Thursday, April 14, 2011

how mobile marketing allows iPhone users to stalk the king... of burgers

In today’s world, everyone’s online. Most major brands have their own websites set up; however, traditional website layouts don’t always translate well when accessed by smart phones. Phone screens are too small, and in order for an brand to save their website content, they must also create a separate mobile site. Mobile web pages have become a major mobile marketing strategies.  Mobile websites are a major mobile marketing strategy because they allow brand to seem accessible to consumers and convey a distinct personality.

Burger King’s mobile page is a great example of how a company can really brand themselves through their mobile web.  Their iPhone website is interactive, informative, relevant to its audience, and distinct to their image

Instead of creating a traditional webpage, Burger King looked at their target market, the things that made their brand unique, and at the technology they had available to them. With that in mind, they created the King’s Phone. The King’s phone is the designed as if you are looking inside the restaurant’s mascot, The King’s personal iPhone. The webpage provides visitors with the usual corporate information, as well as the ability to look at the King’s text messages, personal photos, videos, planner, previous restaurants visited, and be able to call a contact from the phone book.  

The Kings’s Phone is developed strictly for iPhone formats. This is application uses CSS technology, which senses what king of devise is being used to access the server and then delivers the content in the appropriate format. When I logged onto on my blackberry, it took me to some lame mobile website that had minimal content; however, when I logged onto on my roommates iPhone, I was transported to what appeared to be the King’s personal cell. 

The BK mobile page’s main purpose is to make users actually feel as if they have stumbled inside the King’s iPhone. This was strategically done to grasp the interest of the brand’s target audience. Burger King targets adults aged 18 to 34. This is the generation that fostered the facebook stalking epidemic and favors reality shows over scripted sitcoms. This demographic clearly has a strong fascination with knowing a little too much about the lives of real people. In particular, they love hearing about the scandalous life of the rich and famous. The snoopy and celebrity crazed mindset of the target was clearly considered when developing this mobile site. The mobile site allows the users to do their favorite thing – anonymously look into the life of a notorious other. The site positions the King as the coolest celebrity out there. He has pictures of him  partying it up at the coolest events and gets calls and messages begging him to come hang out. It makes it seem like everyone wants to be his friend, and visitor gets to snoop in on all of this.

the king's top secret texts 
I believe Burger King’s mobile page is an extremely effective marketing tool. Not only does the page capture the markets interest, but it also complements the devise used to access it. One major selling feature of the iPhone is all the applications that can be accessed with the phone. The user of the phone clearly has a strong interest in applications, and BK is catering to that need. Burger King’s mobile site seems to be modeled after an app. It’s design and interactivity makes it feel more like an app then a webpage.

I believe that Burger King has successfully used their mobile site as a marketing tool by designing a site that complements the platform its being accessed on and provides content relevant to the to the interests of the intended target audience. Many others also agree.  The mobile page has gotten a lot of praise.  The mobile blog, “We Love Mobile”,  listed the page as part of the “Top 10 Most Beautiful iPhone Sites In The World (That We Didn’t Do)” mainly crediting the fresh take of the mobile page. The site also recently won  Global Mobile Marketing Award for “Best Use of Mobile Marketing in Branding in North America”.
the king of cool 

In conclusion, I would like to say that BK’s fresh take on a mobile webpage is a refreshing and entertaining way to engage audiences through mobile marketing. I loved it, the bloggers loved, and even the critics loved it!

Now excuse me, while I steal my roommates iPhone to go stalk the King some more…

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Ethical and Legal Issues: Is Mark Zuckerberg a Thief? An Analysis of Copyright Infringement in the Fight for Facebook

Many have called Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg a genius. Forbes has recently called him “The World’s Youngest Billionare”; However, Tyler and Cameron Winkelvoss call him a thief.  Here’s why…

In 2003, The Winklevosses (along with business partner/ Harvard classmate, Divya Narenda) approached Mark Zuckerberg about possibly becoming the programmer for their new website, Harvard Connection. Zuckerberg agreed to work on the project; however, this was not his intention. Instead, Zuckeberg ended up building upon the Winklevosses idea and creating While in the process of creating Facebook, Zuckerberg still kept in contact with the Winkelvosses via email and led them to believe that he was still working on their project. Upon finding out this information, and seeing how successful Facebook had become, Harvard Connection sued Zuckerberg for copyright infringement on intellectual property.  

