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Jason Alleger

Contributed by Jason Alleger

We all hate captchas—you know, those squiggly, impossible-to-read words that you have to decipher and type into a box. They seem to blanket the internet in an unending puzzle. In fact, there are more than 200 million captchas solved every day.

But did you know that by solving a captcha, you are participating in the largest transcription effort of all time? Pioneered by Google, a captcha takes scanned books, breaks apart individual words, and then displays them in boxes. When you decipher the words, you are helping to digitize old editions of the New York Times and books.

Deciphering books is a great public service, but what if your company wants to have a slice of the captcha pie? Instead of typing in old books, imagine the power of a potential customer typing in your brand logo or current promotion. Well, daydream no more.

Captcha advertising is here.

You can now have your advertising message shown with the intent that users type in your message. This can be done either as a static image, or in a video. Research shows that message recall is 12 times higher through captchas than other online advertising.

We recently used this technology with one of our clients and saw excellent results. The captcha ads stand out as new and innovative for the brand. Also, the click-through rate of those who completed a type-in was 2.37 percent! To put that into perspective, that is 23 times higher than a normal banner ad.

So stop daydreaming and hop on the captcha bandwagon! You’ll start seeing great results, and users will love you for showing them a clear message.

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Contributed by Melanie Donahoo

Virtual protesters were at it again this weekend. This time, people were speaking out . . . er, I mean, being silent in protest of the new Twitter censorship policy that allows the social network to block certain tweets in countries that forbid conversation on specific topics. Protestors rallied to the standard and soon, Twitter bird icons with a red “x” covering the mouth began to appear and #TwitterBlackout began trending. But while the battle lines on the topic are being drawn, who is right?

That’s a hard question to answer, because both sides have valid points. For Twitter, the censorship is simply a price of expanding into certain countries. They are merely complying with the rules and regulations set forth by the governments. Without that compliance, they wouldn’t be allowed to enter at all. One could even argue that compliance now could eventually open the door to greater freedom of speech in these same countries.

On the other hand, protestors argue that any form of censorship is wrong. The fear is that once censorship begins, stopping it from spreading can be problematic if not impossible. It’s the “First they censor France and Germany, next they censor the U.S. and other countries” mentality. The fear isn’t without a foundation, as history is replete with instances big and small where little changes have led to mass consequences.

So on Saturday, protestors vowed to hold their Twitter tongues and refrain from tweeting. How many people actually followed through and were able to keep the urgent news about what they were eating for lunch or the funny picture of their cat with his head in the toilet to themselves? That is unclear. offered this information on the popularity of #TwitterBlackout:

Judging by the fact that the hashtag was still wildly popular before noon on the 28th, it’s probably safe to say that people had a hard time keeping their beaks shut.

But maybe the lesson to be learned here is that a group who is adamant about sharing their every move with the world should pick a more feasible protesting strategy. #ClearlySilenceDoesntWorkForThem #TheyCantHelpThemselves #JustGottaTweet

What do you think of Twitter’s new policy?

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Contributed by John Haynes

Dan Zarrella, author of The Facebook Marketing Book, recently published his five statistics about Facebook marketing.

It offers some insight into the best times to post and the best type of content. It looks to me like it is the average of all Facebook pages. Therefore, it isn’t necessarily the perfect solution for every client, or every business.

We have found that some of our clients effectively post several times a day, not every other day as Zarella suggests. I would venture that Hollywood and some larger brand’s marketing teams distort the data when not consistent with their posting activities.

Still, I think you will find the chart below interesting.

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This is the time of year that all sports fans love. We’re less than two weeks away from our national holiday, where we all come together and watch TV commercials. Oh yeah, there’s a game in between all that cool marketing action, right? No doubt, the Super Bowl broadcast will get the highest ratings of any program for the Salt Lake market, usually edging out LDS General Conference for that honor. A lot of brands are going to be staking a healthy chunk of their marketing budget on this one four-hour game. Some brands will hit a home run, others will lose big. Here’s a list of do’s and don’ts when considering sports sponsorships for your business.

