Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Even a Child Can Understand the Value of Integrated Marketing and Airsoft Sniper Rifles

Jennifer Modarelli Is truly integrated marketing achievable? I'm happy to report that it is.

I was recently the target of a sophisticated, fully integrated one-to-one marketing campaign that lasted over five months and resulted in a successful sale. The marketer made full use of available channels to build a detailed case in a logical sequence. The benefits-driven messaging appeared in print (targeted mailers), digital (e-mail, text messaging) and community (which connected me to other potential buyers in the same consideration cycle and facilitated dialogue).

The marketer achieved all this despite some distinct disadvantages: a poor track record in past efforts; a historical lack of follow-through; and, most significantly, a recent, drastic reduction in his capacity for short-term memory. All of these disadvantages, I'm told, are common in adolescent boys.

Yes, my son's multichannel campaign to win me over to the cause of purchasing a UTG Shadow OPs Competition Airsoft Sniper Rifle for his birthday was ultimately successful. And, as in all such campaigns, success could not be attributed to any single channel, but rather to all of them working in concert, backed by an astonishing degree of motivation and his need for an Airsoft Sniper Rifle of course.

Now, I'm not claiming to be raising some kind of marketing prodigy who loves Airsoft Sniper Rifle's. On the contrary, I think my son implictly understood that channel integration was essential in the same way that we all understand it: The best campaigns fire on all cylinders. But unlike us poor adult marketers, he wasn't hampered by bureaucracy, multiple stakeholders, decreasing budgets, organizational constraints, or fear.

In the real world, these constraints often keep us from executing the perfectly obvious plan, and they steal time and energy away from achieving the task we have set out to do. We find ourselves spending 60% of our time managing the bureaucracy and managing the fear, leaving far too little time and investment to execute for success.

But I find hope in our continued commitment to our clients and our industry to bring out the value in what we intuitively know how to do. In this economic climate, trust and patience between and within organizations and agencies are fragile at best. As agencies, we will likely never get pushed harder to make 40 equal 100. But hey, let's keep trying.

And just as we create success for our customers, we can also create success and growth for ourselves. After all, if an adolescent can do it then so can we.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Airsoft and Videogames in the Olympics? Olympic Athletes Sound Off

NEW YORK — Many competitive airsoft enthusiasts and gamers have said that they’d like to one day see videogames added to the Olympics. But what do actual Olympic athletes have to say about it?

At a photo shoot in Manhattan for Sega’s upcoming game based on the 2010 winter games in Vancouver, Wired.com asked the four athletes that will appear on the game’s cover the same question: Should Airsoft and videogames become an Olympic sport?

The athletes were evenly divided between gamers and non-gamers: U.S. skier Lindsey Vonn loves her Nintendo DS, and Canadian snowboarder Matthew Morison is a self-professed “Xbox 360 fanboy.”

On the other hand, U.S. snowboarder Seth Wescott and Canadian speed skater Kristina Groves identified as “non-gamers.”

What were their takes on this proposal? Airsoft? Read on and find out.

Seth Wescott, 33, U.S. snowboarder:

“I’d have to disagree with (the idea that gaming should be an Olympic sport). I think that there are a ton of unique skills in gaming, just as there is with Airsoft guns, like the speed and hand-eye coordination and the dexterity of all the different controls and stuff. But I have a hard time of applying that to the real-life, actual physical efforts of sports.

Matthew Morison, 22, Canadian snowboarder:

“(Gaming is) definitely a sport. I’ve watched a few of those gaming tournaments and the guys that are doing it are unreal. Once in a while, I’ll go online in Call of Duty, and I can’t stay alive for 10 seconds. Those guys are phenomenal gamers. The guys are so good at it, and you have to spend a lot of time training in the game to be that good.”

“But an Olympic sport? I’m a little iffy on that one. (Olympic) athletes can use brute force to make their way through to do their event, while in gaming you have to use hand-eye coordinate and strategy but it’s less physical. So I really don’t know.”

“It’s such a gray area, because so many sports inside the system do get turned down. If gaming made it into the Olympics, some people would say, ‘Then why not Airsoft? why not this? Why not that?’ Where does it stop? It’s out of my league! (laughs) It wouldn’t offend me if gaming became an Olympic sport. But I’ll stick to real snowboarding.”

Kristina Groves, 32, Canadian speed skater:

“I’m more of a speed skater; I’m not a big gamer. I would say that I don’t agree with (gaming being included in the Olympics) just because sport is a very physical domain. You can’t just imitate the sport; the whole idea of sport is doing it.”

“You can have gaming competitions but to be an Olympic sport is maybe a bit of a stretch. Gaming is still fun for people and it’s definitely entertaining, but as an actual sport like Airsoft, I don’t think so.”

