JCPenney's complete store in Facebook: that thing's operational!

By David Kiefaber on Wed Dec 15 2010


JCPenney's decision to build a complete online store within Facebook, where you can not just browse products but buy them too, is as sinister as it is gimmicky. The benefits for the department store are twofold: more sales driven by product visibility in people's news feeds, and more information about its customers. Said information includes their age, taste in products and how often/where they browse, all of which "can be aggregated into analytical data," according to Usable spokesperson Jason Taylor. (Usable built Penny's Facebook storefront.) Other companies—Proctor & Gamble, 1-800-Flowers, etc.—have product catalogs on Facebook, but Penney has outdone them all. At what cost, though? Facebook is the last place I'd want my credit-card information stored (I don't even have my last name on my profile), and this move just further exposes Facebook as a two-way mirror through which marketers and employers spy on the layfolk. None of which matters much to Penney at this point, and I suspect sales will increase simply because they got here before everyone else did. But they're a little too high on their chances of sustaining it once hipper stores climb aboard.

Scott towels' Facebook app helps you shut up your whiny friends

By Todd Wasserman on Fri Nov 12 2010


A lot of brands don't seem to know what to do on Facebook. Some post insipid updates like, "What's everyone doing this weekend?" Some just post boring press releases. But now, Kimberly-Clark's Scott brand has offered something useful: an app for industrial-strength Scott Shop Towels that you can use to tell your whining friends to shut up. The "Suck it Up" app, created by Colossal Squid Industries, went live today. Share it with the complainers on your Facebook feed.

DreamWorks jumps into FarmVille with a 'Megamind' mega-farm

By Todd Wasserman on Fri Nov 5 2010


As the belle of the social-media gaming ball, Zynga's FarmVille has engaged in quite a few corporate hookups of late. There was that 24-hour fling with McDonald's, then another promo with Farmer's Insurance. Now, DreamWorks is promoting its upcoming movie Megamind with a "Mega-Farm" amusement park inside the game—part of a one-day-only promotion tied to the animated movie's premiere today. For those who play the game and annoyingly bug all your Facebook buddies, the promotion includes a "Mega-Grow" formula which helps you instantly grow crops that don't wilt and a collectible decorative item for you to feature in your very own farms. Virtual farmers, rejoice!

Do you like Corona Light beer? No, do you really, really like it?

By Elena Malykhina on Fri Sep 17 2010


Corona Light wants to become the most liked light beer in America, and it's tapping into the power of social networking to make that dream a reality. The brand recently kicked off its first digital effort, calling on consumers to visit its Facebook page and click the "like" button. Easy enough, right? Fans are then invited to upload their photos to the page, and the photos will be projected on a 150-foot-tall digital billboard in Times Square. According to parent company Crown Imports, the campaign is an opportunity for Corona Light to engage with consumers in a new way, while offering a pretty appealing incentive to participate. (Who wouldn't want to be the star of a billboard ad in Times Square?) The last time I checked, more than 10,700 people "liked" Corona Light on Facebook. Seems the incentive really is working.

Stride gum wants you to change your entire life around right now

By Elaine Wong on Fri Aug 27 2010


Leave it to the folks at Stride gum to come up with an idea like this. The Kraft Foods brand today launched a Facebook application that lets consumers "Change your flavor, change your life." It promotes its new flavor-changing Stride Shift gum by showing what life would be like if you actually had a piece. (Who woulda thunk flavor-changing gum was possible?) Facebook users can select from one of four characters—an ostrich jockey, a fortune teller, an adventure traveler and a rodeo clown—and insert themselves in said situation. The site explains: "Our powerful life-changing software will update your Facebook photos with a gallery full of pictures and stories that'll dupe your friends into thinking you've transformed into an entirely new you overnight." We can sort of pass for a fortune teller, are horrendous as a clown, high as an adventure traveler and a-OK as an ostrich jockey. All of them are quite an evolution from marketing blogger. We'll have to see if our friends are fooled. JWT New York created the app.

