Can’t Buy Me Tumblr

Anyone who’s seen Can’t Buy Me Love starring a pre-heart throb Patrick Dempsey knows that you don’t become cool overnight by exchanging money with the high school cheerleader to date you until your classmates see what an awesome dude you are. Well…everyone but Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer.


For Yahoo, the pathway to instant street cred is Tumblr, and Mayer is making a bet that a 1.1 billion dollar acquisition of the popular social blogging service will move Yahoo from increasing irrelevance to a starring role on Grey’s Anatomy. How will they monetize it? Are Tumblr sites even appealing to advertisers? Will the Tumblrers revolt? Will Tumblr be relevant in a year or two (remember other misspelled Yahoo acquisition Flickr…me neither)?

There are more questions than answers, and who knows if the move will help make over the aging Internet giant. But you at least have to hand it to Mayer for making a bold move instead of deferring to the Googles, Twitters and Facebooks of the world. She took a chance and like Wayne Gretsky famously said, “You miss 100% of the shots you never take.”

Also, it’s worth pointing out what any child of the 80’s who has an appreciation for cheesy teen romcom’s will remember — that while Dempsey’s Ronald Miller character was pretty much hated by all his peers for a little while, his reputation did rebound and he got the girl in the end.

Maybe Yahoo’s bold move will be rewarded too.

Evan Harris
Group Director, Client Services and Fan of Obscure 80’s Movies

The Old Yahoo

The Old Yahoo

New Yahoo?

New Yahoo?


Making the Sunscreen Grade

image003Did you know many US schools have rules and restrictions around the usage of sunscreen? If not, you’re not alone.  According a survey conducted by ORC International on behalf of Merck Consumer Care (March, 2013), nearly two-thirds of Americans do not know about these restrictions, which are in place because sunscreen is an over-the-counter drug.

Coppertone® is reacting to these findings by sponsoring a parent education program.  This spring Kaleidoscope is distributing 500,000 custom publications to parents of elementary school children for Coppertone.  The “Making the Sunscreen Grade” publication features information about how parents can help children develop lifelong sun safety habits, including those that protect them from the sun during the school day.

Visit for more tips like these:

  • Get the facts – Ask your school administrator for more information on your district’s policy around sunscreen and what (if any) sun protection methods are permitted.  Policies can differ, so you may want to ask if sunscreen, hats or sunglasses are allowed during outdoor activities and if any permission is necessary.
  • Take action – Some schools only allow sunscreen usage with written permission from a child’s parent and/or physician.  Ask your school administrator and/or your child’s pediatrician for guidance and make sure to get a doctor’s note, if necessary.  You can work with your school to craft a sunscreen-reapplication program, keeping in mind that sunscreen must be kept out of the reach of children.
  • Be prepared – Sun sense begins at home.  Dress your kids in sun-protective clothing and make sunscreen application part of your morning ritual before your kids go outside and go to school.
  • Talk to your kids – Remind your kids to practice sun-savvy behaviors at school, such as seeking shade and drinking plenty of water during recess and other outdoor activities.
  • Stay connected – Creating a sun-smart school environment should include partnering with parents, teachers, school nurses, and administrators.  In some cases, simply initiating a conversation to learn more about sun protection may remind others of its importance.  Consider it a potential topic for your next PTA meeting.

Summer is almost here – so please be sun safe!

Caroline Adami is VP, Client Services for Kaleidoscope

“Hidden” message may save lives

If you follow the Kaleidoscope Twitter feed (and I think you should – @KaleidoscopeYFM) or read things on the Internet ever, you may have seen this cool ad already. Whether or not you’ve seen this, I thought it was worthy of a second look:

The creators of this outdoor ad placed a “hidden” message within it that only kids (or people under 4 feet tall) can see. Using lenticular “technology” (a.k.a. the same technology that made a bookmark I had in 4th grade look like butterfly wings were moving), they essentially created two ads with two different messages – an anti-abuse message for adults (or people over 4 feet tall) and a help-line message to children who may be victims of abuse.

