Squag, Social Media Sized for the Autism Community

We have technology, finally, that for the first time in human history allows people to really maintain rich connections with much larger numbers of people.   ~ Pierre Omidyar

Autism Building CommunityAs I am developing a social media marketing plan for this year’s Autism conference in Philly, it got me wondering, would social media benefit the autism community?  Also, I often watch Parenthood on NBC, but had not made the connection that Asperger’s Syndrome is an Autism Spectrum Disorder.  Did you know for example, according to the CDC* on average 1 out of 110 children in the U.S. has an ASD?

ThenI came across Squag TM, a social networking platform, designed to foster social interaction and communication for tweens and teens on the autism spectrum.   Created by Sara Winter in collaboration with her autistic nephew, the platform offers the opportunity of connecting in a digital space optimized for self reflection.  Even the name “squag” (her nephew’s pronunciation of square) suggests the platform offers a unique social opportunity.

So what are your thoughts on technology offering greater connectivity?  Does the digital world hold the promise of benefiting the lives of special needs children and their families?  Share your thoughts on how social media can make the world a better place for all of us.

Vanaja R.

Financialpost.com – Social network Squag aims to be a safe place for autistic kids


*March 29, 2012 – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports a higher prevalence of autism, with one in 88 children being diagnosed with an ASD.

PBS Newshour – Autism’s Prevalence Grows


Copyright © 2012 My Marketing Nirvana.  All rights reserved in all media.


Movie Night at the Oscars, Spotlight Shines on Social Storytelling

The costumes, the scenery, the makeup, the props

The audience that lifts you when you’re down…

There’s no business like show business

Like no business I know…

Let’s go on with the show!

“There’s No Business Like Show Business” Lyrics By Irving Berlin

84th Annual Academy Awards

This year’s “Let’s go to the movies” Oscars’ telecast was interactive and social.  The set of a New York movie theater invited both the in house audience and viewers at large to become part of the show.  Throughout the night, there was an ongoing push for each one of us to become more connected to the motion picture community.

From Billy Crystal’s opening number, to split screens of the award nominees and their admirers, to the camera angles focused on the night’s musicians and presenters, I could go on and on…  Even Cirque du Soleil got into the act of making us feel a part of the movies.  Who didn’t laugh at the focus group spoofing the Wizard of Oz?  Didn’t the “films” of the stars’ reflections draw us in?

Oscar night lived up to Irving Berlin’s direction:  There’s no business like show business.  Who were your favorites on the red carpet?  What did you think of the 84th Academy Awards broadcast?  Share your favorite Oscar moment and who you thought stole the show.  Now that Hollywood has gone social, there’s no telling where the collaboration with we the audience will lead.

Vanaja R.

The Artist

The Artist, Best Picture Winner

The Oscars 2012, The 84th Academy Awards


Copyright © 2012 My Marketing Nirvana.  All rights reserved in all media.

And the Winner in the Category of Social Media Is … Oscar’s Digital 360

Toto, I’ve got a feeling, we’re not in Kansas anymore.  ~ Dorothy, The Wizard of Oz

OscarImagine Dorothy embarking on a new yellow brick road, one that leads to a digital Oscar world.  This year the Academy has paved the way for our engagement.  As Karin Gilford, Senior VP of ABC’s Digital Media points out, “We’ll take visitors on an unparalleled journey all the way through Oscar Sunday.”

Oscar’s digital  journey begins with the reminiscing of returning favorite, comedian Billy Crystal , followed by an interactive timeline of memorable moments, an official blog, and of course its dedicated social media page, Oscar Buzz.  Nothing has been left out…from the red carpet, to the backstage, to the Governor’s Ball and to everything in between – the dailies and the Oscar picks.

Follow The Yellow Brick RoadAs Dorothy would say, “We’re off to see the Oscars, the films, the gowns, the wins.” Share your thoughts about this year’s nominees and who should take home an Academy Award.  And for all you Oscar hopefuls, click your heels three times and wish for your very own motion picture dream to come true.

Vanaja R.


Congratulations to The Artist for Best Picture and to All the Winners

Oscar Blog Introducing the Oscar Digital Experience


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Fashion Forward with Social Media – You too can be a Fashionista

Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only.  Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.  ~ Coco Chanel

Diane Von Furstenberg's Rendezvous CollectionAs dresses are all the rage this season, so too Social Media is in fashion.   Designer Diane Von Furstenberg and fashion editor Suzy Menkes commented on Charlie Rose yesterday, social media is opening up fashion to everyone in a way never before possible.  Anyone can be a fashionista, a designer or critic of fashion.  Social Media is especially well suited to appeal to the up and coming Millenials, a generation that wants to have a hand in creating its own style.

