YouTube thinks I want to meet Asian women for free

My cousin was just telling me that YouTube always makes him watch this Nike ad featuring the Olympic Canadian mens hockey team. But I’ve never seen this ad and we figure it’s probably because his YouTube viewing behaviour has labelled him a male. Never mind that he doesn’t really like hockey, his demographics clearly does.

What is more annoying is that I get ads like “Meet an Asian woman for free.” Or dating ads featuring Asian women in bikinis. YouTube thinks I’m a lonely man looking to date Asian girls.

You see, I watch K-Pop videos. That’s short for Korean pop music videos. They usually feature Korean girls or guys cheesily dancing to extremely catchy Korean tunes. It’s very entertaining. I lived with a bunch of Koreans in my first year of university and got hooked.

But now YouTube thinks I want to meet Asian girls! For free! This is alarming on many levels. I already meet so many Asian girls for free. I don’t even like all of them. It probably helps that I am an Asian girl. Should I care that YouTube thinks I’m pathetically going to pay girls to meet me? Probably not.

But I do care.

I hate you YouTube ad robot. This is why Amazon gets my money and not you! Amazon correctly recommended that I buy the DVD collection of Downton Abbey and repeatedly emails me deals on Oral-b electronic toothbrushes. I’m so glad that at least one Internet giant doesn’t think I’m some pervert trying to buy dates.

I’m Kinda A Do-Gooder


Here’s a little fact I haven’t really revealed on Broken Penguins before: I’m a do-gooder at heart. Once upon a time, I thought I would become a social worker so I could help make someone’s life just a little easier. But as luck would have it, I went into PR instead but still ended working in nonprofits.

I currently work at an organization which does amazing work in and around the realm of home health care. I also recently met up with an instructor at Seneca College in Toronto who is heading a new social media program.

senecasomeIf you’re looking to work and volunteer for a cause, having the skills to use social media professionally is extremely helpful. For those of you in the Toronto-area looking for a legitimate, recognized college program that will lead you into a social media specialist career — check out Seneca SoMe.

It’s a post-grad run by Seneca College and it’s the first accredited program of its kind. Yes, you really can get paid to be on Facebook and Twitter all day — but you better be damn good at it and this program can get you there.

You see, it’s not enough to want to “do good”. You have to do it well.

For those of you looking to hire a social media professional for a nonprofit, check out my article in NonprofitMarCommunity.

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Who Controls What You Buy?

BUS_brandwashed“Who controls what you buy?” may seem like an easy question. But master marketer Martin Lindstrom provides an answer that spans over 200 pages in his second book, Brandwashed.

At first glance, of course I control what I buy. I see it in the store, put in my basket and pay for it with my own money.

Brandwashed says that’s garbage because marketers have thought long and hard about what makes us want to buy in the first place. He gives examples of how brands use our natural psychological wirings to manipulate us into thinking that we need to buy their products.

It’s all one big conspiracy to get you to buy. And just when you stop believing him, he pulls out the oodles and oodles of market research paid for by brands. Lindstrom knows this because he did the research. I was especially impressed by Axe’s efforts to find out who would be the target audience for their trademark douchebag spray. Of course, it wasn’t always known as a spray for 14-year-old boys but that’s part of the story.

BRAND_axI’d be interested in hear what he has to say about Abercrombie & Fitch’s strategy of revealing their strategy. As consumers, we’re comfortable buying into a lifestyle semi-consciously but does it work when it’s not so subtle? It’s as if Rolex were to put out an ad that read “Rich people wear our watches.” Every ad implies this but it’s never the tagline.

Brandwashed was a little hard to get into. I like my non-fiction to read like fiction where there’s a storyline that ties everything together. Brandwashed jumps around a lot and revisits previous concepts at unlikely times. However, the research tidbits are gold for anyone that buys or sells stuff. Because for those that have watched The Devil Wears Prada, it’s not just stuff.

See the following ads from a recent issue of Vogue. Do you think they manipulate us as consumers?





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Taking Care of Business


You’ll notice that Broken Penguins mainly reviews fiction and that’s because I love fiction. There’s nothing like burying yourself in someone else’s world and letting it consume you for the day. But I do sometimes make time for some business books.

Okay, sharing time: I work in PR and I love it. I’ve been working in this field for four years and I’ve already learned A LOT. But what’s fantastic about PR is that there’s no time to be bored — there’s always plenty more to learn. And hence, a lot of business reading.

So here’s what’s on my list:

BUS_brandwashedBrandwashed by Martin Lindstrom
If you are interested in marketing, branding or psychology, you must hear Martin Lindstrom speak. He does a lot of unique research into how people are influenced by brands and some of his findings are pretty shocking. He is a quirky, quirky man and that translates into fantastic presentations.

The Virtual Self by Nora Young
I received a copy of The Virtual Self after seeing Young speak at a Third Tuesday Event. Young looks at how we’re tracking and sharing our own behaviour online — and why we keep doing things like telling the world how many pounds we’ve lost and how many pages we’ve read.

BUS_spunkSpunk & Bite by Arthur Plotnik
Writing gurus always point you to Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style. While The Elements of Style focuses on fussy grammar and composition, Spunk and Bite is all about writing to captivate your audience. How teachable is this skill?

The Loyalty Leap by Bryan Pearson
Pearson is supposedly the guru of repeat customers. He looks at data, lots of it, and helps companies bring back happy customers. Hey, maybe he can even help me bring you back to Broken Penguins…

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