McDonald's gets inspirational with its beefy 'Angus Axioms' site

By Todd Wasserman on Fri Aug 27 2010


McDonald's wants you not only to enjoy its Angus Snack Raps, but to be inspired by them. That, at least, seems to be the thinking behind "Angus Axioms," a promotion the brand rolled out this week on Facebook. Mad Libs-style, the site asks you to enter your name, an interest and a "random adjective." The result, in my case, is above. I've never actually had an Angus Snack Rap, so I don't feel comfortable using this as a status update, but I do agree that life flavored with Swiss cheese is awesome.

Reckitt Benckiser's idea of fun is working at Reckitt Benckiser

By Elena Malykhina on Wed Jul 14 2010


Ever wonder what it would be like to work as a marketing executive at a large company (if you're not one already)? Thanks to social media, and a new game from packaged-goods maker Reckitt Benckiser, you don't have to wait to land an actual job to find out. A new game, dubbed poweRBrands, is now live on Facebook. It lets you (virtually) join the firm as a marketing executive, and move up the corporate ladder by completing various tasks. The ultimate reward? Becoming president of Reckitt. According to the company, the game is part of an initiative to "make learning about our industry and marketing both relevant and fun." PoweRBrands is aimed at 18- to 30-year-olds, or those who may be early in their careers and looking to learn how Reckitt's marketing division operates. Come on, marketing must be as fun as farming, right? This is yet another example of a company using social-media games to raise brand awareness. See more examples in our special issue this week on digital gaming.

Vitaminwater introduces a new flavor inspired by … Facebook?

Posted on Wed Jan 13 2010


It's kind of bitter, it puts me on edge, and I'm sure it's not good for me. But I can't stop drinking it. I'm powerless against its empty calories. I haven't even tasted it yet, but I fully expect this to be my reaction to Connect, the new Vitaminwater flavor inspired by omnipresent social-not-working site Facebook. Why should the caffeine-laced drink be any different than its namesake? TechCrunch gives us the vitals: It launches in March with Facebook logos and slanguage on its packaging; it's black-cherry lime with "eight key nutrients"; and it came about after a contest on the site to design a new flavor. (Congrats, Sarah from Illinois!) Soon, we'll all be able to physically ingest what we've been gobbling up virtually all this time. Check out the infomercial here that kicked off the sweeps.

—Posted by T.L. Stanley

Eight O'Clock Coffee cannot believe you're not on Facebook yet

Posted on Wed Dec 16 2009

For those of you who still don't know how Facebook works (how you've managed that, we don't know), Eight O'Clock Coffee has launched a video tutorial on how to use the social-networking site. This Facebook for dummies guide can be found on the coffee brand's homepage and also on its Facebook profile. The four-and-a-half-minute video show you how to set up a user profile, search and add friends. Point is, connecting with friends and family over the Web is like "catching up with an old friend over a cup of coffee," senior brand manager Alisa Jacoby says. (Too bad they're not serving virtual coffee, too.)

—Posted by Elaine Wong

Motorola finds a nice, cozy place inside Facebook status updates

Posted on Thu Nov 5 2009


David Armano posted an alert on his Posterous blog this week that Motorola has somehow been getting into Facebook streams. He noticed the cell phone maker's logo appearing next to some status updates. After looking around, I found a Motorola page on Facebook, rich in fans and various elements touting Motoblur, a new service from Motorola that the company claims "puts everything you're into at your fingertips." The service, available on the Andoid-based CLIQ smartphone, is in essence a unified inbox for texts, e-mails and messages from Facebook, MySpace and Twitter. Motorola told me that the small Motorola logo appears when consumers use Motoblur to update Facebook from their CLIQ phones. Given the social nature of Motoblur, it's no surprise the phone maker is using a social network to get buzz going. It's proof that we're more connected than ever, and that we can't escape brand advertising, not even in our private, and yet very public, digital world.

—Posted by Elena Malykhina



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