In our professional lives here at z2, we try to do work that gets people to buy/use/like our clients’ products. This rather obvious observation got me to thinking: “Have I ever bought anything because of its advertising?”

Hmmm, let me think. I’m sure there have been some coupon ads and Buy One Get One offers that motivated me to buy something or another at a grocery store or restaurant, but not counting those I honestly can’t remember anything that advertising actually got me to buy.

Despite a few bad consumers like myself, and perhaps you, advertisers aren’t giving up. A recent strategy is the use of celebrities and other so-called “influencers” in social media. They’re paid to make favorable mentions of products on Facebook and Twitter. And they’re paid very well.

Actually, it’s a freakin’ crime what some of them are paid. Khloe Kardashian, for instance, gets an astonishing $13,000 per tweet, and her sister Kim is rumored to rake in $20,000 per tweet.

I can’t decide what’s more sickening: how much they’re paid for their shilling, or the fact that they’re actually esteemed as “influencers.”

Alas, the FTC is catching on to this social media gravy train, and to protect the naïve they are now requiring celebrities to disclose that their tweets about products are not done purely out of love for said products. Among other things, they’re requiring that they add the hashtag “#ad” to all sponsored tweets.

What about you? Is there any product or service you’ve bought as a direct result of its advertising, or the person paid to pitch the product? And, conversely, is there anything you’ve avoided buying as a protest against a particular product’s advertising?

As for me, I’m putting my foot down and will not be buying any Kardashian-endorsed eos Lip Balm, regardless of how pretty it would make my pout.

July 23, 2013 · Posted by in advertising, branding, social media  

Need Cash? Become a Photographer!

I love this article… Need Extra Money for the Holidays? Just Become a Photographer!

Why do I love it? Because it’s hilarious…

Most of us in the creative and/or technology industry have had to deal with this.

Designers, web developers, photographers, you name it.

Since the price of computers, software, cameras, and other previously expensive or specialized equipment has come down to the level that the average person can afford them, everyone thinks they are a designer, or web developer, or photographer.

And don’t get me wrong, I’m all for people learning new skills and trying their hand at making money with those skills, but if it were that easy, we’d all be doing it, and we’d all be rich… or broke… or something.

And I’m not about to tell people they are ruining an industry. If you love doing something, then you should do it. If you can provide amazing work cheaper than someone else, go for it. It’ll be up to you to decide if you’re ruining an industry. But keep in mind, after years of honing your craft, someone else will come along and offer to do what you do even cheaper. That’s just how it works.

Whew, I didn’t mean to get all heavy there… What I meant was, Happy Holidays! And if you need extra cash this holiday season, you might have better luck looking for loose change in the couch cushions than you will if you have no photography skills and try selling portraits of people after the fact.

Happy New Year! :)

December 19, 2011 · Posted by in art, design, photo, web  


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Bombs Fall

Here’s a great blog post for creatives about the “you’ll get great exposure” line. We’ve all been handed this line. Someone wants you to work for cheap, or for free, and explains that the exposure you get from the project will make up for the lack of money.

This is the important bit:

You cannot eat exposure, nor pay your rent with it, nor buy health insurance with it, nor put it in an exposure bank for a rainy day. You need money for all of that. That is the trade – you trade your time and work for the client’s money. You both need something from the other. Exposure can be a byproduct of this transaction, but it should NEVER be the basis for it.

As always, you can choose who you work for, and how much you charge them (or don’t charge them) but getting paid in “exposure” will only get you so far. If you want to do work for exposure, it should be on your own terms.

(And that illustration above? It was done by Scott Benson, the (awesome) artist who wrote the post, and deserves all the exposure he’ll get from this post. :)

Hat tip to Paul for this one.

December 12, 2011 · Posted by in art, marketing  

Santa Monica Airlines

Check out this interesting story about how a small skateboard company ended up “spending” $7,000 on their first tweet.

In the end, they made a lot of friends and fans, as well as supported a cause they believe in.

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

Google has been getting a lot of press lately for the development of its new social venture – Google+. But the beastly company has been dipping its toes in other waters, too, including an online contest site. This is thanks to its acquisition of Slide, a social gaming company, and the reason the new site doesn’t really look like it belongs to Google. launched this past weekend, and can best be describes as a social contest website. Basically, users create contests that involve solving some sort of problem, like answering a question or completing a particular task. The user then awards the best answer a cash prize that typically ranges from about $10-$50. The contests can be anything from naming a new restaurant or answering what the best dog food brand is.

You may remember Slide from the creation of Disco, another Google creation that lacks the Google look and feel. Disco is a group chat app for iPhone and Andriod.

So what do you think? Will you pay someone to help name your startup or to give you advice about the best vacation spot? Or will you be more the type of person to answer questions in hopes of winning the prize? Although I can’t see myself creating any contests, you might find me answering a question or two.

July 5, 2011 · Posted by in misc, social media, web  

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