Monthly Archives: February 2011

Learning Skills from KVSC’s Biggest Annual Event: Trivia Weekend

In front of my billboard for Superheroes of Trivia.

In front of my billboard for Superheroes of Trivia.

KVSC 88.1FM’s 32nd annual Trivia Weekend recently came to an end. Trivia Weekend is a staple in Central Minnesota and consistently sees around 70 teams compete in a 50-hour non-stop contest with nine questions asked over the air every hour. The questions range from sports and popular culture to science and general history with many theme-based questions asked throughout the contest.

This year’s theme “Superheroes of Trivia” was especially fun for the competing teams and question writers alike. The questions are very tough as the writers attempt to “Google-proof” them and the contest is complete with audio sound bites and visual trivia. This is a great contest and is one of the longest-running annual events at St. Cloud State University.

Personally, I never really get too excited about hearing the questions over the air or for putting in volunteer hours for this weekend-long event. However, this being my second year as a graduate assistant at KVSC, I did get excited about putting my public relations knowledge to the test and in exercising my social media and graphic design skills in promoting Superheroes of Trivia. From designing the promotional poster to teasing the Trivia Weekend junkies via Facebook and Twitter, I had a lot of fun building some hype leading up to Superheroes of Trivia and in keeping the conversation going in the social media world all weekend. Most of the design work was based on the poster and included designing T-shirts, small flyers, images for web/social media and even a billboard (pictured above).

Promotions for Trivia Weekend began before the theme was even picked in July. With social media, we were able to get trivia enthusiasts involved by including them in choosing a theme. By creating a social media contest around the idea of helping us pick a theme, we were able to interact with our audience and make them feel more closely connected to the station.

The privilege of being a graduate assistant at an award-winning college radio station has been the perfect supplement to my academic career at St. Cloud State. Jo McMullen-Boyer is a great station manager to work with and she really gives me a lot of freedom to make my position at KVSC my own. The position is mostly geared around creating content for kvsc.org and general public relations for the station as well as some basic graphic design when necessary. The freedom to make the position my own means I have put a strong focus on building the station’s social media platforms and driving traffic to its website. I also get to work on my skills as a photographer at concerts and other special events.

Soon after Trivia Weekend came to a close, postings on our Facebook page were popping up thanking the station for making the weekend so much fun and on what the theme should be for next year. Sadly, I graduate in May and am (hopefully) moving on to bigger and better things and will not get to contribute to picking a theme or teasing the “trivia junkies” via social media during the months leading up to Trivia Weekend. I’m sure my successor (whoever that may be) will carry the Trivia Weekend promotions torch well.

About these ads

Top Five Super Bowl Ads of 2011

After coming home from the library late in the third quarter, I quickly fired up Hulu and got caught up in the AdBowl. What a great way to watch the best ads of the night. Hulu had a nice dashboard to watch the ads with the ability to organize by most popular, most watched and order of appearance. With the ability to give a thumbs up or down to each ad and the Facebook and Twitter share buttons, Hulu was definitely a great site to analyze the ads and see what everyone else was thinking. So with that, I give you my personal “top 5″ ads of Super Bowl XLV.

#5. Bridgestone: Carma

Bridgestone Tires has been running commercials during the Super Bowl since 2008 and has sponsored the halftime show the past two years. This year, Bridgestone featured two ads during the event and both have ended up in my top five. I find this ad to be clever not only because of the cute little beaver and heart-warming nature of the spot, but the ad also makes a strong point without making a big deal about it: Bridgestone tires can make a sudden stop in the rain with no problem.

#4. Doritos: House Sitting

I don’t think this one left anyone feeling warm-hearted … As usual this year, Doritos goes for humor and shock value in their Super Bowl ads. This ad is tastefully done for Doritos’ standard and is not nearly as creepy as the “Mmm … Cheese!” guy. I got to hand it to Doritos for the success of the “Crash the Super Bowl” contest now in it’s fourth year. What a great concept: Let the consumers take the spotlight and see what they come up with. Each year, consumers have delivered for Doritos and the contest leading up to the Super Bowl is a great way to build consumer relations and brad identity.

