Viggle: Where I Actually Got Something for Checking In

A year or two back I posted on my company’s blog about why I quit FourSquare. It boils down to the simple fact that I wasn’t getting anything of value for constantly checking into places. Same thing with GetGlue and just about any other check-in app I’ve used. It’s fun to get badges and little cutesy titles for a while, but it gets old very quickly.

Which is why I was intrigued by Viggle when Access started working with them.

Viggle 001

The premise: You pop open Viggle on your phone or tablet while watching TV, and let it listen to what you’re watching. It’ll recognize the show and allow you to check in. Every time you check in, you earn points, which can be redeemed for actual prizes.

Not badges or titles. Actual stuff people want and can use. Like gift cards, deals, t-shirts. I love t-shirts.

I can vouch personally. I saved up about 65,000 points over the course of around 6 months (the typical point total for an hour-long show is around 100-200) and traded in 62,000 for a $25 gift card at Best Buy.

Let me emphasize that point: this isn’t like the “Free iPad” posts your crazy aunt posts on Facebook in between her Obama rants and Kenny Loggins Jesus pics. Viggle is 100% legitimate. And it kicks ass.

Here’s a few reasons why I think this app has a bright future:

  1. It gives me (and every other user) a reason to watch live TV, which I almost never do.
  2. It incentivizes me to tune in to shows I never would otherwise (such as Nashville. I made it 6 minutes before stabbing myself.) This happens because Viggle offers extra points for checking into certain “featured” shows
  3. It keeps me from turning the channel (unless I’m watching Nashville.) This happens because Viggle offers in-show features such as trivia games and the “MyGuy” fantasy-style game during sporting events that actually require me to stick with the show and play along to earn extra points.

    Example of a featured show on Viggle. This is fashion show starring PitBull. PitBull keeps getting nice things, somehow!

    Example of a featured show on Viggle. This is fashion show starring PitBull. PitBull keeps getting nice things, somehow!

  4. It has rewards. Actual rewards.

There are some downsides. Viggle doesn’t pick up certain channels, and only recognizes your DVR’d shows within a day or two of the original airing. Viggle has limits on the amount of points you can earn, but they fall well within limits of normal human TV habits. It’ll take you a while to earn something, but that’s okay because you also checked in to that Waffle House for over a year to become mayor, and that put absolutely zero into your pocket.

The only other drawback is they need to expand their rewards options, but I think that’s coming soon.

It’s free and worth a try, so why not give it a whirl?

The Good, the Bad, the Expected

Let me tell you about a couple different experiences I had with businesses over the past week. One terrible, one good. And by good, I had the experience I expected.

The Bad

tirefireI went to Big O Tires in West Valley City, Utah, to get my car inspected and tag renewed. This normally takes 10 minutes at autoshops, and I was told it would only take that long at Big O. 30 minutes into my visit my car hasn’t moved and I’m standing at the counter watching the attendant on the phone. Not talking on the phone, just holding it to her ear. I sat back down and waited, because I can’t stand confrontation and assumed my car was next in line.

20 minutes after that I’m standing in front of the counter while a couple of bros munch on some Taco Bell at each of the cash registers, talkin’ bout cars and the Super Bowl. Curious how long until they’d acknowledge me, I stood there and stared at them. After about 5 minutes, I said “Excuse me” and they reacted as if I’d interrupted the birth of a child or something.

“WHAT?!” they blurted.

I asked for my keys back, and as I was walking out the door the lady who was no longer with her phone says “We had a stall in one of the bays.”

Great to know. A piss poor experience on every level.

The Expected

Today I went to another shop, Performance Emissions and Inspections. I walked out in five minutes with my car inspected. I didn’t get a cheerful reception and I’m not thrilled with the price, but I had the experience I expected. This is a BIG DAMN DEAL these days. I’ll go back to these guys again.

Look, I wanted simple car service. I don’t think any reasonable person in the world expects much from car service: be honest, be fair. Unlike the grocery store, or a hair salon, I’m not looking for smiles and candy canes. just fix my damn car. When I’m standing at the counter, take a few moments to pause the Taco Bell grunting to acknowledge me. Don’t choke on your Doritos Loco taco when I ask for something.

People have asked why I didn’t say anything to the Big O people. I can’t stand confrontation, especially with strangers. I’m quite content to walk away and spend my money elsewhere (and in really crusty cases like this, blog.) I believe there are a lot of you out there who would do the same.

It comes down to this: know your expectations and surpass them. If you can’t surpass them, ensure you’re excellent at the bare minimum, which is to give people exactly what they expect when walking in your door. If you can’t deliver that, in a social media-driven world where opinions can spread like wildfire, then you can expect to close up shop soon.

Subversive Content: Trust Me, I’m Lying

trust-me-im-lyingMy origins are in public relations, and PR still makes up a significant portion of what I do these days. You could probably call me a content marketer, a phrase for people like me who manage PR, social media, copywriting and anything else that drops into our bucket.

When I started in PR, for an NBA franchise, my mission was fairly straightforward: work with the media to make sure the team was always portrayed in a positive light. I would want a player covered in a particular magazine, and I would have a conversation with an editor to sell him on the idea, as an example.

As I progressed, I learned I could accomplish more by moving outside the traditional “pitch and sell” method of media relations. Some of it I picked up from my boss, like reminding a local writer that the team bought a lot of ads in their paper. Some of it I learned myself, such as leaking pieces of information to create a favor debt that I could cash in on later, or having the team mascot show up at some kid’s birthday party. Continue reading →

3 Marketing Lessons I Learned from @DadBoner

If you’re on Twitter, and follow a male aged 30-45, you’re probably familiar with @DadBoner. Guys my age can’t help relate to (and retweet) and be amused by the reckless, often dark and comedic adventures the fictional Karl Welzein embarks upon.

