Archive for the ‘Discover’ Category

Campership Fund awards $88,000 to seven children’s charities

Sept. 19, 2013 – The Orange County Register Campership Fund is awarding $88,860 to seven local charities that send underprivileged children to summer camp. The funds were raised between late May and early September as part of the Register’s 44th annual Campership Fund campaign.

The Register’s Courtney Perkes published a series of stories about children who benefited from their experiences at summer camp as part of its annual fund-raising campaign. The articles ran in the Local section of the newspaper each Sunday from July 7 to Sept. 1, and online at OCRegister.com. Each article included an invitation to donate to the campaign.

“It is wonderful to tell stories of the children who have fond memories of summer camp, as thousands have walked away inspired by the experience or felt compelled to give back and support the charities that served them,” said Aaron Kushner, Register owner and Publisher. “The Register’s Campership Fund aligns with our mission to build community and help people in Orange County grow and thrive.”

Orange County based digital engagement agency The Buddy Group also hosted the Buddy Up! Invitational, a golf tournament, dinner and silent auction March 4 at Aliso Viejo Country Club, to benefit the 2013 Register Campership Fund.

“We are grateful to the Register for the opportunity to empower local children and lend our support the Register’s Campership Fund,” said Pete Deutschman, Chief Buddy at The Buddy Group. “Camp is often where you make lifelong relationships and learn the importance of buddying up. Our clients, partners and employees generously donated their time and resources to ensure deserving kids have a chance to have what is often an once-in-a-lifetime experience. “

Funds raised for the 2013 campaign will be divvied up and distributed to the following benefiting agencies during a Sept. 19 reception at the Orange County Register’s headquarters in Santa Ana:

-Anaheim Family YMCA
-Boy Scouts of America, Orange County Council
-Boys & Girls Clubs in Orange County
-Camp Fire USA Orange County Council
-Girl Scout Council of Orange County
-YMCA of Orange
-YMCA of Orange County

Donations from the community provide kids with an opportunity to experience summer camp through camp scholarships, or “camperships.” Camp scholarships range from $175 to $400 per child through the benefiting agencies, meaning the 2013 campaign will send at least 300 kids to summer camp.

The Register Campership Fund is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, with 100 percent of campaign funds going directly toward sending kids to camp. For more information about the Campership Fund, visit www.OCRegister.com/campership.

For more information on the Buddy Up! Invitational and to pre-register for the 2014 event, visit www.buddyupinvitational.com or www.thebuddygroup.com.

 

MediaPost Summit

This week (Aug. 21 – Aug. 24), The Buddy Group is in Lake Tahoe, California sharing ideas and insights around digital engagement and social media strategy with like-minded people at the Social Media Insider Summit. Understanding that social media is constantly changing, a big focus at this year’s event is the need for information right NOW. (more…)

Objective

Moving the energy of our already-electrified social properties to a revamped website; introducing new features to our fan base accustomed to a less-dynamic experience, including long-form content (Blog) and the Add a Recipe section.

Quote from a Buddy

After two years spearheading KING’S HAWAIIAN social media efforts, The Buddy Group was able to transfer these learnings to kingshawaiian.com 2.0, resulting in a more interactive destination for the passionate fan. One of my favorite updates was the Recipes section, which not only encouraged new, imaginative uses with the KING’S HAWAIIAN product; it also invited fans to upload inventive recipes of their own, which they were already sharing across social media. My other favorite update was the Blog section, which invited blogging enthusiasts into the Featured Blogger ohana (family) to share what KING’S HAWAIIAN means to their families, adding a touch of realness to the brand. – Cheryl E.

 

 

 

LIVE URL: http://kingshawaiian.com/

Portfolio URL: http://www.thebuddygroup.com/portfolio/details/king-s-hawaiian-website-redesign/page:7

You may notice a little extra bounce in our step this month.

This month marks eight years since we incorporated as The Buddy Group, Inc. in the state of California. We are feeling a healthy blend of nostalgia, appreciation and pride.  We will be highlighting some of fondest memories since inception here on www.buddyblog.com.

