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Maria Belen Chapur Photos, Calorie Reduction Diet Plan & Al Franken – Can your company compete?

2009 June 30

Top national news stories today are about Al Franken being declared the winner in the Minnesota Senate Race, Iraq marking the withdrawl of US troops from cities, and Iran Iran Moving to Preclude Further Public Defiance.

At last glance, of these stories, only Al Franken made the top 5 Google searches.

Americans seem to be more interested in checking out pictures of Maria Belen Chapur, the “other”woman in the life of South Carolina Governor Mark Stanford,  and a calorie reduction diet plan.  The search for “Michael Jackson Autopsy Photo” came in 7th last time I looked, and rounding out the 10th place was “Neverland Ranch Address“, as Jackson’s body was being taken there for public viewing.

Hottest discussions on Twitter at that same time today (June 30, 2009; 3:28pm Pacific Time) were Michael Jackson, Al Franken, Firefox 3 (the latest update to Mozilla’s search engine), and #iranelection.

What significance do these statistics have on Socia Media Marketing?

It didn’t surprise me that America was searching for pictures of Maria Belen Chapur, and more information about Al Franken, and Michael Jackson.  This wasn’t the first time Michael Jackson had two simultaneous top-10 hits.  But I was surprised that “calorie restriction diet plan” was ranked #2 when I checked;  “David Murdock”, the 85 year old billionaire was in position #4, followed by “Frank M. Lombard”,  A Duke University official, and “Lastings Milledge” in the #5 slot.

Then I dug deeper to uncover why these particular searches were Google’s top 10.  Numbers 2 & 4 are directly related to today’s Oprah Broadcast which featured 85 year old Murdock and his reduced calorie diet.  Frank M. Lombard, associate director of Duke University‘s Center for Health Policy took the number 4 spot after being arrested for allegedly offering his 5-year-old adopted son for sex on the Internet,  and Lastings Milledge hit # 5 after being traded today to the Pittsburgh Pirates by the Washington Nationals.

So what?  I hear you ask.  Here’s what.  Social Media (which includes search, social networking, blogging, micro blogging and so much more) is, at this writing, still being driven by mass media.

Want a huge boost in search?  Get yourself on Oprah.  Want to keep pictures of your “mister” or “mistress” private?  Then A) don’t be a public person and B) if you are a public person don’t be stupid.   Want to keep your name clean?  Then you need to be clean.

We have a fascination with the unusual.  The unusual is newsworthy.  Good or bad, the public will search out and talk about the unusual.

As you look at your company’s total marketing efforts (not just social marketing) are you able to claim that your company is “unusual”?  That’s what it takes today to break through the clutter, become noticed, and get talked about (in a good way).

It goes beyond your mission statement.  In this “wired” world you need to really dial in to what makes your company different, interesting, even exceptional, and then exploit the hell out of it.

Two examples here in the Northwest stand out.  PEMCO Insurance (about which I have blogged in the past) and Group Health Cooperative, a Seattle based health care system that coordinates care and coverage for it’s members.  Both companies are well respected, and though their marketing strategies and execution are quite different, they each focus on what makes them “unusual”, or unique, in their niche.

PEMCO has long focused on “safe” drivers.  They offer exceptional customer service, especially when you need to make a claim.  And because they target “safe” insurance “bets” their rates are typically amazingly low when compared to their competition.  This combination of low rates AND exceptional customer service makes PEMCO unusual when compared to other companies selling insurance in the region.  PEMCO exploits their unique offerings in print, broadcast, online and throughout the social media spectrum including Twitter and Facebook, and their non-traditional insurance industry website: we’re a lot like  They increase awareness through their unique mass media advertising campaign.

Here are samples of PEMCO’s unique TV Campaign created by DNA Seattle.:



Group Health is a bit more traditional in their approach, yet they are enjoying great success by highlighting what makes them unusual.  Like all health care providers, Group Health strives for positive outcomes, but where they are unusual is in their committment to Transforming Health Care for the Future.

Their current consumer marketing is tied to that transformation as they tout their unique Electronic Health Record System.  The “EHR” systems, which are being introduced in other health care environments and make up a big part of the Obama Health Plan, the Group Health system already reaches across all of their group-practice sites with  integrated best-practice alerts, decision supports, and electronic prescribing.  Patients have on-line access to health information from the EHR, can schedule appointments, refill prescriptions, retrieve lab test results, and securely make contact with clinicians via e-mail.

Group Health’s Electronic Health Record System makes them more than “just” a provider of health care.  It allows them to offer integrated services throughout their system.  Patient records are readily available for ALL specialists to see.

In health care, better information leads to fewer medical mistakes and better outcomes.  Because of the Group Health EHR system, their doctors spend less time preparing paperwork and more time with patients.  In today’s world that is unique!

Group Health is using television and radio to exploit their unique offerings.

Here are a couple of unique Group Health Spots, created by TM Advertising in Seattle.



Today’s take-away?

Unless your company is beautiful and 1) is having an affair with one of 50 US Governors, 2) can get Oprah’s attention or 3) have just been cleared by the US Supreme court to take your seat in the US Senate, you might want to focus attention on a more attainable goal.

Make your company unique, and let the world know why your company is truly unusual.  Use traditional media to get the word out and social media to further your objectives.  The combined marketing initiatives will work, IF you are truly unusual.

One Response leave one →
  1. July 1, 2009

    “Americans seem to be more interested in checking out pictures of Maria Belen Chapur, the “other”woman in the life of South Carolina Governor Mark Stanford, and a calorie reduction diet plan.”

    That is the reason why the USA is falling behind in so many fields. We just dont care about the important things anymore. Shame

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