For me, his tales of endless weeknight drinking, sleepin’ in the work john, and two day diets consisting of buffalo wings on top of a taco salad, among others, strike me as exactly the type of behavior I’d be engaging in if, Lord forbid, I ever got divorced.

Deplorable as Karl may be, with his chest beefer obsession and susceptibility to drunken rampages in White Castle parking lots, I do have to admire his particular brand. So much that I really, genuinely admire some of the finer aspects of Karl’s style.

1. Your brand doesn’t have to be for everyone.

It’s true.  Karl talks a lot about going to ‘Bees, drinkin’ top shef margs and putting moves on the babes. Except he always gets shot down. It’s a harsh reminder that your brand isn’t for everyone. Craft your brand to your core demographic, around their wants and needs, and don’t worry too much about the outside world. They can come into contact with it – like the babes at Applebees – then experience it, and walk away; yet it should connect when the right lady comes by (in Karl’s case, his coworker Ken’s wife, who was looking for hot carnal passions during a rough patch in her marriage.)

2. Social media is best when its planned.

DadBoner is as consistent as a clock. His tweets pop up at about 3PM Eastern Time every day, even Sunday, continue for an hour or two (each tweet is spaced around 10 minutes apart) and then *poof* he’s gone, until tomorrow. On occasion he’ll pop up during a Lions game or the middle of the night after a drunken celebraish, which kind of feels like bonus Boner. A true surprise and delight tactic.Karl Welzein

But it’s a good lesson that I need to take to heart: limit your social media intake, as well your output. Jump in for about 20 minutes at a time, which is enough to read a little bit and post a little bit. While in there, might as well as throw in some personal tweetin’ so you don’t keep it all business, all the time.

3. Always be pushing the brand upward and onward.

The mayor of Bad Boy Town, USA, is never content to sit idly by, watching life pass him by. No, Karl has an endless stream of ideas and concepts to branch out the ‘Boner brand: Capt. Karl’s Pizza Ship (concept restaurant, cheetos as a topping for anything), Gatorpagne (hangover remedy, Gatorade and champagne. Pretty ingenious, actually), TimeHouse (a Penthouse magazine with a Time cover, for the man with raging carnal passions but the desire to be dignified on the john), a screenplay for a Roadhouse sequel starring Guy Fieri and so on.

The takeaway: always be planning the next step for your brand, looking forward to see where your audience may be heading and how your brand needs to evolve alongside consumer tastes. Even if most of the ideas don’t take, like all of Karl’s, you need to have options and be prepared when the right one hits.

I’m one of those types that never gets the big, obvious points that I’m supposed to, but I’ll still walk away with little, unintentional details. Like the hidden genius behind Dadboner, and how elements of it can be applied to marketing. I might be a corncob, but I know a good thing when I see it.

Just Hit Publish

As you can tell, it’s been a bit since I’ve updated this blog. The reason why is the same reason a lot of blogs go stale. It’s not a shortage of ideas or thoughts to share, rather a lack of words to put to them, especially when sitting in front of a computer. Hell, I spend all day thinking of things to say on social media, but literally only about 5% is published.

I need to just hit publish.


“Vacancy” By Leighton Smith.

We all do. No one looks for perfection from bloggers, and a large chunk of what is published is imperfect, incomplete or even misguided. But, I’ve learned, as long as your post isn’t something totally idiotic such as “Hitler was really misunderstood…” it’s okay to let it fly. At worst it’s ignored, but you never know what’s going to hit a nerve.

I have four unpublished posts from the past couple months. One is an uninspired breakdown of fake Facebook profiles, another is a ten pager about the idiocy of the Chick Fil A Day. I’m not going to publish them now because the time has passed, but I missed out on a lot by not letting them fly when I wrote them.

At best, the post reveals a bit about yourself to readers, and even if they’re angry, you give yourself a chance to explain rationale OR to show growth in your thinking.

Just hit publish.

Talkin’ Facebook: When to Be You, When to be a Brand

Facebook recently began rolling out yet another new feature, this one designed to simplify things a bit for Page owners. If you visit one of your pages today, you’re likely to see a new “Voice” option on the top navigation bar between your profile link and the Home button.

Voice allows you to switch between your personas on a page. Odds are you, like me, are set to automatically post as your brand while on that page.

This is good for 95% of the content you’ll put up on a page, but sometimes you’ll need to post as yourself. The Voices button makes it pretty simple. Just click it, and a lighter blue bar will pop below telling you that you’re posting, commenting and liking as (Your Page), and give you a link to click to post as yourself. That link allows you to switch back and forth quickly.

When to Post as Yourself on Facebook

As I mentioned, you’re probably not going to use this feature too often, but it’s worth taking a few moments to consider when it’s good to post as yourself on a brand page:

  • When someone mentions you personally
  • When your page has multiple admins and you want to interact with a post by one of them (This is the cause of 99% of the instances when a page Likes its own post. It’s not being egotistical, it’s just other admins liking posts).
  • It’s okay to jump in as yourself on occasion when interacting with customers, to give a personal touch and, in the case of an angry customer, remind them that an actual person is listening and cares

One Quick Warning

Check who you’re posting as before you post. A post by a person on a Facebook page isn’t going to pop up in people’s streams, so be sure that if you’re going to post content, do it as the page. Heck, you should always double-check your content before posting anything – no one likes typos.

Social Media Blogging

Did you know I blog in other places? And not just anonymously? It’s true!

As part of my work with Access Development, I manage and contribute to a couple other blogs. The Access Loyalty Blog keeps a corporate focus on what’s happening within Access and within the loyalty and rewards industry. It’s a great company to work for and has some very cool services that I’m proud to write about. Continue reading →