Ellen DeGeneres

Denny Hatch is the author of six books on marketing and four novels, and is a direct marketing writer, designer and consultant. His latest book is “Write Everything Right!” Visit him at dennyhatch.com.

In an era when just about everyone has a Facebook page, why did President Barack Obama, the Ford Motor Co. and Ian Somerhalder turn to the same person to manage their online voices? Oliver Luckett and his company, theAudience, are virtual producers, creating thousands of pieces of content per month: Facebook pages, videos, Twitter messages—just about anything with the potential to go viral. Luckett says old models of communication have lost influence; building original, shareable content is now the most valuable way to connect with people. And he argues that the same principles apply whether you’re campaigning for leader

The 2014 Oscars are over. "Gravity" was hard to keep down, Jennifer Lawrence was her clumsy, lovable self and Twitter was lightly abuzz with real-time Oscar marketing. As usual, there was plenty of canned stock art tweets, corny puns and painful attempts to stretch anything into an awards tie-in. Finding the good wasn't easy. Here are our picks for the five best real-time marketing moments at the 86th Academy Awards.

Some of the most beleaguered brands in the country shined this holiday season. Ads from brands such as Sears, jcpenney and USPS managed to win over consumers this year with a blend of detailed product information and humor, ranking on Ace Metrix' top holiday ads list. Craftsman, which is owned by Sears, was ranked the best ad of the holiday season—a huge win for the beleaguered chain. The winning ad, "Max Access Locking Wrench," was heavy on product information, resembling a direct-response ad. jcpenney, meanwhile, continues to reap the benefits of its association with Ellen DeGeneres. The spot, a humorous

If you’ve spent any time at all on Twitter and Facebook during the last week or so, you’ve undoubtably heard about KONY2012. The campaign by the nonprofit advocacy group Invisible Children centered around Joseph Kony, the Ugandan warlord and leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army, a guerrilla group with a long and violent history that includes the kidnapping of children. With striking and dramatic imagery and Hollywood-style editing, the campaign video presents an utterly compelling message in the age of “social” media: by simply clicking “share,” you can make a difference in the world. And “share” the world did …

And they're off. Justin Bieber fans are on their way to set a Guinness World Record for the teen hearthrob's 18th birthday. The goal is to send the most social media messages in 24 hours. What better gift can you give someone who has everything? Today, Justin Bieber is officially legal. Currently, "#HappyBirthdayKidrauhl" is trending on Twitter. Kidrauhl is one of Bieber's many nicknames. The singer currently is on Twitter, retweeting, following and replying to his fans. Bieber has more than 17 million followers, coming second to Lady Gaga, who has more than 18 million. Fans set up the website, www.happybirthdayjustinbieber.com, equipped with a counter …

For as long as there have been celebrities, there have been companies paying them a pretty penny to endorse their products. A celebrity spokesperson can make an advertising campaign iconic (think Cindy Crawford and Pepsi), help a brand become relevant to a new generation (Lady Gaga and Polaroid), or—when done poorly—hurt a brand’s image. Remember The Situations’ unintended endorsement of Abercrombie & Fitch? With more brands forgoing traditional advertising media and turning their attention to social media ad spending, it’s no surprise that "Celebrity Tweet Endorsements" have become big business.

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