I would love to hear from you too, should you have a favorite you would like to see featured, just shoot me an email.

Over the last eight years we have launched more than 3,500 campaigns and digital engagement projects. Each hold a special place in our memory banks and make us who we are today.

To those of you who contributed to our success as employees and Buddies-thank you for all you give (gave) to TBG.

Those of you who trusted us with your product, marketing challenge or Brand story- thank you for the faith and partnership.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The picture above was captured at our first video shoot, in Laguna Beach California, for our own website.

We have a new Buddy and his name is will.i.am. Most know him as a multi-faceted entertainer and creative innovator, a seven-time Grammy Award winner and front man for the The Black Eyed Peas. We know him as the guy who inspired us to embrace our inner-chic-geekness, shout to the hills about how much we love science, math and technology and reminded us that “waste is only waste if we waste it”.

Today, in partnership with Membrain Licensing, we launched phase one of will.i.am’s official digital presence http://willl.i.am . Launch of his  website today quickly follows a successful launch of will.i.am’s co-venture with COCA-COLA,  http://EKOCYCLE.com. Both experiences are Powered by Buddy’s BUDeSYSTEM framework which manages content, assets, localization, search and social.

We look forward to continued collaborations with will.i.am and Membrain Licensing as we explore the convergence of storytelling, marketing and technology. Buddy Up!

As seen on PR NEWSWIRE:
Pentel, producer of the world’s favorite writing instruments, partners with  
digital engagement authority The Buddy Group to launch of “Power of Pentel” Promotion

IRVINE, CA (June, 2013) – The Buddy Group, Digital Agency of Record for Pentel of America, is set to “Unleash the Power of Pentel” with an offline/online, national promotion supporting EnerGel-X® pens. The “Power of Pentel” gives consumers the chance to win $500,000 — $250,000 for the winner and $250,000 for a school of the winner’s choosing. With creative assets capitalizing on the excitement of the Superhero Summer Blockbuster, this promotion kicks off in June and lasts the entire Summer of 2013.

 

Specially marked packages of EnerGel-X® contain codes that consumers can enter into www.pentel.com/power after purchase to see if they’ve won — including the grand prize and weekly second chance prizes.

 

But the fun doesn’t stop with entry. Fans of Pentel can engage in hero-themed contests to coincide with the theme of being a community hero by winning the $250,000 prize for a local school. The activities will take place on Pentel’s social sites, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest.

 

The Buddy Group, as part of it’s third year as digital agency for Pentel of America, will execute the fully serviced campaign that includes program development, strategy, media, video creation, content marketing, discoverability, microsite design and development and of course, social platform management. “The Buddy Group’s experience at the intersection of storytelling, marketing and technology will continue be used to tell Pentel of America’s story: “innovative and quality production of the world’s favorite writing instruments for over half a century.” We are proud to “Buddy Up” again with Pentel of America and their smart and passionate team”, said Pete Deutschman, Chief Buddy of The Buddy Group.

 

“Pentel believes in the power of authentic online relationship building — The Buddy Group understands engagement, understands caring for customers and understands how to tie that all back to strategy,” said Ilene Albert-Nelson, Director of Marketing for Pentel of America. “The Buddy Group has a track record of finding a way to leverage technology and content as a means of engaging with our consumers in a meaningful way. In the last year, we experienced 1,025% growth and 1,670% more engagement on our social platforms.”

 

Pentel of America’s dedication to innovation and quality has led to the development of many of the writing instruments in use around the world today.  Pentel developed the Sign Pen®, the world’s first acrylic fiber tipped pen; Pentel Arts®, high-quality arts and crafts supplies; Recycology™, an eco-friendly line of writing instruments; and Super Hi-Polymer® lead – the #1 selling lead refill in the United States.

 

About The Buddy Group

The Buddy Group is a West Coast-based digital engagement agency that strategizes, creates, distributes and manages digital content for brands of all sizes. As a full-service agency, The Buddy Group operates at the convergence point of marketing, storytelling and technology for clients such as AARP, Epson, Western Digital, KING’S HAWAIIAN Bread, Pentel of America, EKOCYCLE and YouTube. Learn more at TheBuddyGroup.com and Connected14.com.

