Filed under Marketing

Overnight Website Challenge

I wanted to take some time out to highlight The Nerdery, an interactive development firm that occasionally does this thing called an Overnight Website Challenge. What they do is volunteer to spend 24 hours fixing up nonprofit sites, and whoa, do they put that time to good use. Here are some of my favorites:









I’ve never really been into those home renovation shows on HGTV, but THIS I could get into.


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Guess That TV Show

Can you guess these TV shows?

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Brand Spirit

Would you recognize an object you see everyday if it was stripped of all it’s color and branding? That’s the question brand strategist Andrew Miller set out to find when he started Brand Spirit.

“Every day for 100 days, I will paint one branded object white, removing all visual branding, reducing the object to its purest form. Each object may be purchased for less than $10, something I own, something another person gives me, or something I find.” – Andrew Miller

1. Heinz

2. Maxell

3. Duracell

4. Red Stripe

5. Trojan

6. Livestrong


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Marketing, PR, Advertising and Branding

I came across this thing on Marketing at and thought it was pretty cool. I love when things get broken down to the main idea.

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British Arrows

One of my favorite holiday traditions is going to the British Television Advertising Awards (now named the British Arrows) at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. Some of the commercials are really funny, some are strange, and sometimes they’re really depressing. All of them however, are created really well and speak to their consumer in a new and interesting way. Luckily, this year there were a lot of funny ones. Too many drunk driving/domestic violence commercials equals a sad Erika.

Here are my favorites:

Doritos: David Shane (Bronze Award)

Nike: Write The Future (Gold Award)

Match.Com: The Piano (Gold Award)

And of course, the commercial that won best of the year:

T-Mobile: Welcome Back


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Website Pet Peeves

Studies show that it takes only about 50 milliseconds for a visitor to form an opinion about the visual design of your website. Since I spend the majority of my day judging the layout of my sites in a grid down to the pixel and trying to figure out how to make them more usable for the customer, I feel like I’m more irritable about bad practices in web design. Here are my top 5 website pet peeves. If you’re doing this, quit it.

5. Too Much Content: Adding a whole bunch of content to your site will distract from what you’re trying to get across to  your reader. Resist the need to add information to fill up white space, and only put what you need. Don’t make your site look like this.

4. Hard to read text: Are you putting dark text one a dark background? Can I not figure out what your fancy scroll text says? Typography should be interesting AND readable. Example of good use of typography? Here.

3. Bad Usability: If it’s not clear to your user what path they should take, or you’ve made it impossible for them to take that path, then they wont get to where you want them to go. Also, use a navigation in shopping carts. I’d love to know if I’m filling out 2 pages of information, or 10 before I actually purchase. Side note: go to to see a site experiment where you don’t navigate by clicking. Pretty cool, or potential nightmare?

2. Music: I don’t care if Justin Timberlake bought MySpace–it’s dead. If your music starts playing over the music I’m already listening to, I will never forgive you.

1. <blink> or sparkling GIFs: This is the holey grail of worse website practices. It’s the equivalent of getting one of this. Do you want to use used-car salesmen tactics?

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Yellow Chocolate

What does yellow taste like? According to the mass populace of New Zealand, it tastes like pineapple custard! Check out these yellow chocolate bars.

This deliciously packaged bar started as a marketing compitiion by Yellow pages, and turned into an award winner at the Cannes International Advertising Festival. 28 year old surfer Josh Winger ended up being chosen to design, market and distribute a chocolate bar that tastes like the color yellow. He took to the street to figure out what people thought yellow tasted like. The options were: pineapple custard, banana french toast, kowhai honey and lemon tart.

Personally, I think I would have gone with lemon tart. Could you imagine if banana french toast would have won?

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Career Mistakes

After buying Remit Sethi’s book on personal finance—and somehow managing to automate a huge chunk of my money to be hidden away from my greedy hands into a Roth IRA, Savings and 401K–I’ve taken an interest in his lessons on Like most people in their 20’s, I’m looking at how to advance in my career, and make (as my boyfriend calls it) “man money”.

A couple notes I found interesting from his recent 7 Career Mistakes lecture:

  • When describing their “Dream Job”, most people will list a high salary at number 3.
  • Women are notorious for under-negotiating their salary and assuming they’re under qualified. I think this is pretty obvious, yet rarely talked about.

This spawned a short email conversation with Ramit himself that mysteriously ended with him saying, “Waiting 5 yrs for some mythical job is nonsense. Especially in advertising. Stay tuned for Jan.”

January you say? I will take your bait and “stay tuned”.

As many of you know, I’m in what I believe to be an ideal position for me as Marketing Coordinator, but I still worry about the steps I’m taking. I recently asked the Adsoka Agency in Minneapolis’s founder, Jason Inskeep, some advice for my career:

Me: Your obviously passionate about your company, but Adsoka wasn’t started until 2003. Did you ever have a job that you stayed at for experience/money? Basically, did/does passion fuel all your career choices?

Mr. Inskeep: Yes, all jobs lead to building experience (and money) for the future. But don’t work somewhere you don’t like for more than a year. Think about jobs in three year cycles: learning, attaining, maintaining (and then start over or leave).

Me: You have a lot of principals at your company that are woman. As the only woman (and the youngest by about 10 years) in the marketing department where I work, what are some ways I can be taken seriously?

Mr. Inskeep: Be serious to be taken serious. Have facts to share, not just opinions. Avoid breaking character (you’ll be judged by the least favorable moments: silliness at company picnic, joking on Friday afternoons, etc.) Arrive early, leave late – over dress for the role. (Find ways to break the stress of long days. A quick walk  outside, or finding a mentor in senior management – or at a neighboring business.)

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