Sunday, September 25, 2011

Ocean Trash as art

I started to explore doing some pro bono marketing work for the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito, CA. They rescue, rehabilitate and release distressed marine mammals on the northern California coasts - and they typically get the most calls for seals and sea lions.

While visiting an art festival I saw a piece of artwork made from ocean trash and found it fascinating stuff.

An artist in Oregan collected trash that washed up on her beach over time and turned it into sculptures that educate the public on the dangers of ocean trash to marine life. Seals mistake some items for food and get ensnared in others. I won't post photos here but it's heartbreaking to see a seal pup that's trying to grow with a six pack soda ring or abandoned fishing line around his neck. Unless they're found and rescued, they won't make it.

The good news is that this type of thing can be minimized if we watch our consumption of plastics, and recycle what we do use. Try using a refillable water bottle instead of those cases of disposable ones, and save up those empties until you find a recycling bin. We only recycle 7% of the 15 billion TONS of plastic we use each year. I think we can do better.

If you're near Sausalito, stop by the center. You'll see the rest of their incredible sculptures and may get to meet a patient or two. But be warned. They're stinky. One story told at orientation was of a well meaning officer who placed a lost sea lion pup in his police cruiser. Let's just say that car was never put back in service. :-)

Friday, September 23, 2011

Hello again Sammy Hagar!

A few weeks ago I posted on Facebook that we were seated near Sammy Hagar for Brett's birthday dinner at El Paseo (the restaurant Sammy Hagar co-owns with Tyler Florence).

Brett saw him immediately (or rather, he saw his hair) - and when we were seated at a table nearby, Brett chose the seat facing away from Sammy so he wouldn't be tempted to stare. Brett played it cool all night until Sammy got up to talk with Tyler in the kitchen. Sammy walked right past us, and on his way back he stopped to greet some tables. Unfortunately he didn't stop at ours. I knew Brett was disappointed, because I watched his eyes follow the former Van Halen star around the room. I also watched a sly smirk creep onto his face and noticed a twinkle in his eye as he pondered what he'd say if Sammy stopped by. By the end of the night, we went home without meeting him, and Sammy enjoyed his dinner uninterrupted.

The next day unbeknownst to Brett, I emailed the restaurant and asked them if they'd have Sammy sign a restaurant menu. They agreed and put it in the mail. When Brett got back from his business trip, he picked up the envelope, said "Did my mom send us a gift certificate?" and then after opening it - gave a long skeptical "Riiight...." He looked at me and said "is this your handwriting? Did you tell my mom? You had something to do with this didn't you?" I feigned ignorance for about 3 seconds and then burst out laughing, telling him the story and that the signature was likely legit. We had a few more good laughs and then stuck the paper on a shelf for a reminder of a fun night and an even funnier joke.

If you can't read the scrawl, it says "Brett - I saw you gnawing on that bone. Nice work Pal. - Sammy" (I may have fed Sammy his line - but he's still a stand up guy in my book).

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Method Home: People Against Dirty

Many years ago I saw a really cool looking bottle of hand soap at the store made by a company called Method Home. I liked the design of the package so I tossed it in my cart. It worked and smelled great, and I later discovered that their complete line of home and personal care products are all natural. What more could a girl ask for? Cute packaging, good for the environment (and my health) and it actually works. I was hooked.

As a marketer, I've continued to admire them and have been impressed by their punchy copy (ex: People against dirty), their cool partnership with Virgin America, and their creative user engagement tactics.

In their "laundry room love" video they asked fans to submit video of themselves doing scripted moves and then stitched them together into a master video. Fun stuff.

Then last week I was in the city in a cafe, and the Method Home biodiesel truck pulled up. On the back was an e-mail address and a message offering "handsome rewards" for those that wrote in saying where they spotted the truck. I wrote in, and got a voucher for a free product in the mail.

Needless to say, it was a positive experience with their brand, and I remain a raving fan.