Do you think your tweets just alert your friends about what you’re thinking, but don’t do anything more? New social media statistics are stating otherwise and are proving that LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter and other outlets are profitable for business. Here are a few facts that amazed me.
LinkedIn surpasses 100 million users

Best Buy has 2,500 employees helping people on Twitter

2011 Social Media Marketing Report – 58% of marketers surveyed are using social media for 6 hours or more every week

Facebook now tops Google for weekly traffic in the US

The second largest search engine in the world is YouTube

There are more 70 translations available on Facebook

After 23 years, Pepsi dropped TV advertising for last year’s Superbowl to spend $20 million on a social media campaign

It seems like the sharing of ideas is also helping companies increase their share of the profits. Businesses are reaching customers in a new and intimate way – and it’s proving to pay off.

June 22, 2011 · Posted by in misc, social media  

The results are in! I’m very proud to announce that Z2 has been named to the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce‘s annual “Future 50” list of rapidly growing companies in southeastern Wisconsin for 2011.

The Future 50 program recognizes privately-owned companies in the seven-county Milwaukee region that have been in business for at least three years and have shown significant revenue and employment growth. Here’s the full list of companies who were named to the Future 50.

We’ll officially receive our award at a luncheon on Thursday, Sept. 15, at The Pfister Hotel (who just happens to be one of our favorite clients). Around that time, watch for our profile in a special edition of BizTimes Milwaukee magazine.

We’d like to thank our amazing clients and hard-working staff for helping to contribute to our growth and success over the past several years and we look forward to an exciting future.

June 21, 2011 · Posted by in misc  

I remember going to the Book Fair in grade school to buy the Harry Potter books. Those little paperbacks got quite the beating, as they went everywhere with me until they were finished. I’ve grown up reading the books and watching the movies… so you can imagine how thrilled I was to see the upcoming (and final!) movie’s trailer just a few days ago.

In case you were wondering, I’m fully aware of how nerdy that makes me. And no, I’m not ashamed. (Okay, maybe just a little…)

Pottermore Website

But back to the point. This trailer led me to find out about Pottermore. Potter-what? My thoughts exactly. It could be, well, anything. Speculation includes an online game, new fan site or online encyclopedia about the popular wizard.

Now, normally I would find the lack of information irritating, but I’m sucked in. Perhaps it’s my love for everything Potter (want to take a guess at what I dressed up as for Halloween?), or maybe it’s the very intriguing campaign.

Pottermore Twitter. Location from the first tweet take users to a secret street view.

The coordinates take you to this street view spot.

Wait, wait! I saved the best for last. Owls have taken over a special YouTube page, and they’ve been gathering for days. Seriously. When I checked just a few days ago, there were only three owls or so.

Owls gather on the YouTube page, as a countdown for the announcement ticks on.

Okay, so maybe you’re not quite the Potter enthusiast I am, but you must admit, this does make you wonder what on Earth this announcement – and website – could be. My vote? An online game. But we’ll just have to wait and see, I guess!

June 21, 2011 · Posted by in branding, event, misc, social media, web  

Image: WorstProductPlacement.com

I’m a Biggest Loser fan. Actually, I’d consider it a love/hate relationship. Yes, the show is long-winded and 97% cheesy, but I’m still drawn in by the amazing transformations that take place each season. It’s quite incredible.

What I’m not a fan of is the ridiculously obvious product placement segments thrown into the storyline. Each time I see Bob walk into the kitchen at the Biggest Loser house, I know he’s going to start pushing a product on the contestants and us viewers. That said, after several years of these lame scenes, I’ve finally just accepted them. Can you blame a weight-loss show for pushing products? Although irritating, it’s really a natural fit.

Now, here’s an example of an unnatural fit. I’m sitting in my living room watching Pawn Stars on the History Channel the other evening and one of the main characters walks into the shop with Subway breakfast sandwiches for his employees. He then proceeds to detail what ingredients are in each of them. I was so disheartened. (If you aren’t familiar with the show, it is all about daily dealings in a Las Vegas pawn shop and is usually fairly interesting.) The Subway placement seemed so incredibly out-of-place and its execution just too obvious.

Now I’m not knocking product placements in general. I think they can be effective when used in the proper context and when incorporated with discretion, but it seems like TV shows have a difficult time getting them right. Maybe its because the two I mentioned are considered “reality shows,” lacking trained actors and proper scripts? I’m not sure, but I do hope the execution improves sometime soon.

June 17, 2011 · Posted by in marketing, misc  

This was a fun project we did back in 2010 for Assurant Health. It’s a 10 second TV spot that was done using stop motion animation. We shot it using a Nikon D3x, frame by frame.

It took a few attempts to get what we wanted, and there was a good amount of Photoshop work in there as well (editing of all the individual images) before it all went to Final Cut for assembly.

Oh, we also composed and recorded the original music. The voiceover? That’s C. Thomas Howell.

As for the airplane itself, the only magic involved is a piece of aluminum foil we spray glued between two pieces of paper to get the plane to stay in position as it was folded.

There’s no crazy 3D rendering involved, no real complicated video editing, just a simple idea, a bit of trial and error, and some creative thinking. Sometimes that’s all you need. :)

June 16, 2011 · Posted by in photo, video  

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