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Ten Companies That Missed Great Blog Opportunities

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It doesn't matter whether companies are big or small—many are missing opportunities to integrate blogs into the marketing mix.

The following are 10 examples of sites, campaigns and companies that are crying out for blogs. With blogs, they could have a dialog with customers, sell product, and also have some fun.

Newman's Own Organic Dog Food

Difficult economy? What difficult economy? You'd never know it from what dogs and cats are eating. And now they'll have Newman's Own Organic Dog Food at $39.95 for a 25-pound bag, according to USA Today.

Oddly, there is no Newman's Own Dog Food Web site, blog or other online marketing effort. A missed opportunity! The topic of pet nutrition cries out for a blog where holistic-medicine vets could answer nutrition questions from customers.


Teva Sandals

Teva, the company that produces sport sandals and footwear, is designing a new line of shoes made especially for an elephant named Tina, who lives at The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee. Tina, who is 9 feet tall and 9,100 pounds, is a 34-year-old Asian elephant suffering from a debilitating foot disease. She's the only elephant at the sanctuary that was born in captivity.

The Teva design will protect the bottoms of Tina's feet so she can navigate the habitat pain-free. When she gets her new shoes, you'll be able to watch her on the sanctuary's way-cool Elecam.

Will this sell Teva shoes to humans? You bet! But Teva is missing a big opportunity by not integrating a photo blog that tracks the elephant's progress into its Web site.

[Editor's note: Sadly, Tina passed away shortly after this item had been written.]

Starbucks Coffee

Starbucks celebrated its 10th anniversary in New York City with a summer campaign, surprising New Yorkers with random acts of kindness. For example, it gave a free tank of gas and a hot cup of coffee to customers at a Manhattan Mobil station; eventually, it gave away 690 gallons of gas, 12 gallons of coffee and 2 gallons of Frappuccino.

The company missed a perfect marketing opportunity by not having the events on a moblog. What's a moblog? It's a mobile blog that allows people to post their own photos and first-hand accounts. Right now, the promotion is invisible; it's not even mentioned on the company Web site.

Rowenta

German iron maker Rowenta has brought the sport of Extreme Ironing to the US—the only global sport that combines a household chore with an extreme sport. Participants, according to the Rowenta press release, like to mix “the thrill of danger with the satisfaction of a well-pressed shirt.”

The US tour began in Boston and concluded on Memorial Day with a grand finale in Times Square. Meanwhile, extreme ironers are ironing while rock climbing, boating, parachute jumping and scuba diving. (Since extreme ironers must wait for the invention of solar- and battery- charged irons, they heat their irons with portable gas burners, campfires and generators. I have no idea how they iron under water.)

The Extreme Ironing Web site uses the tried-and-true PR gimmick, the information bureau—in the form of the Extreme Ironing Bureau. It features a photo gallery to which ironers can upload photos and stories and videos and FAQs, news of events, competitions and proof that it got into the 2004 Guinness Book of Records.

But all of this would have been done much better—and more inexpensively—with a mobile photoblog that would automatically archive and categorize posts and images.

Pomegranate Juice

An article in the Wall Street Journal marvels that pomegranate cocktails “suddenly abound.” Drink trends, the writer muses, “just seem to arise out of nowhere.”

Ah, but those of us who have ever done PR for a beverage company know better, don't we? The PR agency should have been blogging about the responses of consumers tasting the products, uploading recipes, photos and coupons.

DaimlerChrylser

Dan Barry reports in the New York Times that DaimlerChrysler has created what it called the “first ever” living window display when it challenged a family of three to live for five days in a 2004 Dodge Durango SUV parked in Times Square.

Just a silly PR stunt? Maybe. But it got a full column in About New York on the cover of the New York Times Metro section.

That's no small feat, certainly. But they've missed a great opportunity for multimedia promotion. A blog of the family's experience would have been interesting. Although streaming media from the site (or even a Web cam) would have been perfect for this stunt, there was not a word about it on the Dodge Durango site or the Chrysler site.

WD-40 Company

One of the members of the WD-40 Fan Club Board of Directors is Aunti Goodiebags…. Members point out that WD-40 has thousands of uses, from keeping pigeons off the terrace (they hate the smell) to keeping toilet bowls clean. You can suggest your favorite uses at the site.

Unfortunately, the uses aren't searchable, so you can't look up a WD-40 cure when you're in need. This site would have been a perfect use for a business blog, making the Fan Club interactive and allowing for automatic searchable archiving of uses.

(By the way, the site has a downloadable WD-40 Spray Game that you just have to try.)

Dittie

Long overdue. Dittie LLC of Orinda, CA, founded by Barbara Carey, has launched a line of feminine hygiene products that don't treat menstruation like an ailment, or as something to hide.

Dittie products are stylish and, well, feminine. The Dittie site features the Dittie Pledge (always pass one on to any woman in need), funny stories about tampons and goofy Tampon Bowling (with tampons for pins).

More than $1 million was spent on the launch, which included an extensive sampling program in schools, doctor's offices and boutiques, as well as ads in the girls' bathrooms, school newspapers and hallways. There is also a junior marketing program, in which girls can be part of street teams or buzz squads.

The site cries out for a blog and user forums—perhaps password-protected, to keep out mischief-makers.

Trojan Condoms

The Trojan site has a pretty boring home page, considering the subject matter. The information center cries out for a blog. As Rick Bruner pointed out in Business Blog Consulting “Imagine all the legitimate condom, STD and sex-related news they could report on, not to mention more interesting Fark-ish naughty, funny and incredible-but-true sex-related stuff.”

Spider-Man

Here's a mystery…. Spider-Man: The Peril of Doc Ock featuring animated LEGO toys, is a brilliant, action-packed, four-minute comical take on the Spider-Man movies commissioned from Spite Your Face Productions Ltd. by Sony Pictures and Marvel Studios.

Yet the movie is nowhere to be found on the sites of marketing titans Sony, Lego and Marvel. (Or it's quite hidden.) Surely it will spread virally, if only by six-year-olds sending it to their friends.

Where's the hype? Where's the blog? Why isn't anyone making noise about this film? It's clever, funky, funny, true to the movie. And it represents a most unusual collaboration between the three companies.

What opportunity to integrate blogs into the marketing process is your company missing?


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B.L. Ochman is a social media marketing strategist for S&P 500 companies, including McGraw Hill, IBM, Cendant, and American Greetings. She publishes What's Next Blog and Ethics Crisis, where readers can confess their worst ethics transgressions and others can rate them on a scale of one to ten. She also blogs for MarketingProfs Daily Fix Blog.

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