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Worst 2010 Super Bowl Ad: The U.S. Census Bureau

February 9th, 2010

There are always high expectations going into the Super Bowl for some pretty entertaining TV ads.  At this year’s rate of $2.5-3 million dollars per 30 second spot, they had better be pretty good in order to resonate with the brand’s target audience and potentially justify the dollar spend.  While a lot of discussion centers around the best Super Bowl ads (we discussed it a lot in my Marketing class today), I think the flops deserve some attention too.  The absolute worst 2010 Super Bowl ad in my opinion (also the opinion of many of my classmates and our professor) has to be the 2010 U.S. Census commercial.

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U.S. Census Bureau 2010 Super Bowl Ad

I know.  I’m confused too.  What the heck is the goal of that ad?  I can’t think that the U.S. Census needs to build its brand.  If they’re trying to get viewers to take some action, I can’t figure out what that action is. The advertisement clearly exhibits a lack of coherent messaging strategy.

It’s bad enough that the government would waste taxpayer money to produce such an ad (which I would expect to be rather expensive), but to choose to run it during the Super Bowl at a cost of $2.5 million dollars?  Pretty frustrating, particularly in such a difficult economic environment and a $14.3 trillion dollar budget deficit.  If you click through to the YouTube video page, you’ll see a few more people that are upset too.

Your Online Presence: Putting Your Best Foot Forward

January 20th, 2010

It’s summer internship interview season here at NYU Stern, and my fellow MBA classmates are roaming the halls looking sharp in their suits with polished résumés in hand.  Everyone has spent countless hours crafting their ‘stories,’ conducting mock interviews, and casing with fellow students.  I’m fortunate to go to school with some exceptional people who I know will do well in this structured recruiting process.  But what about for those of us who are not pursuing the traditional post-MBA routes of investment banking, consulting, or a management role in a large corporation (among others)?

Several students like myself are opting for less structured career paths in fields such as venture capital, startups, or tech companies that may not recruit at NYU (if they formally recruit at all).  While I believe that putting your best foot forward, both offline and online, is important for just about everyone (especially so you don’t end up Facebook fired, dumped or evicted), I would argue that it’s even more so for those of us in the ‘non-traditional’ bucket.  I would expect that people conducting their career search primarily through networking, or applying to jobs cross-country, are even more likely to have someone seek them out online to learn more before deciding whether to accept an introduction, or to pursue a geographically remote job candidate.

Last month Albert Wenger of Union Square Ventures spoke to the NYU Entrepreneur’s Exchange Club about VC and working at startups.  One thing that really struck me is that Union Square Ventures doesn’t really review formal résumés when looking at new analysts/associates – they say “point me to your online presence.” Wow.  That’s partly what got me moving in creating this blog (that I had planned for so long but had never really gotten around to).

Even if other firms aren’t this explicit, you can bet that recruiters or people who are making hiring decisions are Googling you, or looking for you on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube or the myriad of other social media outlets.  Fortunately you have a lot of control over what surfaces on these sites and with a little work, can put your best foot forward with the content that places you in the best light for anyone seeking you out online.

I plan to do a series of follow-up posts highlighting both basic and more advanced tactics on building and shaping your online presence.  Stay tuned.

How to Claim Your Blog in Technorati Using the Claim Token

January 18th, 2010

I just submitted my site to Technorati for inclusion in their blog directory with the hope of gaining some additional link value and visibility.  I wasn’t planning on writing a post about this, but claiming my blog was a bit more confusing than it probably needed to be.  Particularly, the step of implementing Technorati’s claim token – mine is T2CN2GJ5PZUB (you’ll see why that is important later).  Technorati does have a good FAQ on blog claiming, but the last step regarding the claim token was less clear than it needed to be, so here are the steps:

  1. Go to Technorati and log-in or sign-up for an account
  2. Fill out the required fields of your profile information
  3. On your profile, scroll to the bottom of the page to the “My claimed blogs” section and add the URL of your blog
  4. On the next page, fill in all of the required details of your blog and proceed to the next step which leads to a “Blog claimed status” page

The next steps are far less clear on what to do next in order to verify your claimed blog.  You will receive an email that says the following:

Thank you for submitting your blog claim on Technorati. Technorati will need to verify that you are an author of the site by looking for a unique code. We have just assigned the claim token ############ to this claim. Please visit for more details, including how to use the claim token.

Sounds good, so you go back to your account page for more details on how to use the claim token – but wait, when you return to your profile there are no additional details on how to use your claim token.  Unfortunately these things happen in web development… no big deal.

So I turned to Google for “how to use technorati claim token” and found their FAQ on blog claiming (though it would have been useful to include it in the email or account section).

So the last steps are to:

  1. Write a blog post (such as this) and include your 12-digit technorati claim token in the body of the post, near the beginning (hence my code at the top)
  2. Return to your account page, scroll to the bottom, and click the button to “Check Claim”

You should be all set now.  Not the most intriguing post, but hopefully it saves someone a bit of time and confusion down the road.

Welcome To My Blog

January 14th, 2010

Hello.  My name is Brian Rothenberg and this is my blog.  Despite my failed first attempt at blogging, I’m giving it another shot, this time without any commercial intent or ‘expectations.’  I’m sure it will take some time for me to get the hang of things and find my ‘voice,’ but I expect to write about things that interest me.  Some of those things right now are my MBA pursuit, technology, my career search, venture capital, music, exercise, New York City, and anything else that I find interesting. Thanks for stopping by!