How does your garden grow?

Abby & Grace

Abby & Grace

You plant a garden. Your flowers don’t grow.

You don’t criticize and yell at your flowers.

You water, fertilize, and nurture them… and your garden grows.

Think about your family, friends, and co-workers.

When you find them not doing what they’re supposed to do, or not doing it in a way you want it done, what do you do? Do you criticize them?

Or do you teach, nurture, and support them?

To Do Today: Don’t criticize others.  Try to understand what they need to be successful and then provide it.

– Friar Telly, II

Moonvertising: Brilliant Idea or Gullible Consumers?

Man, we’re gullible. I don’t mean you, of course. I mean the collective “we”, as in the “we” who are still forwarding email messages that Bill Gates is running an experiment to give away cash. While it hasn’t happened yet, I expect my InBox to begin filling with messages decrying the use of the moon as advertising space and attempting to organize a boycott of Rolling Rock beer.

By now you’ve likely seen one of the billboards or TV spots instructing you to gaze thoughtfully at the next full moon (March 21) to see a gigantic Rolling Rock icon emblazoned there. (You can stay inside watching reruns of “I Love Lucy”… It’s not going to happen. First, we simply haven’t harnessed the power necessary to fire the laser that far that cleanly to make it work. Next, the FAA isn’t going to allow it. Finally, imagined how irritated people would be when the moon becomes a billboard.)

[Disclaimer: Those crafty Russians may have figured out a way to build this laser and would likely sell their grandmother’s derriere for advertising space, so that’s about the only conceivable possibility that this might come to pass. But I’d put the odds at about twice as unlikely as winning the Powerball.]

What Rolling Rock is hoping to gain is buzz. And that makes me feel a little dirty for even writing about it, as every mention of the campaign will be scraped, wrapped up, tied with a bow and called a success. Please don’t misunderstand me: this might get noticed, it might generate buzz, and you (they) might call it a success. But I will be astonished if sales of Rolling Rock go up an appreciable degree outside of the normal spike they might see after a large, expensive, national advertising campaign.

[Disclaimer Two: You know, Hugo Chavez has a lot of money. I could see him trying to do this just to thumb his nose at our pesky FAA regulations. “Oil for lasers” or something like that.]

We might be dumb enough to look up at the moon next week, whether out of idle curiosity or misguided intentions, but I just don’t see that translating into “Gosh, looks like the laser failed. I think I’ll head to the liquor store and grab a six pack of Rolling Rock.”

Every new author of a best-seller can demonstrate that “buzz” is good. Eliot Spitzer can demonstrate that buzz can be very, very bad. Be careful that you’re cultivating the right kind with the right strategy, or you might end up trying to shoot the moon… and miss.

Warning: I'm About to Toot the Rare Bird Horn

We’ve had some good news this week. The Web Marketing Association has announced the winners of its annual WebAwards and Rare Bird was recognized for four sites, including winning top honors in the shopping category.

From the Association: “With thousands of entries from more than 40 countries, the WebAwards set the standard of excellence for successful web site development.”

[See our award winners]

Searching for "How To…"

I’m always intrigued to lurk around and see what types of things people are searching for. Luckily, there are some sites out there like Hitwise that make it fairly easy.

What kind of insights can be gleaned through this type of voyeurism? Good question. Try visiting Google and searching for… (Just kidding.)

A recent Time Magazine article examined the emerging use of search engines to do more than perform simple queries. Increasingly, we’re asking these tools to sort through mountains of data to answer philosophical questions (why?) and instructional ponderings (how to?) It’s the second of these that recently caught my eye.

Did you know, for instance, that over the last two years, the How To question asked most often has been “How to tie a tie?” Seriously, haven’t we gotten this down yet?

Other notables:

“How to make out?”
“How to kiss?”
“How to have sex?”
(Those seem obvious, but I might be missing something. Now I’ll have to check.)

“How to levitate?” (That’s one I’d actually like to know.)

“How to get pregnant?” (No comment.)

Regardless, it’s an interesting look at culture through our common queries, which now account for almost three percent of all searches.