3 Reasons For
A large percentage of your customers are fans Many years ago, we worked with a client that sells copier services to businesses. They had routinely invested almost their entire budget on a basketball sponsorship. A little research revealed that decision makers for small business copier services are predominantly 40 year-old, mostly female human resource employees. While they probably found a few of these women among the basketball fans, they were also paying for all of those people who would never even be in a position to buy their product.

Sports sponsorships are great at generating word-of-mouth According to word-of-mouth research expert Ed Keller, sports fans are two-thirds more likely than the average American to be what he calls Conversation Catalysts, meaning they engage in more brand-related conversations than the average person. Brands in the sports/recreation, travel, financial and automotive categories are most likely to get a lift through sports sponsorships.

There’s a relevant connection between your brand and the sports property This goes beyond the usual, “My company’s a winner so I want to associate it with a winning sports team” thinking, since you’re sunk if the team doesn’t win much that season. It’s not even a relevant connection to be a winner. You may be hoping for the halo effect, where positive features of the sports team are transferred to your own brand. This may happen, but you can’t force a connection that isn’t there.

3 Reasons Against
Sports sponsorships come at a premium Advertising with a sports team isn’t cheap. It never makes sense on the traditional cost-per-thousand (CPM) criteria. If you don’t invest heavily, all you’ll get is a logo on a $5 program guide. Because putting on a successful sports event with all of the associated overhead is expensive, that cost is passed along to you. And because broadcasters pay out a ton to get broadcast rights to a sports property, you can bet your TV and radio spots will put you in the poor house. But if it’s on strategy, it still can be a great investment.

Clutter A sporting event is meant to maximize as much profit as it can, and that usually means filling every piece of stadium real estate with a logo and every breath of air with a branded message. Your brand needs to extend beyond the relatively small population of a sporting event and stand out with a clear and uncluttered message. That’s often hard to do successfully.

You want to use your marketing budget to get tickets Let’s face it, the mix of male-dominated business leaders and male-dominated sports fans can result in an unholy fraternity of cronyism. Many of the sponsorships I’ve seen are more about stroking an ego or fulfilling one’s little-boy dreams of being “part of the team.”  If you want to go the games, buy some season tickets! Just don’t hijack your marketing budget so you can hang out with Paul Millsap.


Most Attended Sporting Events in Utah:


Most Watched TV Sports Programs:

  • Super Bowl – 45.1% of all Utahns reported watching this in the past year
  • Olympics – 32.1%
  • Utah Jazz – 30.2%
  • BYU Football – 25.6%
  • NBA Finals – 24.2%

Data Source: Scarborough Salt Lake City Aug ’10 – July ’11 release

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Contributed by Jason Alleger

How can you boost your company blog’s reach and gain customers? A group of PPBHers attended the Social Commerce Exchange last night on corporate blogging and heard from experts at Petit Elefant, Today’s Mama, MWI and AtTask.

A key take away from the night’s event was that the ‘secret sauce’ of blogging is that customers have information needs and companies that have the information need to share it in ways that will be the most useful for the customers. Here are some tips, takeaways and resources from the event that you can start using today:

Share Your Blog. Content is king in blogging, but you can’t rely solely on Google searches for people to find your article. Share your blog on relevant sites, especially the ones that inspired your writing. Also, posting the articles on StumbleUpon and Reddit can improve the chances of finding new readers.

Photos. Stop using stock photos. They are neither authentic nor engaging, and cost you money. When you own the images you use, you can post them on photo sharing sites such as Instagram and Flickr. This will boost your web traffic as well.

Find Brand Evangelists. Those readers who comment, repost and retweet your company’s content are brand evangelists. They thrive on gaining clout and followers. A dynamic idea is to share content exclusively with them and fuel their love for your brand. You can also gain new readers/customers through their channels.

Boost SEO. Some words are better than others on the Internet. In fact, this blog post was actually edited for its content and keywords were replaced. We use Google’s Keyword Tool, which helps see what words are searched more than others. For example, we used the keyword ‘brand evangelist’ over ‘brand enthusiast’ because it receives six times the amount of searches.

Consistency. Deliver what you promise to your readers. If they want daily recipes, you better be posting daily recipes! If they expect weekly company updates, let them know the top five moments from your Christmas party. Define the deliverable(s) of your blog and then deliver!

Suggested Reads. Ty Kiisel, lead blogger for AtTask, suggested four books for all bloggers to read:

  • Get Content Get Customers  by Joe Pulizzi and Newt Barrett, discusses the importance of content marketing.
  • Trust Agents by Chris Brogan and Julien Smith, analyzes using the web to build influence, improve reputation and earn trust.
  • The Chaos Scenario by Bob Garfield, explores how to survive and thrive in a digitally connected age.
  • The New Rules of Marketing and PR by David Meerman Scott, looks at how to use social media, blogs, news releases, online video and viral marketing to reach buyers directly.

Show Some Personality. Yes, we’re aware that your company sells product X, but if we’re going to come back to your blog frequently, we’d like to know a little bit about you. It personalizes the blog and engages readers. For example, I could share that I’m a Washingtonian now living in Utah who relies on my GPS to get me everywhere—including to the Social Commerce Exchange.

Don’t forget to have fun with your blog posts and keep yourself entrenched in the blogosphere!

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    PR Daily -sopa

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Contributed by Jane Putnam

SOPA. Four letters that mean what, exactly? The Stop Online Piracy Act, an act that was shelved yesterday, meaning it won’t be voted on right now. Politics aside—our agency as a business has no political affiliation and we’re not inclined toward the pro or con group—but what we do have an opinion on is what the aftermath of the past few weeks’ discussion on SOPA means for us as regular consumers of online media, and the changing environment of getting your message out. (If you’re not familiar with SOPA or want answers to some FAQs, CNN posted an article discussing it more in-depth.) It’s a trend we’ve seen growing and growing, with citizen journalism, customer complaints handled via Twitter and allowing the individual to broadcast on its own through online channels.

In protest to the SOPA legislation, websites such as Wikipedia and Reddit are dark today, January 18. Other popular sites have joined in as well, with Google supporting by blacking out its logo. Why the darkness? According to the article on ABC News’ website, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales hopes, “…Wikipedia will melt phone systems in Washington on Wednesday. Tell everyone you know!” This isn’t the first time — nor will it be the last time — that protestors or groups take to the Internet to promote their cause and to rally troops behind the issue.

PPBH is full of aggressive consumers of media, and we take it in in many ways, online included. With the average person spending more than 30 hours online every month, it’s not surprising that “protests” or movements such as this become so big. In December 2011, a “nurse-in” was planned for Target stores following an incident at a Houston store where a customer, who was nursing her child, was asked by an employee to relocate to a fitting room. A Facebook group set up to organize the nurse in garnered more than 6,700 members. Target issued a formal statement apologizing for the employee’s actions and stating that guests who choose to breastfeed in the open at stores are welcome to do so.

Numerous similar occurrences come to mind beyond the nurse in. Remember the backlash Bank of America took for its proposed monthly fee for debit card users? Even the Occupy Wall Street movement used an online presence to grow its cause and maintain communication. As far as SOPA goes, websites offering lists of businesses that support the bill are already popping up and encouraging consumer boycotts. Does that go too far? Maybe. Maybe not.

Bottom line: As Americans we’ve always held our right to speak our mind about things we feel are injustices in high regard. The days of marching with your sign in front of a store or signing a petition are not gone, but the opportunities to make your voice heard, promote your cause or rally a following are multiplying, thanks to the Internet. The outcome of today’s blackout will be interesting — we will have to see its affect on SOPA. In the meantime, if you have a pressing matter to search on Wikipedia, it will have to wait until tomorrow.

Cover image source: PR Daily

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Contributed by Lora Stead

Ever since I can remember, I’ve been a seat belt fanatic. I used to remind my dad every morning to buckle up as he drove me to elementary school, until he started doing it automatically. In 2007, he was rear-ended while going 55 miles per hour, causing his car to leap several feet into the air before crashing back to the ground. He was wearing his seat belt. If he hadn’t been, I’m confident he would have been killed or severely injured. Thanks to his seat belt, he’s alive and healthy. I can’t comprehend life without my dad.

