Zeliaeva, model
Tim Russert, journalist
Sole Cole, DJ
Seth Godin, author
Senjana Onopka, model
Sean Tiner, entrepreneur
Sasha Strauss, marketer
Seda Ertan, model
Ruth Simmons, educator
Sasha Pivovarova, model
Sarah Underwood, model
Sarah Elliott, photographer
Ryan Kalil, athlete
Ruslana Korshunova, model
Rohit Bhargava, blogger
Robert Rauschenberg, artist
Rick Irons, surfer
Renee Bargh, model
Peter Tiner, artist
Pete Carroll, coach
Perez Hilton, blogger
Oprah, entertainer
Natasha Polevshchikova, model
Kayne West, musician
Nicole Nicolay, author

House Party

Join the party with Adidas' new ad campaign.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Holiday Balancing Act

Ready! Set! ...Go! The holiday season officially kicks off tomorrow.

The shuffle of family, friends and activities can often feel like we are strategically balancing bricks on our head. No matter the amount of activity, it's important to focus on the memories we are creating and to balance one brick at a time.

Monday, November 24, 2008


(Reflection by Tiner)

The progression of age.

In November's issue of Vogue (Paris), photographers Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin capture a unique perspective of Eniko Mihalik, a twenty-year old supermodel. In the photo spread, Mihalik is portrayed as a 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 and 60 year-old, thanks the talent of make-up artist Lisa Butler.

Similar to Dove's evolution campaign, the photo spread highlights how manipulative marketers can be to create campaigns that emotionally appeal, but may not be an accurate reflection of reality.

10 years old:

20 years old:

30 years old:

40 years old:

50 years old:

60 years old:

Recycle Content.

Recycle Content? From Jay-Z remixing the Beatles’ White Album to Eminem reediting Elton John lyrics, recycling content is a strategy that has paid large dividends for the hip-hop industry. Similar to musicians remixing songs with their own lyrics and musical beats, reediting existing popular movies allows brands to produce hits without implementing new creative strategies.

Nokia's new N96 advertisement juxtaposes an old Bruce Lee movie with ping pong players and highlights how YouTube can successfully be leveraged as marketing channel for product launches. Thanks to the movie's creative use of recycling content, Nokia's advertisement has already received over 680,000 views in 5 days. Although it's difficult to measure the direct sales from the commercial, the creative movie encourages gatekeepers to feature it on their blogs. Now that marketing success would even give Forrest Gump a run for his ping pong paddle.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

An emphasis on creativity?

As companies reduce marketing budgets to survive in the current economic climate, creative marketing strategies are being utilized to create awareness and attention for products and services.

Toshiba's new television commercial illustrates how ordinary people (not celebrities) can be creatively incorporated into a campaign. The advertisement focuses on the body as form and creatively engages the viewer through unique perspective and unusual choreography.

In the years and months ahead, not all companies will continue to have rock star marketing budgets, but brands can continue to receive significant attention for their products by implementing unique, creative concepts.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Personal Branding

Do you cash in your chips or parlay them into another hand?

Last Friday, Bob Geldof was paid $65,000 USD to give an anti-poverty speech in Melbourne, Australia. Does it send the the wrong message to personally profit from an event that is supposed to alleviate poverty and balance inequality?

Sometimes it's better to volunteer your time in the long run, then to take money when it's on the table. Yes, your bank account may be smaller in the short term, but paying-it-forward will help to establish your personal brand for the long term and probably encourage more events to seek your talents. Imagine how different the headlines would be, if Geldof donated the money he earned last week to charity?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Create an Innovative Experience

Shopping for shoes? Visit Zappos.

Need a movie? Visit Netflix.

Window browse? Well, Amazon now has that covered. Continuing to innovate, recently launched Windowshop, an interactive store that allows consumers to casually browse bestselling novels, movies and video games. The site streams live audio clips of books and clips of movies and games. Each week new products debut on the site, which keep consumers regularly visiting for updates. Windowshop's innovative experience encourages gatekeepers to write about the site and feature it on websites, blogs and social media profiles.

As the internet becomes more interactive and the amount of websites continually grows, unique presentation becomes more important, especially for startups. Unique presentation encourages gatekeepers, including bloggers and social media users, to write about the site and share it with their friends.

Earlier this year, 200 Nipples, an apparel website offering limited edition t-shirts, debuted and caught gatekeeper's attention by storm. Shortly after its launch, 200 Nipples was featured on several blogs and websites, which gave the company valuable free PR and inbound traffic.

The chart below illustrates how the initial surge of free PR encouraged approximately 30K visitors to visit 200Nipples, which now averages 2,500 visitors a month. A retention rate of 6-8%.

As companies continually use new technology and launch unique business plans, it's critical to leverage gatekeepers' curiosity to increase traffic to the promoted site.

Monday, November 10, 2008

The Black Hole

As the work week begins and it's back to the office to earn more dollars, enjoy this creative short depicting one of nature's seven deadly sins.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Bad Hair Day?

(Nagi Noda Hair Style, photo credit: Cappello)

(Nagi Noda Hair Style, photo credit: Cappello)

Nagi Noda, a Japanese artist and film director, created unique animal style hairstyles for a photoshot with Kenneth Capello. From dogs to giraffes to monkeys, Noda's creative concepts prevent split ends and push the imagination to a higher level.

As consumers continually become numb to traditional forms of advertising and marketers brainstorm new creative concepts, the human body will continue to offer an expressive canvas for innovative design and expression.

Thursday, November 6, 2008


(2008 Tessa Tape Advertisement: George Bush)

"Are you going to ask that question with shades on?
For the viewers there’s no sun."

George W. Bush, addressing a blind reporter during a press conference.

(2008 Tessa Tape Advertisement: Hugo Chavez)

"I am not a populist. I am a democrat."
Hugo Chávez, rebutting criticism of the press.

Earlier this year, Tesa, a multinational industry and crafts company, created controversial advertisements that featured global leaders with the company's tape over their mouths. The advertisements highlight how juxtaposing a simple campaign tagline, "The world needs a tape like this," with a shocking visual can create waves of awareness for a product or service.

With billions of websites and over 250 million social networking profiles and blogs, it is difficult to create advertisements that stand out and capture a viewer's attention. Frequently, it is rewarding to create shockvertisments that highlight a product's functionality and also captivate a viewer's attention with a captivating visual or message. Although a brand has to be careful not to isolate a target audience, adding controversy or shock causes viewers to pause, reflect and engage more in an advertisement, product or service. Love it or hate it, shockvertisments will continue to be discussed, highlighted and shared for years to come. ...Just ask Perez Hilton.

4 & 20 Blog Posts

(Greg Verdino by Tiner)

If you are interested in learning more about the marketing advantages of social media, Greg Verdino recently posted 4 & 20 Blog Posts, a free ebook that highlights several poignant case studies. In the ebook, Verdino draws upon blog entries from his two-year old marketing blog.

(Tiner & Verdino)

Earlier in September, I met Verdino at the Inbound Marketing Summit in Cambridge, MA. Similar to his lecture at the conference, 4 & 20 Blog Posts does an excellent job highlighting contemporary social media case studies that are applicable to any brand.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Be One-of-a-kind

The election is over and today both parties may be in need of some rest and relaxation. Although The Poseidon Mystery Island is scheduled to open in 2010, the world’s first underwater hotel promises to offer the ultimate vacation experience for travelers from all political backgrounds. When complete, the 1.1 million square foot resort will be submerged 40 feet underwater and positioned along a 5,000 acre coral lagoon near Fiji.

As consumers continually look for new experiences, it's important to offer one-of-a-kind experiences that motivate people to open their wallets, no matter the condition of the economy.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The Vote: Lessons from the election

(Barack Obama by Tiner)

This is a long post that highlights how social media and charisma influenced this year's election. If. If you want skip it, vote, and enjoy a free coffee, go ahead.

In 1961, John F. Kennedy Jr., thirty-fifth President of the United States, eloquently remarked “…in each of us there is a private hope and dream which, fulfilled, can be translated into benefit for everyone and greater strength for our nation.” Hope is a metaphoric building block that can motivate individuals of different ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds to construct tangible bridges of lasting change. Hope inspires people to set aside personal differences and implement policies that benefit mankind. More than forty-year years after JFK Jr.’s remark, hope continues to be a major political topic as Barack Obama, a United States Senator from Illinois and presidential nominee of the Democratic Party, leverages the theme’s fundamental strength to unite Americans throughout the 2008 United States presidential election. From charismatically discussing change in campaign speeches to highlighting reform across social media websites, hope is solidifying Obama’s rise as an influential twenty-first century icon.

Prior to social media, the Graphic Revolution or the popularity of print publications accelerated a fundamental change in the perception of celebrities. According to Daniel Boorstin, an American historian and University of Chicago professor, the Graphic Revolution gave rise to “pseudo-events” or staged events created to attract publicity. “Pseudo-events,” including televised political debates and press conferences, were created to enhance a celebrity’s perception and increase coverage of a celebrity’s life. As society’s dependence on “servants or television, movies, and radio” increased, “pseudo-events” accelerated a popularity shift from the traditional hero to the creation of the modern celebrity. In particular, interest in the personal lives of public figures or modern celebrities outweighed interest in the accomplishments of the traditional hero.

