Thursday, May 29, 2008

Send In The Clowns.

See below a fantastic print ad from DDB Stockholm/Sweden for the Volkswagen-owned ┼ákoda car line. This is actually from around mid-2007 but if you have not already seen it, then it’s still in the New To You category…

So sure, the whole "our Pricing department is staffed by a bunch of clowns" thing has been done many times before - and for some reason quite frequently in the automotive space, ie. for spots promoting Wacky Larry’s Super Car Deals Emporium and the like - but in this case the concept’s execution is innovative enough to receive top marks from me.

And of course everybody loves clowns, or
don’t they?

(Click image to view larger version in new window)

Friday, May 16, 2008

With Friends Like These, Who Needs Enemies?

So we are nearly halfway through 2008 already and I still don't have a Facebook account...but one of the (very few) Web 2.0/social networking tools that I do use often and truly find valuable is LinkedIn.

Now for those of you living in a cave the past few years and are therefore not aware of LinkedIn, it is recognized as the top business-oriented Social Networking site and as of March 2008 listed more than 20 million registered users spanning 150 industries. Some references call it “the business version of Facebook” but as one of the few remaining non-Facebook account holders on the planet I would say this comparison is inaccurate at best…and offensive at worst.

LinkedIn offer a free and highly effective method for expanding your network of personal and professional contacts, increasing visibility of Your Personal Brand online as well as digging up information about others in the business world.

OK, for some reason I recently started getting pretty active with efforts to expand my network of LinkedIn contacts…no problem, right?

Wrong. This exercise has proven a bit more challenging than originally expected, for a couple of reasons…first, I tend to only invite or accept invitations from people I know fairly well and have had some level of interaction with previously. This limits the total universe of potential adds I can approach. The second obstacle is that many potential adds either do not respond to an invitation. Or the response is that they have not yet signed on with LinkedIn and don’t want to go to the trouble of creating a profile on yet another service just so they can become connected to me. Fair enough, I suppose…

I believe this is their loss. As I mentioned above I find numerous benefits to using LinkedIn. It is absolutely a good way to present your professional profile online. In the process of being recruited for several jobs over the past few months I would often do a Google search to get info about someone I would be meeting and many times the only hit I would get back (at least with enough information to be of value in terms of their background, anyway) would be on LinkedIn. And in many instances their LinkedIn profile was one of the few – if not only – instances of that person having any kind of online *presence* whatsoever.

Another benefit of LinkedIn is access to a growing number of posted job opportunities. A lot of these require that you are connected in some way to the job poster via your LinkedIn network in order to be eligible to apply. Or sometimes there is a stipulation that you must have received one or more Recommendations from others in your LinkedIn network. This is exactly what it sounds like, since a key feature of LinkedIn is that it allows you to receive Recommendations from connections within your network and also post recommendations for others, basically LinkedIn’s version of an online reference letter.

Like employment references in the Real World, most times they are a sober yet enthusiastic endorsement of the person in question, effusively listing positive abilities, personal qualities and generally describing how great someone is ad nauseum. Well I actually came across a LinkedIn recommendation recently that stood out for its innovative approach and clear sense of humour:

“Jamie is smart, hardworking and very personable...but
I feel I have to relate that on more than one occasion
I witnessed him putting his used coffee mug in the
sink - unwashed. Not only did he not rinse it and
put it in the dishwasher as indicated by the sign "your
mother does not work here etc." but he just left it
there with a little bit of sludge in it. I'm sure he
was really busy at the time, but still. I just felt
I needed to be balanced in my feedback and I probably
should have confronted him with it at the time.”

Thought this was just great…demonstrating creativity on the part of the writer along with a fun easy-going attitude from the recommendee who allowed this recommendation to be posted within their profile.