Facebook News Feed Redesign and Why It Matters

There is always something to dislike about Facebook. The mobile experience needs serious improvement, the current news feed is convoluted and many teens no longer think it’s cool, to name a few. As Zuckerberg and company roll out their updated news feed in the coming weeks, however, it’s worth noting that the redesign takes a cue from Pinterest and Instagram (which Facebook owns). The experience will focus on larger visuals; images and links will be prominent and front and center.

Campers In Line For Brightwater Release

With 2012 and January 2013 real estate data coming in, we have been cautiously optimistic about what has been going on in the Southern California market. Foreclosures are down, prices are going up and inventory is low. This trifecta in our post Great Recession world should create demand, however even we weren’t prepared for what has been happening at Woodbridge Pacific Group’s Brightwater Huntington Beach this week.

Valentine’s Day

The National Retail Federation predicts that Valentine’s Day spending will top $18.6 billion this year, so naturally businesses want to cash in on this holiday with which so many have a love/hate relationship. While the jury’s still out on how much advertisers will spend in total, it will be a hefty sum, especially after factoring in social media campaigns.

Here are a few Valentine-related links that have caught my attention:

I am intrigued by a few of these vintage Valentine’s Day print ads and posters.

Ads of the World provides a fun ‘best of’ compilation.

App developers also want their piece of the holiday revenue pie.

I am obsessed with candy hearts. Learn more about their history here.

And for those who prefer social media as a vehicle to express your love and affection, take note: only 1.7% of people think it is the most romantic way to say ‘I love you.’

Happy Valentine’s Day!


Swipp It, Swipp It Good

So I’ve just started Swipping. Yes, Swipping.

Launched this week, Swipp is a social platform that allows you to find out what the world thinks about anything at any given moment. Kind of like Yelp, Swipp is a rating system that provides you with an opportunity to provide your opinion on anything: from your thoughts about the U.S. Congress to Lady Gaga, from McDonald’s to that new restaurant you tried last week, it’s all fair game on Swipp.

The platform is structured around topics instead of people, however you can easily see what your friends are Swipping. Using the ‘explore’ feature on the dashboard, you can see what topics are trending now all over the world. Even better, and appealing to the data dork in me, you can expand each topic to view if your friends Swipped it, its current Swipp score, lifetime Swipp score, Swipp score by male/female and Swipp score throughout regions of the world.perbandingan smartphone

Once enough people start using it, I can see how Swipp could be another tool marketers use to take a temperature check of their companies’ brand or products across the social web. Right now, it’s just fun.


New Year’s Resolutions

We are just over a week into 2013. Are you sticking to your New Year’s resolutions? Statistics tell us that 36 percent of us don’t make it past the first month, 54 percent past six months. With deflating numbers like that, it’s a wonder 45 percent of us even bother making them at all.

New Year’s resolutions have a long history. Some of the earliest known resolutions were made by the Romans as promises to their god, Janus, for whom the month of January had been named. Appropriately, Janus had two faces: one looked back to past for reflection, the other ahead toward the future.

Still, you would think we could break with tradition given our lackluster follow through. For many of us, however, a new year and its possibilities are too irresistible to ignore. A new year represents a blank canvas, a clean slate, an ‘out with the old, in with the new’ attitude that inspires us to do better and be better. Even artists and cultural icons are not immune to the promise a new year brings. The Atlantic compiled some interesting resolutions by notables here. The most popular for 2012 come as no surprise. You can review the usual suspects, in addition to statistics, here.

We hope that 2013 is a good one for you, wherever your resolutions and adventures take you.

New Year's Resolution generator by Monina Velarde

New Year's Resolution generator by Monina Velarde

Happy New Year from the ROX Family

As we look back at 2012 and ahead toward 2013, we hear and see a lot of talk about uncertainty in the economy, politics and foreign affairs, to name a few. Yes, many things do remain uncertain as 2012 comes to a close, however we are also seeing many positive things. Most notably, in our industry, more builders are building and buyers are buying. It is still too early to determine a consistent trend, but it is a good thing for our industry and economy.

With that in mind, we offer a heartfelt ‘thank you’ to our clients. They provide us with the distinct privilege of crafting and sharing the stories of their new home communities. Our collective teamwork and passion made 2012 a year we will never forget.

We couldn’t be more excited for what 2013 brings, and we wish you all a healthy and prosperous new year.

Brightwater Huntington Beach

We are excited to be working with Woodbridge Pacific Group on Brightwater, a planned community in Huntington Beach. Located a few short blocks from Pacific Coast Highway, Brightwater is a gem, offering new beach-close homes, many with unobstructed views of the coast and Bolsa Chica Wetlands. Pricing has not been announced but is expected to start in the $800,000s, ranging to over $2 million.
When Woodbridge Pacific Group enlisted the ROX Team in early 2012, Brightwater was a recognizable brand with existing homes for sale. Our F.A.C.E. approach respected that brand while moving forward in reenergizing this very special community in a gradually-recovering economy. Through F.A.C.E., Woodbridge Pacific Group and ROX worked closely together to develop messaging and a visual landscape that most accurately reflects the luxe yet laid-back beach lifestyle homeowners can expect to experience living there.