Harvard Connection’s lawsuit against Facebook dealt with an issue of digital property. Digital Property refers to the idea that the law protects intangible or intellectual property. Intellectual property is about seeing who owns an idea. Digital Property protects intellectual property and intangible property through three basic mechanisms. The first is patent law, which is centered on inventions. The second mechanism is copyright, which addresses issues of expression, and the third is Trademark, which is concerned with the words or images used in the market.  The Winkelvosses case is an example of an issue of copyright infringement.

The 1976 Copyright Act states the owner of the copyright has exclusive rights to reproduction, to prepare derivate works, to perform the work publicly, and to distribution.  This act also states that copyright becomes property of the author as soon as the work is finished. The case between Harvard Connection and Facebook is difficult because it deals with stealing an idea. The work was not created already and there was no kind of protection put on the Winklevosses original idea.  The lawsuit would have most likely gone in favor of the Harvard Connection team if they had initially engaged in some kind of intellectual property protection method.

One of the most common methods of intellectual property protection is to take out a license on the idea. Licensing allows the buyer to use the product but restrict duplication or distribution. Since there was no actual product or buyer in this situation, licensing wouldn’t have been a possible intellectual property protection method for the Harvard Connection team. Instead, a more ideal protection method would have been to take a out a patent on the idea. A patent is issued to people who invent things and gives the inventor the right to stop anyone else from making, using or selling whatever is patented.  

Zuckerberg was smarter then the Harvard Connection team. He knew he had to make sure everyone knew Facebook was his idea. Upon creating Facebook he registered the domain name –, and creates a patent for the website. One of my favorite scenes from the film, The Social Network is when the Harvard Connection team sees up and running AND sees that Zuckerberg has essentially licensed the whole website.

Divya: What is that on the bottom of the page?
Cameron: A Mark Zuckerberg Production.

Divya: On the homepage?

Cameron: On every page.
Divya: Shit, I need a second to let the classiness waft over me.

In the end, Zuckerberg had to pay off the Winklevosses; however, I believe it was just to shut them up. The Harvard Connection team didn’t have the best case for copyright infringement. Marketing on the Internet has taught me that there are various things they initially should have done to prevent Zuckerberg from running with their idea and creating Facebook.  If they had put a patent on their idea, or actually created a prototype of the idea, the case for the origin on Facebook would have been much stronger and the Harvard Connection team might have now been the founders of Facebook.

the actual mark zuckerberg standing outside his billion dollar company, FACEBOOK 

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Web 2.0: how MYSPACE can be everyones space

The Web 2.0 era is classified as the second generation of the internet. Web 2.0 companies are focused on allowing people to collaborate and share information online. Social Networking websites are a child of this era. is one of the few companies that made millions of people flock to their computers and turn social networking website into the phenomenon that they are today. Today, when people hear the word MySpace, they think: “wow that was so 2005” or “I wonder if I still have my profile”; however, very few think of the social networking website as a quintessential representation of the Web 2.0 era. The best way to understand MySpace in the eyes of Web. 2.0 is to first provide a historical look and the company and how it became what it is today. was launched in August 2003 by two ex. employees of ( a social networking website many would like to refer to as the grandfather of Like most other social networking websites, MySpace was based around a user’s profile page. The profile page featured a place where users could list their interests, educational information, a personal picture, and a wall, which allowed their cyber space friends could write comments on. Many quickly flocked to because they enjoyed the websites “openness”, and they feeling that they could post on it whatever they want online (Random History, 2008). The website also included music pages, which were pages in which anyone from national bands, local artists, or that random person next door could post music that would be streaming free on the internet for anyone to listen to.

For a while, MySpace was the top dog in the world of social networking websites. In 2008, MySpace would officially be knocked out of it’s position as the market leader by Facebook. In order to gain back their position as a leader in the world of social media, MySpace as gone under a rebranding process. The website, whose slogan used to be “a place for friends”, is now positioning themselves as a music website and goes by the slogan “Social Entertainment”. Many other changes in the company’s original platform have also been made as an attempt to compete with Facebook. Although MySpace is no longer the leader in the world of online social networking, and has made many alterations from their original model, the company can still be used as a great platform to examine the Web 2.0 approach and the principles of Wikinomics

Many Web 2.0 companies either take on a Mass Customization approach or a One to One Marketing Approach. According to the article  “Customization: The Revolution in Mass Customization”, by Jerry Wind and Arvid Rangaswamy, Mass Customization can be defined as “using a flexible process and organization structures to produce varied and often individually customized products and services at the price of standardized mass produced alternatives” (Rangaswamy, Wind, 2001) .  One example the authors provide for this is that the bicycle company Cannondale can provide their clients over 8 million different frame and color variations with their bicycle options.