#3. Bridgestone: Reply All

This commercial is all about humor. In fact, this is the first ad I watched that made me LOL. Wow, I can’t believe I just wrote that. Anyway, the ad pokes fun at the ever so dreadful mistake of hitting “reply all” in an e-mail when the message was intended for just the sender. Who doesn’t love watching a guy flip out at the office?

#2. Volkswagen: The Force

This is just a great ad. The commercial quickly went viral on YouTube and now has over 22 million views. Not bad, even with the $6 million price tag to air the 60 second spot. The ad was talked about by seemingly everyone in the following days and Volkswagen gained additional impressions on morning talk shows and heart-warming stories about the six-year-old heart patient from Southern California. The ad itself tells little about the car and is based purely on keeping the viewer’s attention and ending with a good joke. The ad is … dare I say cute?

#1. Chrysler: Imported from Detroit

This might be the first time I have ever had a completely non-humorous Super Bowl ad as my favorite. This ad has a perfect  tone right from the start. The scars of the City of Detroit are showcased in a way that makes you feel proud to know Chrysler cars are made right here in the U.S. The tone of the voice-over (a Michigan man) carries over Eminem’s  musical crescendo in what seems to end with chills through my body every time I watch it. This commercial was severely under-appreciated on the various online voting polls, not even making the top 10 on Hulu. However, the ad is seeming to do its job after the first airing. Kelly Blue Book ranked its online traffic after each automobile commercial aired during the Super Bowl and the Chrysler 200 was the top ranking search with a 1,013 percent increase in traffic. Though the more humorous ads received more views and ranked higher, the commercial did get a lot of attention online and in the news.

Alright, there you have my “top 5″ Super Bowl ads. Before I let you weigh-in on your favorites, I just want to say Coca-Cola really flopped on their strange “blockbuster” dragon slayer animated mini-movie. I’m not sure what this guy was thinking, but the ad was terrible. Oh, and what was Groupon thinking? That’s probably a topic for another day.


Who Uses Bing?

Google is clearly the winner.

Google is clearly the winner.

Consider this my first rant. I know, I know … it’s been nearly two weeks since my previous post and I should have something more interesting to discuss and, believe me, I do. However, “Who Uses Bing” is the first topic listed on my blog ideas I have saved in my iPhone notes. This topic actually came to me when I watched my professor go to Bing and type in “Google” before actually doing his search. Let me know in the comments section below if you have ever done this.

Bing is terrible. That may be a bit harsh, it’s not like I know anything about search algorithms, but seriously, Google is just a lot better. It was only a couple years ago when Microsoft formally launched its new search engine site and changed the name from the boring “MSN Search” (Live Search and Windows Live Search–also terribly boring names–were also used) to simply “Bing.” I remember watching some of the fabulous network news anchors poking fun of the name and trying to predict if people would start saying “Just Bing it!” as we all do with Google. Pretty sure I have never heard anyone use Bing as a verb and I don’t think I ever will. Well, there is the clever tagline “Bing and decide” used in it’s advertisements, but come on.

Okay, this is more of a rant than I wanted it to be, so let’s just head over to bing.com and see if the search engine can explain to me why Google is better. After reaching bing.com (which I typed in on my awesome Google Chrome Web browser), I proceeded to type in “why Google is better than Bing” and the auto-complete finished after typing in “why Goo,” nice. At least they’re playing fair and not trying to block certain search terms. Anyway, I came up with this nice article in the number two spot (the first site was an article from 2009 stating that Bing is a competitor, but it is not a “Google Killer”), which contained the 10 reasons why Google is still better than Bing.

There’s no reason to try and list my top 10 reasons; I think the above mentioned article speaks for itself. However, I say Google is king of search because of a few key reasons. First off, Google was founded as a search engine company and has always kept the focus on speed and finding the most relevant, pertinent information regarding the user’s search term. Secondly, Google really optimizes the user Web experience through additional tools such Google Docs, Google Calendar, Gmail and much, much more. Finally, Google has done an outstanding job of integrating its search function into mobile platforms. Google Goggles, voice search and the entire iPhone app is a great addition to the mobile experience.

I think I’ll finish there before I get into a rant on why I think even Yahoo! is better than Bing. Somehow Bing has managed to overtake Yahoo! as the world’s number two search engine, so I guess I’ll congratulate them on that.


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