This year’s New York Fashion Week experienced another social media fashion first, an online-only fashion show, providing select editors and buyers in effect, an exclusive digital backstage pass.  I’m wondering what’s in store for us next?  Social media has already given the fashion world the ability to connect globally, to spot trends in style, and to merchandise digitally.

So, are you a closet fashionista?  How does fashion figure in your daily digital life?  Share your thoughts about your favorite fashion trends.  And now, along with my fellow fashionistas a special shoutout, “Oscar we’ll be watching for the latest fashion find.”

Vanaja R.

Charlie Rose – New York Fashion Week

Time.com – The Digital Runway: How Social Media Is Changing Fashion


Copyright © 2012 My Marketing Nirvana.  All rights reserved in all media.

Super Bowl Ads Take Two: Touchdown! Social Media Teams Up with the Gameday Broadcast

First we thought the PC was a calculator. Then we found out how to turn numbers into letters with ASCII – and we thought it was a typewriter. Then we discovered graphics, and we thought it was a television. With the World Wide Web, we’ve realized it’s a brochure. ~ Douglas Adams

Do you like watching Super Bowl ads?  If you said yes, you’re not alone.  As noted by Nightly Business Report’s Susie Gharib , one quarter of Super Bowl viewers watch the game just to see the commercials.  This year as usual did not disappoint, both the game and the commercials were a big hit!  I’ll let you know my favorite ad a little later on… There was however a new “drive” this year, the preview of commercials on social media.

My question to you, do you like the option of a sneak peek prior to the big game?  Speaking for myself and fans in general, yes!  Also, from the advertiser’s point of view, there’s the potential to maximize your presence and thereby get more bang for your buck.  After all, ROI can’t just be measured in dollar terms but also in brand value.  Last year’s Star Wars themed Volkswagen Passat ad, according to VW Group of America CEO, Jonathan Browning, resulted in an overall benefit to the brand culminating in the growth of all business and specifically Jetta’s over 50% sales growth.  What will be the return on this year’s prerelease of Super Bowl ads?

So, do you agree in today’s digital age, it really does take two, online and broadcasting, to generate fan excitement and have a successful Super Bowl ad?  Or do you prefer to be surprised on gameday?  Share your thoughts and your favorite Super Bowl commercial.  As promised, here’s mine, Honda’s CR-V spot showcasing an updated version of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.  Full disclosure, not only am I a fan of the original 80’s movie, but my family also owns last year’s model.

Vanaja R.

2012 Honda CR-V Game Day Ad2012 Volkswagen Game Day Ad2012 M&M'S Super Bowl Ad2012 Doritos Super Bowl Ad

Nightly Business Report:  The Risk and Rewards of Super Bowl Ads

Ferris Bueller Super Bowl Ad:  Matthew Broderick Stars In Full-Length Spot For Honda


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The Little Engine that Could – Green Bay Packers, 2011 NFL Social Media Champs

Green Bay Packers NFL 2011 Social Media ChampsAs we get closer to this year’s Super Bowl, I’m wondering which team will win and who will score a social media “touchdown” this year.  Last year’s Super Bowl champs, the Green Bay Packers, won bragging rights to being the NFL’s social media most valuable team – second hottest Facebook topic:  “The Green Bay Packers Win The Super Bowl” and Twitter’s number two ranked topic in the football category:  “Green and Yellow”.

It makes perfect “game-day strategy” for Green Bay to strengthen fan ties and social media is a great way for the team operating in the NFL’s smallest market to do it.  Mark Murphy, the team’s CEO recently noted on PBS’ Nightly Business Report that key to his team’s long-term success is promoting a greater connection with the fans, which includes wherever the cheeseheads are on the Internet, i.e. Facebook or the team’s website.  By the way, Mashable’s Sam Laird reports a first, this year’s Super Bowl host city, Indianapolis, is also getting on the social media bandwagon; by setting up a social media command center to keep tabs on the fans’ digital conversation.

So as we approach game-day in another 2 weeks or so, I don’t have to ask, are you ready for some football!  I will however, ask you to do some armchair quarterbacking and predict who will win this year’s Vince Lombardi Trophy.


Congratulations, New York Giants

Giants 21, Patriots 17 

Mashable article:  Super Bowl XLVI Gets a Social Media Command Center

Copyright © 2012 My Marketing Nirvana.  All rights reserved in all media.

A Rose by Any Other Name – Neutrality of ICANN’s Top-level Domain Increase?

