Saturday, August 30, 2008

866-825-4573: Just Ignore this Number

This past week, my caller ID has shown the number 866-825-4573 calling my house during the day on three different occasions. One time I was home and picked up and it was just loud classical music playing. After doing a Google search for that phone number I found that scads of other annoyed people have had these calls come in as well. They wrote that sometimes there was silence on the other end, and sometimes idiots babbled on the other end.

So if you get this number calling you, I'd suggest just ignoring it. Unless you want to fall into their trap and call them back or answer the phone and deal with inane calls every few days. I really have no idea who would waste their short time on this planet by doing such nonsense, but hey, to each his own I guess. No sense in wasting your own precious time in dealing with these losers!

Monday, August 18, 2008

TD Bank Branding: Zero Interest

I realize that trying to brand and market a bank can be quite unexhilarating. But it'd be nice to at least see an attempt to do so by the folks at the newly named "TD Bank"... the name that resulted from the merger of Commerce Bank and TD Banknorth. (Side note: the name in itself is a total bust since Commerce Bank had such a large following in the regions where it has grown. Instead of going with TD Commerce Bank as was originally planned, the bank meekly folded in the wake of a small lawsuit that should have been inconsequential. Now they're stuck with the very nondescript name of TD Bank. I digress.)

Truth be told, I'm a longtime Commerce customer, and yes, it is a bit of a downer to see Commerce lose it's identity in such a manner, but that's just the way of the world. Not something I'll lose sleep over.

But to add to the fact that they've chosen a name with zero pep, they also have partnered it with a clarifying slogan of sorts that attracts zero interest:

TD Bank: "A brand is more than a name..."

Yes, that's literally what it says when I log onto pay my bills. "A brand is more than a name..."

Ok, I realize that this is not their REAL, everyday slogan, but it just seemed like such a weak attempt to generate clicks on the particular page where I saw it. It's like saying:

"A blog post is more than a headline..."

Thank you, Captain Obvious.

Monday, August 11, 2008

More Trashing of the Environment?

Sometimes I just don't get it. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" apparently doesn't ring true with certain national leaders any more.

The Endangered Species Act has helped bring back animals from the brink of extinction and all of the sudden a certain administration wants to go and throw it out the window. Check out this article for more information.

While some of the arguments in the article make some sense, I really just have no trust or faith in the current administration to do virtually anything that benefits the public, and I don't see how changing the Endangered Species Act really helps us in general. Sure, businesses and industries might benefit, as is stated in this quote in the article:

In recent years... some federal agencies and private developers have complained that the process (of conducting reviews before construction projects) results in delays and increased construction costs

Sorry guys about the delays, but I think that's inevitable in the construction world regardless of animals, but let's not forget the long term... I hope the people behind this law change understand the consequences on their actions on future generations. I truly fear for what our kids and grandkids will encounter in years to come and hope that we can be better stewards of this world. On the one hand I feel as though we've made progress with the attention on all things "green", but on the other hand I wonder if we're really in it full throttle when I read news like this.

Now let's see what else we can break...

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Virtual Wallet Update

Last night I ranted about how PNC introduced its new banking product called Virtual Wallet via a TV commercial blitz but failed to have any connecting search results on Google.

Just out of curiousity, I went back to Google just now and guess what? The top (and only) sponsored link is for PNC's Virtual Wallet, and it looks like they have developed a landing site for the product. This landing site still does not show up in organic results however. And if you go to this landing site, you'll also find that it doesn't have the same setup as PNC's regular site, which may confuse some people.

Let's see how this marketing plan plays out...

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Virtual Wallet: Virtual Marketing Flop

A few months ago an acquaintace of mine who works at a PNC Bank branch tipped me off to a new service that PNC would be offering this summer. She dubbed it "Virtual Wallet". It sounded like a nifty tool when she explained it, which allows people to easily and instantly transfer money back and forth between various personal accounts. Good idea, though quite frankly after a while I forgot about it.

Until yesterday. I saw a commercial (two actually) for PNC's Virtual Wallet. I suppose this is their big summer product launch.

So after seeing the commercial, just out of curiousity, I went online to look up Virtual Wallet on Google. And whadya know-- no relevant results! How does that happen? In fact all of the results for Virtual Wallet were so weak they weren't even remotely connected to PNC. If that were me I would have made sure to have paid search and organic search all lined up before this launch. Even if it leads to informational pages announcing that the service would be coming soon. Instead, it led me to a virtual dead zone in terms of sales and marketing. I was a curious prospective client but couldn't find virtually anything on the subject. As they say on the baseball diamond-- "whiff".

So after that I went to PNC Bank's site and nowhere on their site could I find anything about Virtual Wallet, even when doing a search on their own site. Whiff again.

Maybe I'm missing something here. Maybe it's supposed to be a teaser. But it sure seems to me like the Virtual Wallet marketing campaign is not on the money...

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Cat Toys: Cheaper is Better

Anybody who has seen a young baby open presents know that oftentimes the tyke's favorite gift is that of bubblewrap, a box, or a bow. Well the same goes for cats.

I don't know why cat owners buy fancy toys for cats. I've fallen into that trap with my cat, but never again! I'll save my money for other more important items in life.

To wit, my cat's top 4 toys are:

1. An old shoelace
2. A twisty tie
3. A ping pong ball
4. A black plastic piece that fell off of my desk chair

Total cost for each of these items (estimated): 18 cents.

Total cost for a menagerie of stuffed mice, birds, and other such creatures (estimated): 18 bucks or more.

So to all feline fans, forget your fivers, just grab some trinkets and your cat will be thrilled.

Oh, and just as an aside, that's a picture of my cat pawing and playing with a small bug. Talk about a cheap date!