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Thanks to you, the Inaugural
Buddy Up! Invitational
was a day to remember!

By all accounts, our first year was a success. But don’t take my word for it. Check out these impressive stats:

  • 6,500 yards of golf
  • 110 energetic players
  • 400 bottles of Tea of a Kind opened by friendly hosts (http://teaofakind.com)
  • 140 burgers as served to perfection by our sponsor, Habit Burger (http://habitburger.com)
  • 4 bags of marshmallows traveling a combined distance of 4.34 miles
  • 361 official photos captured by our sponsor, Brand Affinity Technologies (Download your free photos here)
  • 154 missed putts
  • 45 mulligans purchased (see above)

And the most important number…

We raised $15,000 for The OC Campership Fund!


Watch the recap video on YouTube! 

Plans have already begun for the 2014 Buddy Up! Invitational.

Click here to reserve your spot and ensure you are notified as we get closer to the event.

Again, thank you for helping us to send some well-deserving kids to summer camp!

Pete Deutschman
CEO, The Buddy GroupDonations are tax deductible as permitted by law. Tax ID# 23-7203342

After three days of walking, walking and, oh yeah, walking, it was time to head home. CES 2013 was over, and once again the tech conference did not disappoint.

On our way to the airport I was discussing what I had seen with some colleagues. As usual, there were a whole lot of gadgets and technologies that got us excited, but what really stuck with us were the things that the people around us got excited about. We decided that the only fair way to make a “Best of CES 2013″ list would be to mention the things that we had overheard other people talking about.

So here it is, the list of things we heard other people talking about at CES 2013.

1) “Did you see the NHK 8K TV?” “Yeah, that’s a lot of K’s!”20130113-232654.jpg

2) “Samsung has a 21x optical zoom camera phone! I want it!” (Okay, this one was announced earlier in the year, but it’s still super cool.)

3) “Is that a bendable TV? That’s cool!” Yes. It was a flexible OLED display from Sharp.

4) “You have to try Icepan ice cream at Harrah’s. They flash freeze it right in front of you.” “Try it? I’ve had it six times this week!” Technically this was just in Las Vegas, not at CES but yes, apparently the guy next to me had this amazing milk-and-fruit ice cream six times. I only had it three times, but that’s because I was only at CES for three days. If you can get to Harrah’s I highly recommend it.

See you at CES 2014. Until then, I’ll be dreaming of delicious, 8K, optical zooming, flexible displays. The true future of convergence.

Voice activation. Synchronized devices. Touch interface on every screen. Internet connectivity on the go. Automated telematics. Speech to text. Text to speech. These are some of the features that come up in discussions about the future of the connected living room, but if you step outside you can already find these technologies working side-by-side in the largest mobile device you own: your car.

For all the hype about how we can connect at home, it’s easy to overlook the connectivity that already exists for cars. Systems like GM’s OnStar have been making automated emergency calls for years. These telematics systems have now evolved beyond emergency services to help automate phone calls, provide social media access and stream internet radio. Kia’s UVO with eServices is one such infotainment system that boasts the elimination of monthly fees by utilizing the driver (or passenger’s) mobile device for voice and data connectivity. The victory is in the system’s ability to integrate with devices for this purpose.

Kia UVO display at CES 2013

Speech-to-text is another feature of connected living rooms that has generated a lot of buzz and speculation. Ford’s Sync and similar vehicular technologies already provide all of the basic vocal automations that would be needed for a hands-free home media experience. Cars are the perfect venue to develop this technology because unlike watching Netflix at home, lives are on the line out on the road.

“We place a focus on safety first,” said Chrysler’s Scott Brown at the uConnect booth, “but that doesn’t mean that you should have to leave the connected experience behind when you leave the house.” Drivers may not be watching movies on their in-dash screens, but the car has long been the domain of audio content, and streaming music services are starting to muscle their way in to compete with radio. This year at CES, uConnect announced special mobile versions of apps for Pandora, iHeartRadio and other Internet radio services designed to “deliver the same information but modified to work safely in the car,” said Sue Frederick, also from Chrysler, “the app has to not get in the way.”