Tragically, some people do comprehend. Last Wednesday PPBH and UDOT held the Zero Fatalities 2012 kickoff event, where Utah native Ashli Hendricks spoke about losing her father in a car crash when she was 12 years old. He wasn’t wearing his seat belt. If he had been, officials say he could have survived. The painful reality is that Ashli, her older brother, Zach, and their mother, Kathi, are left without a central figure in their lives. Ashli recalled, with emotion, the struggle of not having her dad there the first day of high school, on holidays, when she got her first boyfriend and most significantly, on her wedding day. Her life will always be left with a hole, missing a piece that could still be in place if for one choice—to buckle up. She described choosing to put your seat belt on as a selfless act because, “It’s not about you, it’s about the ones you love.”

At the event, John Njord, UDOT Executive Director, pleaded with fathers, sons, brothers, husbands and providers to buckle up, because failing to do so affects the future of their families.Despite being required by law, 11% of Utahns still don’t wear their seat belts. The largest portion of those going unbuckled are 25-69 year old males.

Colonel Daniel Fuhr, with Utah Highway Patrol, has heard a variety of excuses from men for not buckling up, including that they are too tough. With the conviction of someone who has seen far too many fatalities, Fuhr said, “Wanna talk about tough? Tough is going to the widows’ homes and breaking the news. That’s tough.”

An appeal to everyone out there—men, women, children, adults and teens alike—buckle up on every trip, every time. There are no excuses. In 2011, Utah had the lowest number of traffic fatalities since the ‘70s with a preliminary number of 233. Let’s make it zero. We truly can, if people would not drive drowsy, distracted, aggressive, impaired and always wear their seat belts. Remember, it’s not about you, it’s about the ones you love.

To see the story of Aaron Allred, Ashli’s father, visit Zero Fatalities. Also, watch for the TV public service announcements which began airing this week to promote Ashli’s story and the 2012 Zero Fatalities focus on buckling up.

The press event also received great coverage. Here are two of the stories, as reported by local Utah stations:

Fox 13 – Troopers, along with UDOT, emphasize seat belt use, especially among men

KUTV – 2011: Huge drop in number of Utah’s freeway fatalities

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Contributed by Melanie Donahoo

Planking? That’s so 2011. This year you’d better take a knee because it’s Tebow time. What is Tebowing, you ask? Well, defines it this way:

Tebowing [tee-bou-ing]
(vb) to get down on a knee and start praying, even if everyone else around you is doing something completely different.

Here at PPBH, we’ve been known to Tebow a time or two. Here are the latest examples:

The “Group Tebow”


The “Awesome Media Plan Tebow”


The “PPBH New York Teleworking Tebow”


The “Killer Brainstorming Session Tebow”


The “At Home Tebow”


 The “I Hate Tim Tebow but Sometimes You Just Gotta Tebow During Lunch Tebow”


And finally, the lesser known “I’m Sorry I Broke the Coffee Table While Doing the ‘Killer Brainstorming Session Tebow’ Tebow”


So what’s going to be the next trend? While nobody can know for sure, we’re putting our money on the “Home Alone!”

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Contributed by Jane Putnam

We took a field trip yesterday. Yes, a field trip.

PPBH’s Q Division, a collaborative group made up of representatives from each of our disciplines, is charged with testing out the latest and greatest, finding new channels and marketing approaches and making sure PPBH is always pushing the envelope. As Melanie wrote about in her recent blog post, people often ask us how we constantly come up with creative ideas. Well, it’s all about cultivating creativity. Our building is not your standard workplace, our brainstorms push the limits and heck, our offices don’t even have doors. All of this keeps an open flow of communication, brainstorming and idea development. Some days, like yesterday, we just need to try something new.

We got our permission slips signed and spent the late morning at The Leonardo. The mission? Inspire and cultivate creativity. The Leonardo is a mix of art, science and technology. We danced on a green screen, marveled at a bobsled on display and pondered the functionality of a vinegar, oil and carbon dioxide-powered piece of art. How many people can say they went on a field trip today for work (and not be in the education field)? I can. I love my job.

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