"Hyperreality" of Social Media
More than fifty years after Boortin’s analysis, social media increasingly accelerate interest in “pseudo-events” and reinforce the “hyperreality” of postmodernity. According to Jean Baudrillard, a postmodern sociologist and philosopher, “what was once ‘real’ in the realm of human interaction has been replaced by a ‘hyperreality,’ in which societal relationships are no longer played out in an actual sense, but are merely ‘simulated.”

Social media tools, including blogs, social networking profiles, video streaming websites, and microblogs create “simulated relationships,” as corporate and personal brands become “friends” with the general public. Popular social websites including Twitter, FaceBook, MySpace, and YouTube increase this “simulated relationship,” because they allow individuals and brands to constantly interact with direct messages, posts, and comments. As brands continually intermingle with target audiences through “simulated relationships,” the definition of a friendship is redefined. As long as a brand, company, or political candidate can send a personal message with a social media tool, he or she is considered a “friend.” In particular, the more “simulated relationships” or electronic friendships a candidate can establish with registered voters, the more he or she creates awareness for their campaign and improves their chance of winning political office.

Accelerate a Tipping Point
Social media tools allow political candidates to constantly connect to and interact with the general public. The emerging media’s pervasive 24/7 connection creates a quicker “tipping point” or mainstream demand in a brand, product, service, or even political candidate. Malcolm Gladwell, author of the best seller The Tipping Point, identifies “tipping points” as “levels at which the momentum for change becomes unstoppable.” Due to the public’s constant access to social media websites, political candidates can create a quicker “tipping point” or popular interest in their candidacy. Social media tools accelerate a “tipping point” beyond earlier adapters to the mainstream, because marketing materials can easily be shared at the click of a mouse.

First Mover Advantage
In 2006, John Edwards, a U.S. Senator from North Carolina, became the first presidential candidate to use the Internet as a medium to announce his candidacy for President of the United States (Vella). Edwards posted a video on YouTube and the video’s viewers created a “tipping point” for his political bid. Viewers were able to watch Edwards’ film and instantly share it with friends via email or sharing the link on a social network. From features on national television shows to discussions in Internet forums, Edwards’ strategic use of YouTube created early awareness for his campaign and enhanced his political brand. Although he ultimately resigned from the 2008 Presidential election, Edwards’ use of social media illustrates how any political candidate can create a “tipping point” and engage voters in a campaign through “simulated relationships.”

Obama's Network
Expanding upon Edwards’ integration of social media into a political campaign, Barack Obama uses various social networking tools to increase awareness for his political brand. From having 2.6 million friends on FaceBook to over 800,000 friends on MySpace to over 100,000 followers on Twitter, Obama is successfully leveraging social media to engage voters in the 2008 election. In fact, Obama has collected more than $200 million USD online through his social network of “simulated relationships” (Holahan). Obama’s social media network is a valuable entity, because it constantly exposes his political brand to registered voters.

According to Zanjoc’s Mere Exposure Theory, the more a person is exposed to something, the more that item becomes likeable, assuming the viewer has a neutral first impression. Unlike traditional print or televisions advertisements that are typically viewed once, social networking profiles are often viewed multiple times as viewers check for profile updates. The natural exposure gradually increases a political candidate’s familiarity and likeability. Sending direct links and personal messages to his electronic friendships, Obama can leverage his large social network to increase exposure and direct substantial traffic to, his official campaign website (see diagram below).

According to’s illustration, averages over two million more unique visitors than, the official campaign website of John McCain, an Arizona Senator and presidential nominee of the Republican Party. The substantial difference in website traffic can be attributed to Obama’s social network that is nearly seven times larger than McCain’s network (Holahan). Although the traffic does not lead to direct votes, the difference increases awareness for Obama and his chance at receiving more campaign volunteers. Additionally, to increase his social marketing edge over McCain, Obama purchased “in-game” advertisements in BurnOut Paradise, a XBOX 360 video game, and launched Obama’08, an iPhone application (Ingram). From a feature on CNN to coverage by countless bloggers, Obama's innovative and unprecedented form of political advertising generated a large return on investment. Media outlets were encouraged to write about its originality, which increased Obama’s awareness and “simulated relationship” with registered voters.

