Nov 29, 2007
csalomonlee

PR Pitch Review: Advanta’s Ideablob.com

PitchReviewSo I received an interesting pitch today (my first, yeah!) from Erick of Advanta. After responding to a comment he left on the About page, Erick forwarded me a quite lengthy email about Ideablob.com. 

His goal was to hear my impressions of the company’s efforts to promote Ideablob.com virally and without an ad spend. PS – I wouldn’t equate PR/media coverage as an ad spend – each achieves a different purpose and are approached differently. The second purpose was to get feedback about the site.

After receiving Erick’s approval that I can provide my impressions via my blog, here is my overall impression from the process of contacting me and “viral” PR efforts. I’ll then provide my thoughts about the site itself in a follow up post.
 

PR Pitch and Overall Program
Erick left me a comment as he was seeking to respect my time by not spamming me. This was good as I love reading all my comments and this peaked my interest. However, I was a bit suspicious as he didn’t leave a company association and I wasn’t sure if this was a clever ploy to get my email address for spam purposes.
If Erick had checked out my company site, he could have found my work contact information, but leaving a comment was a good alternative sans email.

His pitch was a bit lengthy – highlighting the success that Ideablob had at the Demo conference earlier this year. For about a $40K investment ($15-20K to participate + travel & lodging for 2-3 representatives) and considering the uniqueness of their offering, this was probably a good choice to be in front of a lot of reporters and secure good media coverage.

Only after reading the pitch a few times, I finally realized that Ideablob.com is a social network for entrepreneurs and small business owners and extension of Advanta’s main business. I would have tried to bring this connection up a little sooner before. I’m unsure what efforts Advanta is undertaking to 1) publicize Ideablob and 2) highlight Advanta’s connection to the social network.

In doing a quick Google search, there were 17 50 blog mentions over the past month with 310 total, with some coverage in “mainstream” media. Not bad for launching in September. (Update Note: When I did the search last night, I got 93 mentions overall with 17 in last month. I’ve updated this to reflect more accurate numbers).

As Ideablob awards $10,000 each month to a winning idea and entrepreneur, I envision Advanta highlighting the location, idea and personal background of each winner for coverage. What would be powerful is having personal video diaries of the winners’ reaction to winning and how they are leveraging the awards to progress their ideas.

I could see a YouTube like channel or video blog to highlight the progress of winners to further engage visitors to the Ideablob website. The videos also have the possibility of being picked up by other blogs as well.

Once some time has passed, it will be interesting to see if these $10,000 awards have had any impact on the success of these ideas. Again, the human factor will be key, similar to micro lending site Kiva.org, for securing profiles – both successes and lessons learned.

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3 Comments

  • The Ideablob may be good for people trying for the award money, but it’s one of the reasons this company is dangerous to work with. NEVER get a card through them. They get you to sign up for their cards with a low “non-introductory” rate, but in very small print deep in its disclosures, they state they can raise your rates without notice. AND THEY DO!! A year after getting them, they increased my rate from 7.99 to 21.99 in one month! When I contacted them, the agent gave me the routine about credit and usage review, but did not know anything else about the decision or the rate determination. This company practice is worse than the sub-prime lenders. At least, the title company has to inform you of what’s going to happen. This company baits and hooks you.

  • The concept behind Ideablob is great but the execution has been a failure. It’s pitched as a place to showcase NEW ideas so entrepreneurs can win $10K to start or fule the startup of a NEW business. And yet, it seems that it’s really just a popularity contest and that boring ideas like “Expand my global tech company” use relationships to reach the top of the list. There are a lot of really new and interesting ideas but they lose all their viability because a former Belmont winner (another existing company) won and now every former Belmont grad and his brother is pushing yet another existing business to the top. Advanta needs to put some checks and balances in place to ensure innovative NEW ideas are what’s being voted on.

  • very interesting, but I don’t agree with you
    Idetrorce

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About

Cece Salomon-LeeCece Salomon-Lee is director of marketing for ACTIVE Network, Business Solutions division, and author of PR Meets Marketing, which explores the intersection of public relations, marketing, and social media.

This blog contains Cece's personal opinions and are not representative of her company's.

Learn more about Cece.

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