My updated theory on how island Sawyer dies…
In “The Substitute, the 4th episode of season 6, Sawyer puts fake Locke – and himself – to the test:
SAWYER: Do you read?
LOCKE: Excuse me?
SAWYER: Books. Do you read books?
LOCKE: Sure. Who doesn’t?
SAWYER: My favorite’s Steinbeck. Of Mice and Men. You know that one?
LOCKE: Nope. A little after my time…
SAWYER: It’s about these two guys, George and Lennie. Lennie’s kinda slow… causin’ George problems… so George walks him into the woods and tells him to look out yonder and picture the pretty little house they’re gonna live in some day. Then he shoots Lennie in the back of the head.
LOCKE: Well that doesn’t sound like a happy ending.
SAWYER: It ain’t.
[Sawyer points a gun at Locke]
LOCKE: What’s on your mind, James?
SAWYER: I’m wonderin’ what would happen to you if I put a bullet in your head.
LOCKE: Why don’t we find out?
Fast forward now to the showdown at the OK Corral, where fake Locke and his group of gullibles have managed to capture the temple. Proud of his accomplishment, only Flocke knows that this is just the first battle of the war.
Flocke smiles at James and asks him to accompany him. “Where to almighty wizard?” Flock smiles: “I told you you were close. Now let me show you just how close we are.” Flocke leads Sawyer through and below the temple where they come upon a standing pool of water. Flocke tells James to look into the pool and picture his future.
Then Flocke shoots Sawyer in the back of the head.
Island Sawyer and Juliet are dead. Long live Sawyer and Juliet.
Okay, so once a year I indulge my inner child by talking about LOST. I am a fan bordering on being a fanatic. Have not missed an episode since the season premiere. Don’t know why. Can not explain it. Hooked.
Anyway, for anyone out there who is likewise or even remotely as interested as I am in this insanity (I blame it all on Shel Silverstein – Jimmy Jet and his TV Set), I want to go on record with my “reveal” of how the season and series will wrap itself up.
It’s 8:15 a.m. and Desmond Hume’s alarm clock is blaring. He awakens on his sailboat and joyfully calls out to Penny and little Charlie to let them know he is awake and ready to join them for breakfast. No reply. “Penny?” “Charlie?” Joy turns to surprise. “Penny.” Surprise turns to apprehension. “Penny! Charlie!” Apprehension turns to fear as Desmond reaches the deck, his head (and the camera) swirling. No one in sight. Desmond is alone. “PENNNNY!” “CHARLIEEE!”
Back on the island, Dark Locke and his band of mystified misfits attack the Temple. It is now clear that Flocke’s intent is to kill every living soul on the island… fight together, die alone. While Jack and Hugo are off at the lighthouse pondering Jack’s destiny, the battle royale is in full swing. Jin and Sawyer are along for the ride (caught up and clueless) until they spot their constants (Sun and Kate) and quickly move to protect them from the melee.
Back in the real world, Desmond goes to the only place he can go. Confronting Charles Widmore, who appears not to recognize Desmond and suggests that he has no idea who this “penny and baby Charlie” are… until Desmond mentions the island. “You know about the island?” Widmore asks. Desmond is frantic and frustrated and, well, lost. “Of course I know, you know I know.” Neither Desmond nor Charles appear to know that the “incident” has changed their fate as well. But they piece it together and Desmond is off immediately to do the one thing he and Charles have both failed to do for six years – destroy the island (follow a bearing of 325 degrees or 305 degrees).
Okay, this post (like season 6) is already getting too long.
Flocke wants to free himself from the island. Jacob wants to keep Flocke on the island. The Losties want to go home. Desmond and Widmore want to blast the damn island into oblivion. Where will the madness end as all the forces finally converge on the temple with different and opposing goals? And don’t forget, there is a sideways life going on back in the real world.
Sooner or later you have to make a choice. You can’t have it both ways. You either live in the real world or live in the “other” world. So Sawyer gets dead and Jin gets dead and Sun gets dead and Sayid gets dead and Claire gets dead and Ben gets dead, and they all live out the life they were meant to live back in Tustin, California.