Brightwater neighborhoods encompass eleven new floor plan designs. Living spaces will range from approximately 1,992 to 2,685 square feet at Capri; 3,192 to 3,732 square feet at Seaglass; and 3,751 to 4,764 square feet at Azurene. Emphasizing indoor/outdoor living enjoyment and an array of luxury amenities, the homes will provide 3 to 6 bedrooms and 2.5 to 6.5 baths.download film Steve Jobs now

Capri, Seaglass and Azurene sales galleries opened on December 1st, and several hundred people came out to preview home designs, a future community center and clubhouse and to review anticipated pricing and financing options. A model home grand opening is planned for early summer, and we couldn’t be more thrilled to help Woodbridge Pacific Group share the Brightwater story. For more information, visit BrightwaterHB.com.


Favorite Holiday Commercials

‘Tis that time of year again when companies that can still afford it run their holiday television commercials.

From cereal and coffee to technology and beer, we’ve rounded up some of our favorites. There are a couple of classics – think Folgers – as well as some newer commercials, and some are just fun. One is not a holiday commercial at all, however you’ll soon get why we included it.

Happy watching. What are your favorite holiday commercials?

Cheerios ‘Grandma’s Visit’
Remember this one?

Holiday Hershey’s Kisses
So simple, but so fun.

Crazy Target Lady
Comedian Maria Bamford nails it as the insane holiday shopper.

Folgers ‘Peter Comes Home for Christmas’

Nabisco Oreo Cookie ‘Waiting for Santa’
Another 80s classic.

Apple ‘Get a Mac’ Happy Holidays
Mac and PC go for some goodwill during the holidays.

Corona Extra ‘Oh Tannenpalm’
Christmas Corona style. Love.

Staples ‘It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year’
It’s not a holiday commercial at all, but the play on the popular Andy Williams song in their back-to-school campaign is just too good not to include.

Bye Bye Cable, Hello Roku

My family and I are in the middle of moving residences, so I have started setting up utilities in our new home. We really needed to evaluate our media consumption habits because I just did not feel like we were getting our money’s worth from our cable television service. Turns out, I’m not the only one.

According to Parks Associates, the shift from cable and satellite to IPTV (Internet Protocol television) is on the rise. The firm is predicting that IPTV subscribers will increase from 8.8 to 18.6 million by 2017 in the United States alone. I must really be behind the eight ball, because even PBS has published a step-by-step guide on how to cancel cable and stream to your television.

After taking a look at what we watch and when we watch it, I realized cable television just does not make sense for us anymore. Enter Roku, a brilliant piece of hardware that allows you stream programming to your television directly from your internet connection. There are several hardware devices on the market that do this. The PBS article does a good job of explaining each one. Aside from our iPhones, we are not really a Mac family (insert audible gasp), so we decided on the Roku because it is easy to set up, a PC is not needed and there are no additional monthly fees with the exception of our existing subscriptions like Netflix and Hulu Plus. We can also play games, listen to internet radio and enjoy music, photos and videos from our smartphones. Sold yet? live streaming movie Ben-Hur

This is where television consumption is heading. Telecommunications companies see this and are marketing their high-speed broadband services as the market moves from cable and satellite services to IPTV. It will be interesting to see how the market shifts in this direction over the next several years.

Following the Election Ad Money

With election day less than two weeks away, advertising is at a fever pitch. To my friends who live in swing states, it’s time to bust out the TiVo, because you will need it if you are not interested in watching a barrage of political television ads.

Both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney campaigns, super PACs and party affiliates have each raised nearly one billion dollars this election. Think about that for a second. One billion dollars, and that does not include independent outside groups that support each candidate. Putting opinions on campaign finance reform and the Citizens United decision aside, that is a load of cash, and a huge percentage of it is being spent on advertising.

Most of the ad spends have been on television, which is not surprising, as television has long been the darling of political advertising budgets. Political campaigns and supporters favor this machine gun approach, however targeted online advertising has increased during this election cycle, too. Interestingly, several smaller media outlets are refusing to run political ads as part of a pricing dispute with ad exchanges.

We can’t talk about political outreach without talking about social media advertising. Social platforms certainly help spread the campaigns’ talking points and policy positions, however a recent UC Berkeley study indicates that social media advertising, particularly Facebook, has so far proven to be an ineffective medium to persuade someone to vote for a particular candidate. Watch Full Movie Streaming Online and Download

Without a doubt, the next week and a half is sure to be a wild ride from a marketing outreach and advertising perspective. Time to bring out the popcorn and enjoy the show.