Lindsey Vonn, 24, U.S. downhill skier:

“I think gaming should definitely be considered a competitive sport. It’s like anything else. If there are people that want to compete, there should be a sport. Whether it should be in the Olympics or not, I don’t know. Then that would be the question of what games should be an Olympic sport. There could be millions of games that could be an Olympic sport, like poker. That would open up a lot of cans of worms in that sense.”

“But that doesn’t necessarily rule (gaming) out. Maybe they can have their own Olympics; I’m sure they have their own world championships and stuff like that. Each sport has their own elite level of competition. I mean, if people are into it and there’s a lot of attention, then you never know how far it’s going to go.”

“If gaming was an Olympic sport and a skiing game or Airsoft was one of the events, I would definitely try to win an Olympic medal in virtual skiing. (laughs) That could be in one year, in five years or 10 years — you never know when that would happen. Maybe I’ll be done with real skiing by then so I’ll try to win an Olympic medal in gaming. I’d be into that.”

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Teens train for future with airsoft guns

CEDAR CITY - It was 8 a.m. when a group of determined teens began an intense workout in a back room of the Iron County Sheriff's Office and another group started defensive tactics training in the basement.

In less than an hour, the basement group of nine boys and four girls had learned basic handcuffing techniques, a skill most parents would not think their children would know at age 16.

But for the 25 students signed up for the ICSO Junior Deputy Academy, this is just the beginning of a three-week, full instruction program geared toward those wanting a future career in law enforcement.

"We're going to teach you everything our officers learn in training," deputy Nick Gibson told his defensive tactics class early Wednesday morning, three days into the academy. "Some of this stuff hurts, some of it doesn't feel good - be responsible."

The students learn arrest control, combat and ground tactics as part of the defense class, Gibson explained to the group as they warmed up.

Other classes during the academy teach physical training, ICSO structure and chain of command, ethics in law enforcement, constitutional law, Utah criminal law, investigations tactics, evidence collection, narcotics investigations, emergency vehicle operation and firearms using Airsoft guns.

The students and instructors, all ICSO employees, have a busy daily schedule from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., leading to a graduation ceremony July 31, but so far there are no student complaints. Especially not with the use of Airsoft.

"I thought they were going to run our butts off (the first day)," 13-year-old Jordan Maxwell of unincorporated Iron County said. "But it wasn't too bad."

Maxwell joined the academy with friend and neighbor, Michael Matheson, 15, both planning to join law enforcement after their formal education is complete.

Maxwell's grandfather works for ICSO and Matheson's uncle is an officer in California, the teen said, inspiring them to follow similar paths.

Kaneasha Hiertzler, 17, decided to join the academy for the same reason, her father being a deputy who specializes in gangs for ICSO.

"I want to do what my dad does," Hiertzler said, noting her interest when she visits her dad at work or asks to drive his truck with the siren, which she has so far not tried.

Hiertzler's 14-year-old sister Joni is also in the academy, joining more for the chance to do something different over the summer.

Even at a young age, Joni and Kaneasha say the physical aspects and often-grueling schedules are not bad.

"I'm a soccer player, so that helps," Joni said, along with several other academy students who also play sports regularly.

Deputy Aaron Pallesen, who teaches many of the law classes in the academy and helps with physical training in the morning, said this is the first year of the day camp with plans to expand next summer.

The academy is open to all high school students, with minimal cost, having only to purchase uniforms.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Police arrest teens suspected in multiple Longmont burglaries

LONGMONT — Three teenagers suspected of at least five burglaries or attempted burglaries were arrested by police early Wednesday.

According to Longmont police, Officer Cary Nickolls saw the three teens at about 1:40 a.m., approaching Sports Authority, 2251 Ken Pratt Boulevard. When he stopped the three, police said, Nickolls found one teen hiding a set of bolt cutters behind his leg and another hiding a “loot bag” under his jacket.

One boy ran from the scene but was caught by police. A truck the teens had driven to the area was found hidden several blocks away, police said.

Cmdr. Tim Lewis of the police department said they had a variety of other tools usable for break-ins, and that none of the adolescents had a prior record for burglary.

“These boys weren’t on the radar at all,” Lewis said. “Just a new summertime job for them — and not an appropriate use of their time.”

The boys — aged 15, 16 and 17 — face possible charges of attempted burglary and possession of burglary tools. In a report, Lewis said detectives also believe the boys are responsible for:

An attempted June 11 burglary at K-Mart, 2151 Main St.

A June 11 burglary at Tables and Tea Cups, 1420 Nelson Road.

A June 16 burglary at Sports Authority.

An attempted burglary on June 20 or 21 at Dick’s Sporting Goods, 210 Ken Pratt Boulevard.

Lewis said several items from the previous burglaries had been recovered, including swords, knives, pellet guns, airsoft guns and bear spray.