It requires pure good to destroy pure evil, so Flocke gets taken out by Desmond.
As for Jack and Kate, it turns out Ms. Austen got pregnant on her last trip back home, and Jack is the man, so they must die in Tustin and spend their remaining days raising their family on the island… and Jacob and Ilana will be around – if only in spirit – should you need them.
Of course, this is all ridiculous conjecture – part science, part romance, mostly lunacy – and none of it is likely to happen this way. But what the heck, the series can only end once, anything that happens before that is just progress.
I was flipping through the March issue of Glamour earlier this week and was completely shocked to see a series of ads for Kmart’s fashion line. We have all grown accustom to and accepted Target in the fashion industry. Their unique hook is landing big designer names such as Jean Paul Gaultie, but Kmart? After doing a quick search online, apparently this isn’t the first time Kmart is appearing in the fashion magazines.
However, the more I thought about it, the more it made sense. During this recession and even now, consumers are still very frugal and looking for ways to save money. From my perspective, Kmart has a short window of opportunity to really gain market share in the clothing industry. But from what I can see, they aren’t doing anything unique that will bring in the fashionistas.
With all the media industry changes (layoffs, magazines closing, etc.), is it harder to get media coverage? And what specifically can you do to ensure your story is heard?
By Jennifer Manocchio
Yesterday we were in a meeting with a consumer packaged goods marketing VP, and she asked us this question. I can honestly say that while there have been major changes in the media industry in the past few years, the publicity and media relations skills required to achieve quality media coverage have not changed in the decade I have been in the industry.
It certainly is harder to get media coverage because there are fewer magazines; there are fewer reporters to pitch due to layoffs; and there is less space for stories. The competition is definitely fierce, but at the end of the day it boils down to going to the correct media contact with a good story. Below are three tips for winning “ink” in today’s competitive media market.
1. Media list: While developing a good media list can be tedious, it is essential to success. It doesn’t matter how great your story is if you are telling it to the wrong person.
Traditional media database services like can Cision, Burrells/Luce and Vocus can help get you started; however, take it a step further. Research the reporter and discover what he or she typically writes about to ensure your pitch is relevant. Sometimes during this process we locate a better beat reporter who was not listed in our online media database. For publications that are particularly important to your organization, set up Google Alerts to monitor a specific beat reporter on an ongoing basis.
2. Craft a good story: There are two ways to look at developing a good pitch. First, you can be proactive and develop a story you feel meets the needs of your organization but is also something the media will be interested in. For example, for a leading cleaning products manufacturer we developed a number of tips to help consumers quickly and easily clean up their garage sale items with the goal of achieving a higher profit. The media loved the idea and we achieved coverage across the country.
The second opportunity is be reactive and respond to current events or situations that your company spokesperson could provide insight on. For example, we were monitoring the news for reactive story opportunities for a leading Ohio university and saw that the recession was requiring a lot of recent graduates to move back home with their parents. We quickly called the president of the university, who has a PhD in psychology, to get his feedback on what guidelines parents should set when their college graduate moves back home (e.g. should they have curfews or should they charge rent?). We contacted a financial reporter at the Washington Post, whose column was also syndicated, and she loved the story. The story not only appeared in the Washington Post, but in newspapers and on web sites across the nation.
3. Follow-up: While email is a great way to communicate with reporters, telephone follow-up is still critical when it comes to achieving media coverage. With more emails cluttering their inboxes and less time to read email, reporters can easily miss a great story.
However, be sure when you follow up you have something additional to tell the reporter. Never say “I’m following up to see if you got my email” or you will quickly hear a dial tone. Also, be prepared to tell your story in as few words as possible. Even if you get a reporter to answer his or her phone (these days we got a lot of voicemail), their time is still limited.
Need help securing quality national, regional or local media coverage? Contact me at jennifer at sweeneypr.com or 910.772.1688.
Call it what you want. Call it spinning. Call it baring his soul. Call it dancing. But please don’t call it PR. Our industry doesn’t need any help smearing its image.
Tiger Woods is to PR what Michael Vick is to veterinary medicine. There is no connection.
Tiger is a phenomenal golfer. And based on his admission today, he is a terrible husband. But he is not a public relations professional and this was not a public relations move. This was a guy protecting his livelihood.
And if you insist on calling it PR, at least have the decency to label it as bad PR, much the way Enron’s ex-CFO Andrew Fastow practiced “bad accounting” and landed in a U.S. jail for 10 years.
Any communications professional worth his or her salt will tell you that Tiger waited WAY TOO LONG to talk. And now that he finally did speak out – conducting a one-way “media conference” – we can also tell you that he accomplished nothing. As a result, when Tiger finally does make his way back onto a golf course, fully expect an exceptionally brutal and slightly uncomfortable reception from fans and media alike. I believe this goes to one of Buddha’s Four Noble Truths:
Samudaya: There is a cause for suffering.
I truly hope that Tiger gets his life together. I hope he can prove himself to be a worthy husband, father and son. And I hope he finds his way back to the golf course and still has his game.
I also hope everyone realizes this is not PR.
Lists are great. They help us focus on what’s really important instead of getting lost in a sea of data. And for those of us with attention deficit disorder, they allow us to latch on to the essence of things and forgive us for forgetting the nasty details where the devil lives.
Having spent most, though not all of my life in Cleveland, I was thrilled to hear while on my drive into work this morning that in addition to adding Antawn Jamison to the Cavs roster, we topped another list: The Most Miserable U.S. City.
According to Forbes, “The widely tracked Misery Index initiated by economist Arthur Okun, which combines unemployment and inflation rates started 2009 at 7.3 and rose to 12.7 by the end of the year thanks to soaring joblessness. That is the highest level since 1983.”
Apparently we edged out Stockton, CA for the top spot honor. Take that. In the words of Shaq, “Hey Stockton, tell me how my a** tastes.” Next in line was Memphis, Detroit and Flint. Chicago and New York are also in the top 20. It’s a veritable Who’s Who of misery.
In case you are wondering, Arthur Okun is dead. And as Ben Linus says in LOST, “Dead is dead.” But his legacy lives on. In the world of economics, Arthur Okun was the man. He had a brilliant education, a stellar career and a lot of great ideas, like Okun’s Law and his supply-side theory of the “leaky bucket”.
But I am pretty confident that his renown as the Father of the Misery Index is not something he would be terribly proud of; at least not the way it is being used. I am almost positive, though I never met the man, he had no intention of having Cleveland, Chicago and New York make national headlines as America’s Most Miserable Cities.
I know that Americans love their lists, and I also know that misery loves company. But with all due deference to Forbes, Arthur Okun and David Letterman, I am absolutely certain this is one list we can all do without.
Last year Good Housekeeping Research Institute began a VIP (Very Innovative Products) Award, which identifies the top consumer products that help solve problems, perform well and are innovative. This year, more than 1,650 products were evaluated and Good Housekeeping selected 10 “winners” that are featured in the February issue. Here are five of my favorites!
Nikon Coolpix S1000PJ Camera: Features the first built in projector that is capable of casting images up to 40 inches diagonally. No more huddling around your digital camera to show friends/family members the pics!
TravelChair and Cocoon Bunk Sack: This travel chair and sleeping bag feature insect repellent embedded fabric that keeps insects away! The best part is that it is EPA-registered and approved for children and pregnant women.
Remington Frizz Therapy: Features conditioning polymers that cover that plates and keep your hair frizz-free for up to 15 hours (even in humidity). Living in the South… this is a must!
Fire Wire Flexible Grill Skewers: This 27-inch skewer can bend and fit into bags or bowls for marinating, and when ready for the grill you can move the skewer around anything else on the grill.
Carbona 2 in 1 Oven Rack and Grill Cleaner: You simply use the supplied plastic bag, put in your oven racks or grill grates, pour in the cleaner and let it soak overnight. According to Good Housekeeping there is little scrubbing necessary. I’m already sold!
Think you have an innovative product that might make the cut and want help getting your product in front of Good Housekeeping? Contact me at jennifer at sweeneypr.com or 910.772.1688.
I’m thinking about starting a corporate Twitter account. What steps do I need to consider before creating an account?
By Jennifer Manocchio
Twitter can be a great tool to engage customers and prospects with your brand. However, a lot of corporate Twitter accounts have crashed and burned mostly because the focus was too self-promotional.
The key to Twitter (or any social media site) is ENGAGEMENT. In order to effectively engage your customers and prospects, it takes some thought and strategic planning. To help you get started in the right direction, consider these five questions prior to starting a Twitter account.
1. What are your goals? Be sure to document what you hope to achieve by starting a Twitter account. Do you want to increase brand awareness, increase engagement with current customers, increase web site traffic, increase sales? This will help you determine what the content focus should be and provide a way to measure the success of this marketing tool.
2. Who will be Tweeting? Determine who the “face” of Twitter will be. For example, Zappos features CEO Tony Hsieh and Aflac features the Aflac Duck. The Aflac Duck works because he has a following and it is fun to see what the duck is up to (his latest post: “The best part of working in a nineteen story building? Paper airplanes that, with the proper counterweight, can near Mach 1”). Tony Hsieh’s Twitter page is successful because people want some insight into how and why he is so successful. He currently boasts 1.6 million followers!
Consider who at your company people would want to follow on Twitter. Does someone within the company already have credibility established or have good name recognition within your industry? Is there a fictional character associated with your brand that people care about and would engage with (i.e the Geico Gecko)?
3. What is the content focus? A Twitter account will be successful if the content is something your followers or prospective followers want or if the content creates an opportunity for engagement, or two-way conversation. It could be coupons or new promotions specific to Twitter followers, customer service support, direct tweets to answer product use questions, retweets (RT) that highlight viewpoints of a loyal customer or tips on how to make their lives easier. However, avoid too many news releases and company blog links. Too much self-promotion will only steer people away from your Twitter account.
Jet Blue is a great example of a successful Twitter account. It currently has 1.6 million followers because they have established a page (http://twitter.com/JETBLUE) focused on answering customer’s questions. In fact, I only saw one promotional post in the last week!
4. How much time will you commit? Sure social media can be an inexpensive way to reach customers and prospects on the surface (the account is free); however, consider how many hours a day or week you want to devote to Twitter. If you decide to use Twitter as a customer service function, you will likely need full-time staff.
It is important to establish a time investment to help ensure your Twitter account is updated regularly, but also that it is not consuming too much of your time.
5. How will you measure success? As with every marketing and public relations strategy, you want to establish metrics for measuring the success of Twitter. Certainly the number of followers is one easy way to measure the success; however, consider measuring how many people went to your web site from Twitter, how many people downloaded a coupon or participated in a special promotion, how many people are tweeting about your brand and the context (positive, negative, neutral) of the posts.
Need help establishing your Twitter account or want to increase your followers and level of engagement? Contact me at jennifer at sweeneypr.com or 910.772.1688.
As I read the headlines in the New York Times this morning, my head began to shake left-to-right, then it began rattling uncontrollably until it finally popped off. What in the world is going on out there? Have we lost our sensibilities? Have we lost our way?
I am no expert (as many will attest), but I am pretty darn sure there is something wrong in the world when:
in the middle of a recession caused by the banking industry, the head of Wells Fargo, John Stumpf, receives an annual salary of $18.7 million.
the best opportunity American motor companies have to increase sales is to offer consumers $1,000 discounts on Toyota trade-ins.
10 years (and billions of dollars) after serious discussion began on the issue of global warming (climate-change), there remains no consensus and no action.
one of the federal government’s more successful and popular programs is food stamps.
the President’s wife has to mount a national campaign to let parents know their children are obese.