What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. ~ William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet

If names are not correct, language will not be in accordance with the truth of things.  ~ Confucius

Anyone who has ever selected his own domain name can appreciate the complexities involved.   Which domain name should I choose?  How will my selection best communicate my mission?  How will my choice distinguish my brand?  ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) has added a new factor to this decision making process, by expanding the options for domain names to the right of the dot.

PBS Newshour’s Ray Suarez recently moderated a discussion of the potential pluses and minuses as seen by opposing stakeholders ICANN and the Association of National Advertisers.  The upside being more domain names, greater access for Internet users worldwide, and increased branding potential.   Who wouldn’t want the dot-me option?  The downside being the loss of the status quo, the growth of domain names at a breakneck pace, and the increased potential for Internet misuse.  Should established brands pay a “$185,000 price tag” to safeguard their trademarks?

So, as William Shakespeare expressed it best, “What’s in a name?” portend ICANN’s changes as neutral?  Or as Confucius would suggest increasing top-level domains is tantamount to unbalancing the Internet, and thereby upsetting the apple cart.  Share your thoughts on where you stand and whether this change will affect you.

Vanaja R.

Newshour – Domain Names:  Debating the Effects of a Dot-Anything World 


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Gone with the Wind – The Future of Cinema in Peril?

A good film is when the price of the dinner, the theatre admission and the babysitter were worth it.   ~ Alfred Hitchcock

Gone With The WindI confess, I haven’t gone to the movies as much as I would have liked to last year.  Often, by the time I got around to planning a trip to the cinema, the movie I had chosen had already left my favorite theater.  My own experience with the movies parallels the 2011 decline in box office sales; the lowest gross in 16 years according to George Lewis’ recent report, Box Office Blues on NBC Nightly News.

Lewis notes despite the success of Harry Potter’s film finale blockbuster, moviegoers have cut back due to pricing and the availability of streaming technology.  How many of us are already viewing movies in this way?  Based on Lewis’ reporting of a study from earlier this year, streaming movies and TV on Netflix comprised roughly 30% of Internet traffic, while movie attendance decreased 5% from 2010.  What’s the remedy?  Cinephiles direction to Hollywood – Give us something EXTRAORDINARY!

So, will the movie industry take a cue from Hitchcock and the fans, and give us a reason to show up in 2012?  Or has cinema’s time come and is soon to be gone with the wind… are we witnessing its demise hastened by streaming media?  Share your thoughts on whether you will continue to go to the movies and what will motivate you to do so.

Vanaja R.

George Lewis’ NBC Nightly News report – Box Office Receipts Down in 2011

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New Year’s Nirvana

Year’s end is neither an end nor a beginning but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us.  ~ Hal Borland

We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves.  The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year’s Day.  ~ Edith Lovejoy Pierce

Holiday Nirvana Christmas Tree

Thank you for accompanying me on our quest for “marketing nirvana.”  Although our travel to date has been brief (just beginning this Fall), we managed to meet some interesting people, deepen our appreciation of the arts and sciences, and learn about newsworthy marketing moments in time.  We will continue, as in the words of Hal Borland, to gain wisdom as we travel along.

So my New Year’s wish is to continue seeking the “right stuff” on our journey of marketing enlightenment, and for you to achieve your very own nirvana, whatever it may be.  I look forward to the Opportunity of 2012 and for us to write our first chapter.



Copyright © 2011 My Marketing Nirvana.  All rights reserved in all media.

The “Grinch” Stole Showbiz’ Christmas – The Online Piracy Dilemma

Intellectual property has the shelf life of a banana.  ~ Bill Gates

Thieves respect property. They merely wish the property to become their property that they may more perfectly respect it.  ~ G.K. Chesterton

The recent release of the “Sherlock Holmes” sequel draws attention to a real life mystery:  How best to thwart online piracy?  A click of the mouse can lead to a bootleg copy which in turn impacts the movie’s bottom line.  Jeffrey Brown’s PBS Newshour interview showcases this dilemma and the opposing solutions being offered by giants of the entertainment and Internet industries, respectively, support of Congress’s SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) vs. a “follow the money” approach.

Although online piracy is a global occurence, the mystery here is not a whodunit but rather a what-to-do-about-it?  Is this the new reality – lack of intellectual property protections in the digital world?  Since the proverbial genie is out of the bottle, won’t diminished copyright protection have to be factored into today’s business models?

Just as the Grinch had no heart, online pirates profit by disregarding intellectual property rights.  In the end, they won’t prevail; Showbiz will still have its Christmas.  Share your thoughts on how we can protect intellectual property in the Internet Age.

Vanaja R.

Film, Music Industries Battle Leading Internet Companies Over Online Piracy

Copyright © 2011 My Marketing Nirvana.  All rights reserved in all media.