Archive for March, 2010

#CowboyTodd Conclusions

Time to recap the #CowboyTodd campaign and announce our (so-called) winners!

DSC_5068First off, the Cowboy had a grand ol’ time in Austin.  My thanks to all who risked ridicule by carting him around, keeping him company, explaining his presence, etc.  My thanks as well to those who tweeted about him, took photos, and even blogged about my cardboard doppleganger.  Whatever photos I tweeted about are captured on my delicious page, though I shared some best-of shots in the last post, and am showing off some more in this post.

(For some reason I am partial to the shots of #CowboyTodd with pretty women. I can’t explain it.)

DSC_5066As noted in my last #CowboyTodd post, the overall campaign was a big success, considering the 48–hour turnaround between the Idea and Execution.

To have been the #1 Trending Hot Topic on Twitter (according to Klout), during SXSW — even if only for 30 minutes on Hangover Monday — blew my mind.  Three people even went to the trouble of “checking in” with the Cowboy via Foursquare, which was pretty hilarious.

The photos and tweets during the SXSW show were funny and foul: some joker even created a @Cowboy_Todd handle, which worried me for a bit but obviously the account owner kept the tone in the spirit I’d intended. Indeed, clearly everyone who participated in this foolishness “got it.”  I’ve never been to SXSW and this was the first time I didn’t feel left out.

Now, as noted in the introductory post announcing the campaign, I’ve got some awards to hand out to folks…

First: the $1000 prize for best video. Well, nobody filmed a video!  Can’t say I blame yaz — you’d have to be pretty drunk to have a conversation with a piece of cardboard, and who wants the evidence posted?  Still, I’m good for it and already donated $1,000 to Chris Brogan’s chosen charity, The Autism Resource Center of Central Massachusetts.  SHIFT donated the money to help sponsor the Chan family’s 2010 Community Walk for Autism Awareness.

Why Chris’s charity? — Cuz of this picture and this tweet.  Seemed like the least we could do after CowboyTodd bum-rushed the stage at Chris’s SXSW talk.

Next up: the 5 winners of $25 Amazon Gift Cards for best tweets. Congrats to Barbara Nixon, Jim Storer, Jeff Raymond, Scott Hanson and Chuck Hemann.  If the owner of the @Cowboy_Todd twitter account steps forward, he’ll also get a card.  With tweets like this, how could I not?

Image.jpg.scaled1000Lastly, the funniest picture prize goes to David Armano for the “Bad Influence” photo.

The prize for this portion of the campaign was a guest post written by Yours Truly.  Since David’s blog is already more popular than mine (and since he works at a competitive agency), this may be a dubious honor.  I’ll get in touch with Mr. Armano offline to see if he’s interested in this or some other “consolation” prize.  (Maybe 1 tweet per day, for a full month, about how totally awesome, rad, cool and smart David Armano is? Too much?  Not enough?)

Before signing off for good on this project, I once again need to thank my pals Jason Falls, Aaron Strout, C.C. Chapman, Richard Binhammer, and Kyle Flaherty, and especially my partner-in-crime David Alston who deserves most of the (dis)credit for helping out with everything from the original idea to the schlepping of the Cowboy … all the way through to the Studly One’s untimely end.

The Birthday Bucket List

Today is my birthday.  Turning 41 is almost worse than turning 40: now it feels like I’m fully committed to the whole “in your 40’s” thing.  Oh well – beats the alternative.

Birthdays are a good time for self reflection.  Are you happy with your lot in life?  What’s left to accomplish?

I’m a pretty fortunate fellow.  Happy marriage, good kids, good health, a career I enjoy, lotsa toys.  (Speaking of toys, my wife’s gag gift today? A food dehydrator, so I can make my own beef jerky. Joke’s on her, though: I’m gonna use it!)

With all those blessings, all that’s left on my to-do list are Hoped-For Accomplishments.

I’d like to see SHIFT achieve at least $20M in revenues.  Besides being a nice round number, it’s the kind of revenue stream that will allow us to further invest in our rising stars.  New services, new career paths, etc.

I’d like to figure out an approach to PR that’s far more transformative than inventing a Social Media Release. I’ve got ideas.  Need more.

K03_16809509I’d still like to travel Mongolia by horseback to the Golden Eagle Festival.  I want to make my way to the Torres del Paine in Patagonia, too.  A visit to Turkey and the Pyramids at Giza are on the Bucket List.  And while I know it’s not much to see, I want to make the sojourn to the site of the Battle of Thermopylae in Greece — a story I’ve admired since High School History, long before the (awesome) movie, 300.