Maybe it’s just me, but this sound very much like what my dad often referred to as “going the hell in a hand basket.” It reminds me of something from you youth…
Ann Taylor Loft recently issued an invitation to bloggers to preview the retailer’s summer collection, rewarding bloggers who posted about the new line by including them in a gift card drawing. Was Ann Taylor Loft in compliance with the new FTC blogger regulations?
The short answer is “no”, and there are several reasons why.
First, according to Jezebel, a blog that was invited to participate in the campaign but declined, almost none of the bloggers participating in the campaign disclosed to readers that they would receive the chance to win a high value gift card after submitting their review to Ann Taylor’s publicist.
Whether or not a blogger discloses a material relationship with a company when posting a review, it is ultimately the company’s responsibility to ensure that proper disclosure takes place under new FTC regulations. Ann Taylor should have included a reminder in their invitation to disclose to readers they had received a gift card after submitting their review. Furthermore, it was Ann Taylor’s responsibility to continue to follow up with bloggers until all disclosures had been made.
Additionally, the fact that blogger reviews were submitted to a publicist before gift card values were revealed to participating bloggers could indicate that Ann Taylor rewarded bloggers according to how positive individual reviews were.
When a company commits to a campaign that invites bloggers to review its products, it automatically surrenders any right to control messaging about its product. Marketers should not attempt to stifle or hide negative blogger feedback. Instead, they should welcome such feedback as an opportunity to make product improvements. If a blogger points out an issue with a product, it is likely other consumers will face the same issue. If handled properly, a negative review can become an opportunity for a marketer to continue a public conversation with consumers, showcasing a commitment to customer satisfaction.
Ultimately, it is not illegal to provide payment or some other form of compensation to bloggers who review your products. However, the new FTC guidelines emphasize the importance of transparency in blogger relations and particularly during product review campaigns. And while the responsibility to disclose rests on the blogger, it is the marketer’s responsibility to ensure bloggers are doing so, regardless of how much nudging that takes.
To ensure your blogger relations efforts are in compliance with he new FTC guidelines, check out our recent post, The Impact FTC Guidelines Have on Blogger Relations, to get caught up on the changes.
Want to implement a blogger relations campaign or have questions about the FTC guidelines as they relate to social media marketing, contact me at email@example.com or 440.333.0001 ext. 105.
Apparently the toy industry has come along way since bikes, roller skates and Barbie dolls with its first app-enabled toy. This Sunday Wild Plant Entertainment will be introducing the Spy Video Trakr, a remote controlled robot that features a night vision video camera, speakers, a microphone and a route-mapping feature, at the American International Toy Fair.
But was is even cooler is Spy Video Trakr gives kids the ability to create custom web-based applications for specific spying missions and then share the apps with other kids online. So kids can program the toy to do exactly what they want it to do. The news release announcing the launch uses the following example:
If they’ve (kids) created and downloaded a custom app, the vehicle can snap a picture of the person who crosses the threshold, call out “You’re busted little brother, I’ve got a picture of you sneaking into my room,” then squeal its tires and automatically navigate its way back to the driver.
The product manufacturer feels kids can create more successful custom applications than they could ever dream of and they are probably correct. The possibilities are endless when it comes to kids’ imaginations.
However, don’t start running to Toys “R” Us just yet. Spy Video Trakr will not be available until October for $120.
Among my favorite and most vivid schoolboy memories is Valentine’s day. With barely an effort I can still conjure up the fresh smell of chalk and chocolate, and the joyful sounds of giggling girls and tortured boys as we all sorted through and passed out our Valentine cards.
Sure, it was a holiday created and perpetuated by the greeting card companies, but who cares? We got cards from pretty girls and candy from loving parents, and everyone, everywhere seemed happy and dare I say, in love.
But that was then and this is now.
The greeting card industry lost control of this holiday about two decades ago, when the floral industry and the candy industry and the alcohol industry and the restaurant industry and all the other sweetheart industries found a loophole in the “love” rule.