Kenwood is bringing similar offerings to the automotive aftermarket with their “Live Connected. Drive Connected.” line of products. Features include social media connectivity, speech-to-text and vehicular information feedback.

Kenwood at CES 2013. Live connected. Drive connected.

All of these technologies mean that you can finally pull out of your garage and say something like, “Open Pandora and play my Road Trip station, then take me to The Buddy Group in Irvine, CA and set me an appointment to talk about a long-term digital marketing strategy for the release of my new product. Now tweet: Can’t wait to see my Buddies. #buddyup.”

Drivers have very specific, safety-driven needs when it comes to device interactivity. Over the next few years, people who buy new and recently-used cars will be introduced to technologies that address these needs, which may help fuel desire for similar integration with home entertainment systems. Until then, you’ll just have to enjoy the future of your living room from the comfort of your car.

 

 

Connected devices are more mobile than ever. Laptops are turning into tablets. Smart phones have become handheld Internet access points. Wireless speeds are continually improving. Improved battery technology means devices can work for longer periods of time without needing a wall tether. The pieces are all in place to achieve the fabled “connected living room”, but connecting our devices with our living rooms still isn’t a seamless experience. What’s missing? As it turns out, there are three things to accomplish before we can truly live a connected life.

1) A True Universal Standard

The biggest roadblock to the connected living room is the ability to have any two devices communicate with each other with a minimum of human intervention. The connected home won’t be a “must have” until a person can walk into a friend’s house and share a video on the living room TV or play music through the house sound system without needing a special set of instructions.

Belkin showed off an extensive array of connected-home technologies. Andrew Hoang, Product Marketing Manager for Belkin said that their solution for streaming media from devices to Smart TVs is based on DLNA standards, which is important for “doing what I want, where I want, when I want,” and went on to point out that they’ve taken strides to “make complicated processes easy by using html5,” for their router setup pages so that they display effectively on any device, not just PCs. This is a step in the right direction.

2) A Reason to Change

If there isn’t inherent value to the consumer they will be reluctant to adopt a new technology. You and I may already have a fully connected living room, but what about all of our non-tech friends and relatives? Do they really need a Smart TV and the ability to interact with content? Maybe not. Qualcomm is taking steps to change this attitude by exploring new applications of connected technology.

In collaboration with Sesame Workshop, Qualcomm presented “Abby’s Fairy Rock”, a proof-of-concept demo that enables true interaction between tablets and Smart TVs. In order to get this technology to work, “You need powerful processors that enable the technology, and you also need to design content that works between connected devices,” said Brian Vogelsang, Director, Product Management Snapdragon Ecosystem for Qualcomm. If “Abby’s Fairy Rock” is any indication of what’s coming then consumers might soon be presented with a much stronger reason to want to connect all their devices.

Possibly the most important element still missing from the connected ecosystem is

3) A Call to Arms

This is the intangible “cool factor” that always precedes any major technology shift. Napster made it easy and attractive for consumers to share music online, which helped create the online music culture. Apple’s iPod and iPhone were the much-hyped mp3 players that many people who had previously ignored digital music players just suddenly “had to have,” and led the shift to widespread digital music consumption. In order to get our non-tech friends to embrace the connected living room, there needs to be a mass-market “cool” product that wins them over.

In Smart TV, Sony is offering TV SideView as a system that “lets you control BRAVIA from your VAIO”. Newer services like this will both compete and interact with veteran offerings from Apple, Google and WD, all of which are popular devices, but none of which have hit any kind of critical mass just yet.

One last thought. Belkin built a five-room layout at CES to display their WeMo technology as the core system of a connected household. With WeMo, an assortment of wall plug adapters enable remote access to almost any appliance for remote operation, on/off control and even video monitoring. For me, the system evokes memories of the computer setup in Electric Dreams, the 1984 rom-com about a digital-age love triangle between a girl, a boy and his computer. Anyone else remember that one? Just me?

What do you think? Are we finally ready for connected living? Leave a comment and let us know what missing links you think I might have missed.

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