I’d like to own a convertible.  Typical, right?

I want to visit my kids in college, and see their faces light up with genuine delight as I approach.  (Hey, a guy can dream.)

I want to meet my great grandchildren, alongside my beaming wife.

Relatively simple goals on the ol’ Bucket List, now that I think about it.  (Well, I suppose “transforming the practice of PR” is fairly ambitious!  But I am still young enough to aspire!)

What’s on yours?

Rip-Snortin' Rodeo-Rider #CowboyTodd at SXSW: Update

I can’t say I was surprised to see #CowboyTodd have a better time at SXSW than I would have had I gone.

After a brief scare in which the gunslinger was misplaced by the deliveryman, causing him to miss out on the shenanigans at the Funnel Cake Fandango, the Cowboy proved himself to be a “stand-up” guy for the rest of the event.

The fella knows how to party.  Here’s a sampling of the fun…

Here’s #CowboyTodd making his mark with the ladies…


Here’s the Carboard Cowboy getting into trouble with David Armano


… And crashing Chris Brogan’s speaking gig — with a little assistance from his partner in crime, Richard Binhammer!


Honestly, the fun never stopped.  Even when it probably should have:

All these shenanigans resulted in #CowboyTodd becoming the #1 “Hottest Trend” topic on Klout by Monday morning.

I’ll be making announcements about the prize winners in the days ahead.  This was just a quick, fun update.  Meanwhile, my extra special thanks to David Alston, C.C. Chapman, Richard Binhammer, Jason Falls and Aaron Strout.  You guys are awesome.

How Cable News Works

The inimitable Onion News Network reveals just how hard it is to fill 24-hours worth of stuff (contains some NSFW language):

This topic strikes home for me.  It was literally the subject of my very first blog post at PR-Squared, about 6 years ago!  It was also covered recently — briefly but pointedly — by Matthew Yglesias of ThinkProgress and Kevin Jones of Mother Jones Magazine.  Here’s Drum:

Hardly anyone watches cable news. Even in prime time, Fox has a couple million viewers — that’s about 1% of American adults — and the other (cable news) operations have a million or so.  Cable news is a molehill that gets routinely turned into a mountain range because they happen to be talking about the most self-obsessed bunch of gossip hounds in the country:  politicians.

But the reality is that almost no one is watching.  Take away the echo chamber and Glenn Beck would be about as important as a guy on a soapbox in Central Park…

Put that video from The Onion together with the miniscule statistics re: cable news viewership, and it really does all feel pretty ridiculous, eh?

SXSW's Biggest Star: "Cowboy Todd"

Cowboy_todddefrenWhile I can’t be at SXSW in-person this year, I’m sending a proxy.  Literally.

If you are headed to Austin, allow me to introduce you to … “Cowboy Todd.”

Inspired and designed by my friend David Alston and his crew at Radian6, this 6–foot tall cut-out will be making the rounds of the party circuit, “Flat Stanley”-style.

David’s committed to taking Cowboy Todd to the AllHat2 event, Jason Falls promises to have Cowboy Todd serve you a funnel cake at his Funnel Cake Fandango, and my pals Aaron Strout, C.C. Chapman, Richard Binhammer, and Kyle Flaherty have committed to serve as Cardboard Cowboy wranglers, to make sure the Big Guy gets to a few other events.

Wanna get involved in the fun?

If you spot Cowboy Todd in Austin, be sure to check-in with him via Foursquare, or create a new spot for the big guy on Gowalla.

Take a photo with him and we’ll post the best entries to PR-Squared and the SHIFT Facebook Fanpage.  If you’ve got the funniest picture submission, I’ll draft a guest blog post for ya (or something similar).

Film yourself having a (drunken) conversation with Cowboy Todd, and we’ll give $1,000 to your favorite charity if you took the best/funniest video.

Tweet about #CowboyTodd and we’ll randomly select 5 winners to receive a $25 Amazon Gift Card. (But special consideration will be given if you tweet some funny one-liners, e.g., “Top 10 Things Cowboy Todd Didn’t Say at SXSW.”)

I can’t be there, but I sure hope Cowboy Todd has a blast.

I promise you — the guy’s no pushover.  He’ll drink you all under the table.

Show some social media love would ya?

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