And what was once a beautiful and innocent day of swooning and smooching is now an ugly example of what my dad used to call a businessman’s holiday.
So I have to ask: what will you give (or get) this Valentine’s day? Maybe a Vermont Teddy Bear or a lovely floral bouquet from 1-800-IMPERSONAL. Perhaps a sexy baby doll tap set from Pajamagram or a heart pendant from Tiffany & Co. Personally I am holding out for the Couples Massage gift certificate.
Or maybe I’ll go Web 2.0 and send an e-card or just tweet my sweet.
Perhaps this year, regardless of what else we do or whatever goofy gift we decide on, we should all take a moment to look our loved ones in the eyes. Embrace your significant other, your children, your parents, whoever. Go nose to nose and just stare for a moment. Then tell them in no uncertain terms – with all the honesty and innocence you can muster up – I love you. I promise you, they won’t know what hit them.
Happy Valentine’s Day.
Why are web site landing pages important, and when do I need to create one?
By Jennifer Manocchio
By definition, a landing page is a web site that a visitor “lands” on when he or she clicks on an online banner advertisement, a search-engine result, an email or a pay-per-click advertisement. The purpose is threefold.
First, the landing page is logical content that is an extension of the ad, email or search-engine result that keeps the visitor engaged. For example, if a person sees a banner ad for a new cookie and clicks it, he or she expects to see a page about that specific cookie and perhaps a coupon that encourages a purchase, not the manufacturer’s home page.
Second, a landing page allows a company or individual to track the results of a specific campaign. This allows you to see how many people clicked through the ad or email and what they did when they arrived at the landing page. Based on the traffic patterns, the landing page can be improved to enhance the results. For example, if visitors are going to the landing page and immediately leaving or are not taking the desired action (e.g. completing a form, purchasing a product, downloading a coupon, etc.), there is a problem that must be addressed.
Finally, you can also create several landing pages for an advertising or email campaign to see which landing page achieves the best results.
Each time you conduct an online banner ad campaign, pay-per-click campaign, organic search engine optimization or email campaign, you should consider if a landing page needs to be created. Sometimes a page on the existing web site might already be relevant, and there is no need to create a new landing page.
For example, if you are promoting a special Valentine’s Day cookie and there is a web page already created that provides information on this special cookie and allows visitors to order it, a landing page might not be a worthwhile investment. However, if this is a seasonal cookie and your web site doesn’t include a specific page about it, a landing page will be necessary. You never want to drive potential customer to a generic page, or even worse, your homepage. You will likely achieve a high bounce rate if consumers have to search for information that should be immediately available.
Ask yourself this question: Will a landing page help explain the content in the advertisement or email better, and does it have the potential to increase conversions? If yes, then create a landing page. If you are already investing in an advertising, search engine optimization or an email campaign, why fall short and risk below average results?
Need to create a landing page or want to learn more about the benefits, please contact me at jennifer at sweeneypr.com or 910.772.1688.
Just yesterday, my co-workers and I were discussing spring cleaning and if there are any real miracle products out there that save time. My co-workers laughed at me when I mentioned The Pumie – a pumice stone for your toilet bowl.
One day I was having a hard time getting the rings to come off the inside of our toilets. I was scrubbing and scrubbing. Then I remembered one of our clients – The Housekeeping Channel – had recommended the Pumie to a media outlet, and I thought I would give it a shot. Luckily, my local grocery store carried the Pumie, but it was never something I would have found on my own. The packaging is not attractive and there is little awareness for this product.
But boy was I surprised… it was amazing how quickly and what little elbow grease the Pumie needed to do its job. And best of all, this product is 100 percent natural and doesn’t require chemicals to work. It’s a win-win for me and the environment.
Have you tried any miracle products recently that save you time? Feel free to share your experiences in the comments section!
I was not paid or asked to write this review. I also have no relationship with the Pumie manufacturer that would affect my review.