While there may be some inherent flaws in the execution (for instance, how does a kid know that the adult they are standing next to, possibly their abuser, isn’t seeing the same thing), it shows an understanding that there are some very real differences that need to be acknowledged when communicating to kids and/or adults – even something as simple as their height.

This is usually the time when I say something snarky, but not today. No snark. Just a cool ad and a hat tip to the folks who created it.

– Anne Polito, Director, Client Services

Have you thanked a teacher today?

Heads up – next week is Teacher Appreciation Week (May 6 – 10, the NEA officially designates Tuesday, May 7 as National Teacher Day)! Time to thank a teacher! Since my mom is a 30-year teacher, every week was teacher appreciation week in our family (my mom saw to it!), but for most people it’s a once-a-year time to celebrate the special teachers in their lives.

Despite a lack of recognition or resources from corporate America, parent/teacher groups have led the charge in celebrating teachers. But now, thanks to the wonderful (and overwhelming, scary, perfectionist) world of Pinterest, anyone can whip up their own custom-made crayon wreath or crayon monogram with DIY frame. No seriously.

But what do teachers really want? Silly? Indulgent? Free products? Hand-made crafts and cards? We went straight to the source (Kaleidoscope’s network of K-12 educators and administrators) to see what teachers have to say about their special week…

  • When asked what they hope to receive for Teacher Appreciation Week this year, 63% say “anything!” will do, followed by free food/lunch (12%) and gift cards (11%).
  • Sadly, nearly 1 in 5 teachers (18%) report they “rarely” or “never” get anything for Teacher Appreciation Week
  • The best gifts, as reported by teachers, were overwhelmingly:
    • Personal notes/cards from students
    • Gift cards
    • Scrapbook/photo albums
    • Anything!
  • Coffee mugs are by far the least favorite of all gifts (one teacher summed it up simply with “too many!”) but when asked what the worst/silliest gift they’ve ever received, there were some doozies…
    • Used perfume
    • Used lipstick
    • Re-gifted earrings from another teacher
    • A bra – “the wrong size even!”
    • Oh yeah, and “a bouquet of pencils” (note to self: unpin that idea)
  • In the end, teachers agree it’s the thought that counts and there is no wrong gift
    • “I’ve never received anything I didn’t appreciate!”
    • “No gift is silly when it come from the kids.”
    • “During this time of year there is no worst gift.”

Which begs the question, if parent/teacher groups and Pinterest can recognize what an important time of year it is, why aren’t brands? There are plenty of companies who could win a lot of points in the hearts (and wallets) of teachers, if they showed a little recognition and appreciation. Maybe just not a bra company…

– Anne Polito, director of Client Services (who still gets “the teacher look” from her mom) 

My marketing strategy…brains or luck?

It was with a heavy heart that I watched the news unfold from the Boston Marathon. Seeing tweet after tweet, and article after article as different reports came in – I eventually had to turn off the computer and step away.  I’ve been a runner for over six years, but a believer in the good of human nature and spirit for much longer. And no, this post won’t be about my thoughts of what happened that day, but it’s about what I decided to do after it & how I made it happen.

The morning after the marathon, I woke up and emailed a close group of running buddies to join me for an informal run the following Sunday morning to honor the victims. I suggested we wear our favorite race shirts to show solidarity with those who didn’t get to cross the finish line, and I threw out the idea of making a monetary donation somewhere or collecting something to donate, but didn’t provide specifics. A few people wrote me back and said they would definitely be there and that they liked the idea and symbolism of doing a group run that morning. The response wasn’t huge, but it was enough for me to block that time off on my calendar.

Since some of my closest running friends are active on Twitter I decided to quickly post a tweet asking others if they wanted to join in and I really didn’t give it much thought after that.  Cut to eight hours later: I was scheduled for an interview with two local news stations, emails from excited participants were pouring in, and it just kept growing from there. You can read all about our run here, here, here, and here. It was an incredibly beautiful morning as close to 700 Charlestonians gathered together to run for Boston.Image

How did it get so big? At first glance the concept of spreading the word via social media seems so simple, but when I thought about how I promoted my small idea, and that small idea was adopted and spread by so many others until it took on a life of its own, I realized I had established branding, marketing strategy and execution techniques that made the run such a success – and I hadn’t even realized it! My marketing gears were turning from that Tuesday morning up until my last interview after the run on Monday afternoon.