Users of Social Media
Although social media is a valuable entity to engage target audiences in a political brand, mainstream appeal is still limited to certain demographics. According to a 2008 Synovate survey that analyzed 17 markets and polled 13,000 people, 58% respondents did not recognize the term social media (Caverly). This study polled ages ranging from 18-65, the latter who struggled to recognize popular social networking terms. The regular users of social media are extremely vocal about the advantages of the media, which creates the allure that more then 58% of users are engaged in the media. Additionally, a 2006 comScore study reveals that social media’s popularity is divided between 18-24 year-olds and 35-54 year-olds (see chart below).

Although the mainstream users of social media are divided between two distinct demographics, Obama strategically bridged the demographic gap with his charismatic personality. According to Marks & Fischer, the celebrity’s role is to function as an energetic microphone to call admirers to follow a cause. Similar to the “halo effect,” a candidate’s passion and ability to leverage admirable qualities allows their supporters to follow their magnetism.

Obama’s charismatic qualities and promise of change passionately capture voter’s attention and created interest across all demographics. According to Joseph Nye, author of The Powers to Lead and a Harvard University Professor, “followers are more likely to attribute charisma to leaders when they feel a strong need for change, often in the context of a personal, organizational or social crisis.” From the Dow Jones taking its worst plunge in 21 years during October 2008 to unemployment reaching a 5-year high to large U.S. based corporations, including AIG, requiring financial bailouts from the American government, Obama’s charismatic promise of hope and change is a timely message to America’s current financial woes. Unlike John McCain whose Republican party is heavily blamed for implementing bureaucratic policies that contributed to America’s current financial meltdown, Obama can passionately inspire registered voters by promising change to the economic crisis.

As America’s economic climate remains unstable days before the 2008 presidential election, the nerves of worried registered voters are partially alleviated by Obama’s charismatic personality, which has become a vital entity of his political brand. In The Power Elite, Wright Mills systematically defines characteristics of influential leaders. Drawing upon his research as a Professor of Sociology at Columbia University, Mills highlights how powerful leaders are established, shaped and influenced by the mass media. Mills states

“like wealth and power, prestige tends to be cumulative: the more of it you have, the more you can get. These values also tend to be translatable into one another, wealthy find it easier than the poor to gain power; those with status find it easier than those without it to control opportunities for wealth” (10).

In particular, Mills attributes energy and character as vital leadership qualities to accelerate “means of power –as those who occupy command posts” (23). Similar to Marks & Fisher highlighting the importance of a leader’s charisma in The Kings New Bodies, Mills’ argument establishes the framework for the Obama’s development as a political icon. From rallying thousands of supporters in Berlin to ardent appearances on nighttime talk shows, including Oprah, Obama continually exhibits magnetism to garner support. Like the “wealthy find(ing) it easier than the poor to gain power,” Obama continually exhibits charisma to alleviate political worries and promise change.

Charisma Inspiring Participation
In the participatory culture of social media, registered voters continually highlight Obama’s charisma from different perspectives. From Amber Ettinger dancing around in “I’ve Got A Crush on Obama” to A-List celebrities appearing in’s “Yes We Can,” Obama’s supporters continually cut-and-past various aspects from Obama’s speeches to depict his charisma in user-generated YouTube movies. Although “I’ve Got A Crush on Obama” and “Yes We Can” each received over ten million views on YouTube, the films solely reflect the need for change, hope in a new administration, but do not outline specific policy measures. According to Joe Klein, a syndicated Times columnist, “rather than focusing on any specific issue or cause — other than an amorphous desire for change — the message is becoming dangerously self-referential. The Obama campaign all too often is about how wonderful the Obama campaign is.” As Obama’s “simulated relationships” exponentially increased across various social media websites, opponents argued that Obama’s fame became the focus of his campaign ticket.

Additionally, three months before voters officially cast their ballots, movies started circulating on social media websites that critiqued Obama’s celebrity image. In “Celeb,” a YouTube movie comparing Obama’s celebrity icon to the image of Britney Spears and Paris Hilton, John McCain questions Obama’s ability to lead and critiques his campaign policies. Although “Celeb” received two million views on YouTube, the movie ultimately backfired against McCain. To defend her personality, Paris Hilton created her own social media movies that humorously criticized McCain’s age and question his physical condition to lead. In “Paris Responds to McCain Ad,” Hilton amusingly critiques McCain and presents a solution to alleviate America’s energy issues. Following the film’s viral success of over eight million views, Hilton created several spin-offs that portray her running for political office. Similar to voters captivated by Obama’s charisma, viewers are allured to Hilton’s energetic nature. With the social media series, Hilton created her own “pseudo-event,” which illustrates how the general public is continually captivated by the magnetism of public figures.