MySpace does slightly operate on the mass customization approach. The company does this by allowing its users to change how their profile looks. MySpace users can change the color of their profile pages, use different front, and stream millions of different songs on their page. Facebook, MySpace’s main competitor, doesn’t offer the same approach.  For instance, on Facebook, users only have one layout for their profile and everyone’s profile essentially looks the same.

MySpace also uses a One to One Marketing approach. In this approach, “marketing is based upon the idea of an enterprise knowing its customer.  Through interactions with that customer, the enterprise can learn how she or he wants to be treated. The enterprise should then be able to treat the customer differently then other customers”(Rangaswamy, Wind, 2001).  MySpace implements this approach through the recommendations toolbar on the side. The MySpace recommendations toolbar recommends different bands for you to follow or people for you to connect with based on the information the user puts on their profile. For example, in MySpace profile (yes, I had to resurrect it for this case study), I state that one of my favorite bands is the Dave Matthews Band. On my recommendations tab, MySpace recommends that I follow the Dave Matthews Band or Jack Johnson (an artist normally grouped in the same category as DMB).  My recommendations bar also links me with people who I have mutual friends with.

Wikinomics is a new business paradigm based on mass collaboration. The four main principles of Wikinomics are Openness, Peering, Sharing, and Acting Globally. Openness is being open and transparent to customers, competitors, suppliers and the open public, sharing knowledge and encouraging contributions from outside the organization. MySpace doesn’t exactly operate on the openness principle; however, the company does in fact operate on the peering principle.

The peering principle is the horizontal network of peers collaborating without formal hierarchical structure. On MySpace, it doesn’t matter who you are. You can post whatever you want to post, and contribute whatever you feel like contributing.  One example of contributing whatever you want (regardless of your position in the hierarchy) is the music page on MySpace. Anyone can make post their on music on MySpace.  Once a page is set up, anyone can stream that music on their personal profile page. Self selection might be a reason why users contribute their own music to MySpace. Although users don’t get any compensation, they want to get their music out, and MySpace offers a venue in which millions can listen to it, therefore, users are motivated to contribute their own personal tunes.

Sharing, the third principle of Wikinomics, is when intellectual property is shared to innovate more quickly and create more value.  Sharing happens quite frequently on MySpace.  For example, after the major record labels saw how the internet could ruin their business they decided to join the enemy. In 2008, Universal Music Group, Sony Entertainment, and Warner Music Group all decided to partner up with MySpace. By doing this, the companies allowed MySpace to publish their artists songs as well as allowing users to access mobile ringtones, SMS, and artist wallpapers, all directly from their artist’s MySpace profiles. (Universal Music Group, 2008)
The last principle of Wikinomics is acting globally. Acting globally allows companies to use global alliances and human capital to gain access to new markets, ideas and technologies. MySpace definitely operates on a global market.  Starting in 2006, MySpace has offered their website to be accessed from a global market.  Today, there are different versions of MySpace based on a persons region in the world. The content of the page changes based on locality. The website can adapt to the local language of the area as well as different cultural changes. For example, in the USA, we say favorites or ask  mm/dd/yyyy,  in the rest of the world they say "favourites,"  or “dd/mm/yyyy”. These changes are taken into consideration in the international version of the website. (Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., 2011)

I believe that MySpace has a great Web 2.0 business model. Their business model works extremely well in online music market. By repositioning themselves as a music website, MySpace’s web 2.0 competitors aren’t just limited to Facebook, Friendster, and Twitter. Now, the company must compete with music Web 2.0 websites like, and YouTube. I believe that MySpace’s ability to adapt on both One to One Marketing and Mass Customization platform gives the company a great competitive advantage. A combination of these approaches are not present in YouTube or Pandora.  MySpace’s ability to operate on the Sharing principle also gives the company a great opportunity. Their ability to act as social networking website that offers exclusive music and deals from major recording labels is an opportunity not all other music Web 2.0 website offer.  I believe MySpace’s rebranding was great for the company and their utilization of Web 2.0 strategies is working in their advantage and will help place them on top of the social media marketing once again.


Wind, J., & Rangaswamy, A. (2001). Customerization: The Next Revolution in Mass
Customization. Journal of Interactive Marketing , 15(1).

History of MySpace. (2008, August 14). Retrieved from Random History website:

VENTURE: “MYSPACE MUSIC." (2008, April 3). Retrieved from UNIVERSAL  

International Websites. (2011, February 2). MySpace. Retrieved from Wikimedia   
Foundation, Inc. website: