Mitch Joel

A new way of advertising - Walk Off The Earth

Walk Off The Earth (WOTE) was one of the first bands in years to capture my attention. They play ukuleles, sing great covers, happen to be Canadian, and they’re really fun! :)

I’ve loved watching their rise to success since 2012 when a cover of Gotye’s Somebody that I used to know went (really!) viral. The band has been so smart. They knew that since they started with videos, they needed to keep creating videos, and they haven’t stopped. Even while touring, recording their album, and through one member’s pregnancy, they have continued to release amazing videos of both their original content and covers.

This past year I began noticing their work with brands. Because of the work that I do, instead of just seeing fun videos, I couldn’t help but be impressed at the companies they were working with and the fact that those companies understood the value in working with a band like them. To be really succesful with online marketing, brands needs to be innovative and not expect that the kind of marketing they did (and do) through traditional channels will be successful online. The work that WOTE has done with the following three brands is a fabulous example of understanding that.

ING Direct

The first one I noticed was for ING Direct. The band did a cover of Madonna’s song Material Girl. At the end of the video (it’s gone now because the contest is over) the band did an explanation of a contest ING was having and encouraging people to enter by submiting videos on how they like to save money. It was fun, and ING knew that doing something fun with this band (especially requests for videos) would be a great way to reach out a certain audience.


I’d never heard of Polk before this video, but Walk Off The Earth worked with them this summer to help launch a campaign they were starting called “Listen to the Music”.  The campaign encourages bands to submit covers of the Doobie Brother’s song by the same name and WOTE was a great fit to start off the campaign with their own cover.  The brand was able to use and promote the video in their marketing.  WOTE also posted the video to their channels (which is how I saw it). The video isn’t blatantly for the brand, but the subtle product and brand placement is great advertising for Polk.


The most recent partnership is with Volkswagon. Walk Off The Earth approached them, told them they loved the brand and that they’d love to create a video using one of their cars as part of their music.

Again, it’s fun, it’s different, and it’s engaging. WOTE only shared the video that they created using the car as percussion, but they actually created three different version all with different feels based on the model of the Beetle they used.

(You can see all 3 versions on the Volkswagon Canada Youtube page)

I can’t wait to keep watching what Walk Off The Earth will keep doing, and also how more and more brands will find new and different ways to use the online space to connect with their audiences. If you’re looking for a good read on how things are changing and why we all need to evolve with the times, I highly recommend Mitch Joel’s book CTRL Alt Delete

Have you seen any brands doing fun and innovative marketing online? Leave a comment and let us know!

Buzz, Brilliance and Blogging: Week ending June 16

Every week I compile a list of the noteworthy social media news (Buzz), balanced with valuable commentary (Brilliance) and some good advice about Blogging as well. The links that follow are to sites and blogs that I read on a regular basis - consider them recommended reading for you too. Or you can just come back here each week for a taste of what stuck out to me.



Twitter has been hard at work trying to take the advertising world by storm. And they’re promoting what they’re doing through traditional media. Of course, more and more people are using hashtags outside of the Twitter bubble, so you might find TagsInAction useful for tracking what people are saying elsewhere on the web

Twitter is doing its best lately to create a unique user experience for each of us - one that is tailored to our interests. This is in Twitter’s best interest as it will get more and more people coming back to use this tool, which is good news for advertisers. Twitter wants increased interactions from its users, which is why they’ve launched expanded tweets as well

The latest research from ComScore about Facebook advertising must feel so validating for Facebook. To hear that their product works when so many have doubted is nice. I must admit that I notice ads far more on Facebook now than I have before. They’re hoping that Facebook Exchange ads will boost their advertising usefulness even further.

Reddit is serious about spam. So serious, in fact, that they’ve banned certain reputable sites because they were tied to spam activity.  



One of the biggest objections to social media is lack of time to produce content. It’s nice to know that there are ways to do so easily and quickly - now get on that!

Do you use ads on Facebook? Do you know if you’re selecting the right options? This article from Social Fresh may help you.

This week Lara and I might have taken some small steps toward podcasting. We’re pretty excited about it, because it’s a growing content stream and even Apple is recognizing that it needs its own home. I think our experience at Podcasters Across Borders last weekend inspired us to get moving on this as we’ve been talking about it for quite some time.

This is one of my favorite posts this week - and I have shared it several times - because it so eloquently lays it out there that automation doesn’t mean a machine is generating content for you. As I said to someone this week, there is still a human behind it, even if I don’t happen to be online at the time it posts.

There’s a lot of talk about authenticity and being real/genuine in social media. The idea is that if people know who you are and what you’re about, they can trust you. It’s an unspoken agreemen; Mitch Joel calls it a contract.


Anyone who has ever blogged was new to blogging once. It can seem daunting to get started, but it doesn’t have to be, and there are lots of very experienced bloggers willing to help you.

Do you need blog post ideas? Problogger has a few for you - and this list is evergreen so you can refer to it over and over again.

App of the Week

In honor of my favorite post this week (the one about automation by Jason Falls), I am going to nominate Buffer as my pick for this week. It beats Hootsuite by a landslide for ease of scheduling and allows you to link to your account for additional metric tracking. You can customize the times to tweet/post updates so that your feed isn’t overwhelmed. I have to say, though, the times selected automatically by Buffer were right on for me.

Engage your audience: Dos and Don'ts for brands using social media

Source: stock.xchng

I love words. The dictionary is a constant companion. Even when I know a word's meaning, I'll look it up to help me form the thought I need to express. Often as I'm reading, certain words or concepts will jump out at me and trigger a response.

Today I found a common theme running through several posts. Let's go on a short blog tour:

The first post I read was by C.C. Chapman, who had some free (though very valuable) advice for a company that targeted him in a campaign. The implementation wasn't well thought out and was even insulting to the very audience that was targeted. Chris Brogan followed up with a tour of groceries tweeting examples of company accounts - the good, the bad, the ugly. Between these two posts I was shaking my head. From abandoned to spammy to RSS-feed-like to well-managed twitter accounts all in two posts. It was enough to make my brain spin.

Later, with thoughts of broadcast vs. engagement me floating through my head, I read this post from Mitch Joel and the three posts all came together for me.

The words that came to mind over and over today were:

  • Broadcast: to make something known widely; disseminate something ( Synonyms - advertise, announce, annunciate, blare, blazon, circulate, communicate, declare, disseminate, distribute, proclaim, promulgate, publish, report, sow, spread, strew, troll (, and

  • Engage: to attract and hold fast/to attract and please ( Synonyms - captivate, concern, consume, employ, engage, engross, fascinate, fill, hold, immerse, involve, monopolize, obsess, preoccupy, rivet (

I look at the definitions/synonyms and engage is infinitely more appealing. But there's an epidemic lack of understanding on how to engage as a brand. Brands are big companies who have products or services to sell. Many of them are stuck in the old broadcast mindset of being cut off from their customers, constantly having a one-way conversation.

So how do they change their mindset and engage?

  1. Stop thinking like a company and start thinking like humans.

  2. Stop trying to reach the masses and start connecting with individuals.

  3. Stop promoting your product and start to interact with the people who (may) use it.

The Bottom Line: BE REAL!
Will this take more time? Absolutely.
Will it be worth it? Yes, if it's done well.

The truth is, people will be interested in brands that engage them while the ones who are broadcasting will continue to fly by unnoticed in their timeline/newsfeed.

What are some examples of brands that are doing a good job using social media?