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Category: Favourite Things

Obama Mania – Mario Parisé's 2008 Favourite Thing

Is there any doubt that 2008 was the Year of Obama?  Never before have I seen a political candidate generate so much excitement. 

Amongst the many aspects of his campaign that can – rightfully – be praised as groundbreaking and progressive, the real secret to his success has been going back to basics.

In August 2007, I wrote that marketers needed to embrace the spirit of the web, not the technology.  It doesn't matter if someone comes out with the most amazing social network of all time; what matter is how it brings people together.

In the same way, we can pick apart and praise many of the technological achievements of Obama's campaign.  We can talk about his advanced paid search program, his remarkable usage of social media, even his willingness to experiment on the edges of technology with virtual worlds and in-game advertising.  But this would completely miss the point.

The reason President-Elect Barack Obama was able to take the nation by storm was because he connected people.

He did not use race to divide a nation; he used it to unite it.  He did not attack his opponent; he rose above him.  He did not dumb down his message; he made the complex simple.  Throughout his entire campaign, he stood proud not for himself, not for his own accomplishments, but for the accomplishments of the people.

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Shazam, Hippopost and Paying the Taxman – Sonia Carreno's 2008 Favourite Things

2008 was such a great year for adoption and innovation.  Here are three things that made me either smile or think hard about being online this year.

Favourite Application
Shazam ScreenshotPicking a favourite application is not easy.  I’m sure that there are applications that are more useful and some that may even end world hunger but I just can’t resist mentioning Shazam.

Think of all the times you’ve heard a song playing but didn’t know what it was. Whether on the car radio, a shopping mall, at a friend's house, or a bar, the Shazam application "listens" to the song for about 30 seconds, quickly scans it against its database of around 5 million songs and then sends a text message to your phone telling you the name of the artist and song title.  The iPhone application is hooked up to iTunes so the song is yours in under a minute. 

Shazam not only serves a cool purpose, it also speaks volumes about the progression of sophisticated search technology. Brilliant.

Notable Industry Realizations
While a big theme this year was about “letting go” and having marketers accept the uncontrollable nature of social media (there were some great talks from Unilever and General Motors on this topic in 2008), I found a more constructive theme warranted deeper reflection.

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