All good things start with a big idea. No campaign should run without a main goal or objectives. My goal was to get people to run to honor the Boston marathon. I wanted to show Boston that the Charleston community is behind them and that we are all “gonna keep on running.”  Next, I asked for help. Social media only works if you ask others to help you. Information doesn’t spread on its own, it travels faster with friends. (Huge shout out to the Low country Road Runners here for assisting me with this item.) Then I had to keep it going. Each new day I posted messages to my Twitter feed with updates about the run as they developed, and simply thanked people for sharing it with their friends and asked them to keep spreading the message. (You will be surprised how much help and support you receive if you ask politely and remember to say “thank you”.) The last thing to think about for a successful social campaign is customization – what makes your cause stand out? We chose a simple hashtag: #chsrunsforboston – it was easy to share, made it easy for Twitter users to find information about the run, and became our rallying cry to unite together.

And unite we did. Perhaps it was my marketing brain, perhaps I just got lucky (a little bit of both?) but that day, I could feel the crowd’s positive energy and my spirits lifted.

Adrienne Levy is an account executive, runner, social media believer & cause marketing lover.

What First Lady Michelle Obama Told Me: “We need more brands to get involved in marketing healthy food options.”

A highlight of my career to date occurred in March 2013 – I met the First Lady of the United States and talked about health and wellness for kids and families.

Meeting First Lady Michelle Obama - a bit fuzzy but you get the gist...

Meeting First Lady Michelle Obama – a bit fuzzy but you get the gist…

Kaleidoscope Youth & Family Marketing was invited to speak at the annual Partnership for a Healthier America summit in Washington, D.C., for which the First Lady is the honorary chair and was the closing keynote. Naturally, there’s a direct tie to Let’s Move.

Among many other takeaways, the First Lady issued a challenge to brands to step up and educate families (both kids and parents) about being healthy.

So what does “getting involved in marketing healthy food options” mean? Well, to the First Lady it means:

• Examine your product offerings and see where you can make healthy adjustments or additions.
• Get the word out to families about your healthy options!
• Consider creative ways to compel families (both parents and kids) to try new foods and new recipes to make healthy eating fun and easy.

Her challenge to food brands is one that fuels us everyday at Kaleidoscope – and a great example of why I’m in this business. There’s so much that can be done by brands to make families take action for their health. We are proud to be part of the solutions.

Erin Watson is VP of Marketing and Communications at Kaleidoscope. 

Push-Up & Up Charleston 2013

This past Saturday, April 13th, was the second annual Push-Up & Up Challenge Charleston! This event isn’t your average marathon or race because families, college students, and co-workers are all able to participate as a team, doing push-ups to raise money for dropout prevention programs.  Working with Push-Up & Up as an intern this year has showed me the value of education and demonstrated the importance of healthy living. Being a proud New Jersey-ian, I was completely unaware of the South Carolina high school dropout epidemic. 1 out of every 3 students in South Carolina will not graduate high school. This calls for some reinforcements.

The money raised by Push-Up & Up goes directly to Communities in Schools (CIS). CIS is an extremely successful dropout prevention program and its efforts change the lives of 1.25 million children per year. Specifically in Charleston, CIS reaches over 10,000 students in 23 different schools.

People may ask what high school dropouts and push-ups have to with one another? Push-Up & Up uses creativity to tackle two major crises that are prevalent today. The first crisis is the unfortunate high school dropout rate. The second is unhealthy habits in young people. Push-Up teaches children the fundamentals of goal setting and achieving. The best part of working with Push-Up this year was this Saturday’s event. Watching the students cheer each other on and be proud of their accomplishment was rewarding. I see great success in the future for Push-Up & Up!

Devon Schmolk is an intern for Push-Up & Up and a Junior Communication Major at College of Charleston.