As Barack Obama’s deliverance of hope and promise change became a central theme to his presidential campaign, opponents continued to critique his political brand. In particular, critics changed the one word message on Shepard Fairey’s famous illustration of Obama from hope to hype (see illustrations below).

The simple change of one word illustrates how opinions can vastly differ in a conflicted media event, especially during a political election. According to Simone Cottle, director of the Media and Communications Program at the University of Melbourne, conflicted media events have “become a victim of its own success, suffering conceptual inflation and loss of analytical bite when applied too widely and too indiscriminately to different types of exceptional media phenomena” (420). As campaign images and political commercials are continually shared in a “hyperreal” fashion through social media’s “simulated relationships,” the impact of a “media phenomena” diminishes. Although the spin off to Fairey’s poster and other negative Obama images, including a political poster depicting the candidate as a former socialist leader, are created to hurt Obama’s political brand; the negative images do not have a lasting, negative effect. Similar to McCain’s “Celeb” YouTube commercial pessimistically critiquing Obama, the negative print posters compete against the vast dispersion of “different types of exceptional media.” The creators of the negative Obama advertisements lack the social media infrastructure to compete against Obama’s “hyperreal” network that is seven times larger than McCain’s network. Obama can instantly disprove negative advertisements and create new content to refute defamatory claims.

Charisma and The Deliverance of Hope
As America movies closer to the results of the presidential election, it may ultimately be the charismatic leadership and allure of an outside political candidate that defined the 2008 election. According to Rakesh Khurana, author of The Corporate Savior, “internal candidates …are considered blemished while external candidates are easily idealized” (61). From a perspective of the 2008 Presidential election, an external candidate, like Obama, displays a “charismatic orientation” that increases a nation’s orientation to “optimism, confidence, and a can-do attitude” (71). From Barack Obama displaying energetic qualities throughout his campaign speeches to his charisma being broadcasted across his social media network, Obama’s dynamic passion distinguished himself from McCain and inspired a can-do attitude in America. No matter the outcome of the election, Obama’s “simulated relationship” to his voters and charisma timely inspired a hope that “can be translated into a benefit for everyone and greater strength for our nation.”

Free Coffee

If you need one extra motivator to go vote today, Starbucks is giving away a free cup of coffee to voters.

From Gillette mailing a free razor to men on their 18th Birthday to Ben & Jerry's Free Cone Day, product giveaways strategically enhance a brand's value proposition to consumers. The key is to select a poignant date that resonates with your target audience.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

November Desktop

(November 2008 Desktop (C) Tiner)

"To me the sea is a continual miracle;

The fishes that swim--the rocks--the motion of the

waves--the ships, with men in them,

What stranger miracles are there?"

-- Walt Whitman excerpt from "Miracles" 1856

Friday, October 31, 2008

Trick or thrill the world?

(Thrill the World, San Francisco)

Trick or Thrill?

Earlier this year, Michael Jackson released Thriller 25, a 25th Anniversary reissue of the world's best selling album Thriller. Maybe Jackson needed to increase album sales to refinance Neverland Ranch, but this week his album inspired Thrill The World, the world's largest reenactment of the Thriller dance.

A few days ago, over 4,000 fans from ten different countries participated in Thrill the World, which broke the existing Guinness World Record for the most simultaneous participants of Thriller. From discussions on national radio shows to Thriller dance videos featured on ESPN, Thrill the World created substantial free PR for Jackson and the commemorative album.

The abundance of free press highlights the importance of adding planned shock to future marketing campaigns. News outlets are constantly searching for timely stories that are unique and unprecedented. Thrill the World's timely occurrence during the week of Halloween and it's attempt to break a world record, created an event that was worth discussing and sharing.

In our participatory culture, marketing campaigns that encourage interaction and shockingly inspire diverse audiences will be the successful campaigns of tomorrow.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

5 More Friends

The creators of 5 Friends just released another film highlighting the importance of voting. Unlike the original 5 Friends PSA that did not feature unknown people, the new PSA combines everyday civilians with A-list celebrities. The combination creates awareness for voter registration while reiterating the importance of civic responsibility.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Add History

(Apple Computer's Think Different Commercial)

"History teaches everything including the future."

When you are creating your next marketing campaign, don't be afraid to incorporate historical elements to resonate with your target audience. Incorporating a familiar reference increases likability and engagement in the promoted product or service. Although the historical figure's achievements may directly relate to your product or service, consumers will identify their revered accomplishments with your brand.