Pinterest, Your “How To” Guide

While some of you are finding comfort in the winter months – cuddling up to your loved ones, wearing layers of clothing, sitting by the fire and drinking hot cocoa – the rest of us (including myself) are engaging in daydreams about the warm summer days.

Although Florida is a great place to spend under the “occasional” sun (true Floridians know how moody and indecisive the state’s weather can be), I had an impulsive urge to plan for a more extravagant, thrilling, worthwhile trip. This summer, with a travel bag strapped to my back and my passport at hand, I will be roaming around Europe.  The unfamiliar atmospheric realm within each country appeals to my sense of curiosity and yearn for adventure.  After weeks of pondering different routes to take around the continent in 30 days with a budget, I was simply overwhelmed, and I didn’t know where to begin.

The seemingly answerless, never-ending questions left me in a perplexed state of mind. How much money will the trip cost? Where will I stay? How long will I stay? When should I take a train versus a plane? How long will it take me to get from point A to point B? What should I pack? What cities should I visit? It was a stressful process to plan let alone think about, but I was determined to make this summer a memorable one.

I began researching, talking to people who traveled to Europe, reading tour guide books, searching the web for prices on plane tickets, train tickets, and hotels. Although taking steps in the right direction, I was still completely and utterly lost. What I needed I wasn’t able to find. A few weeks into gathering information, I came across a blog post a friend had shared on Pinterest. The blogger went into full details about her Euro trip. This was what I was looking for: someone to tell me their story in detail. For the next few months, Pinterest will be my own personal tour guide until the day I board the plane in June.

Pinterest allows users to collect, share, and store particulars of their personal interests (hence the name). The visual discovery tool provides people with resourceful information from planning a trip to Europe, to tasteful dinner recipes, to redesigning the master bathroom. Unknowingly, this generous tool allows various minds to connect and feed off of one another’s creative ideas.

Ben Silbermann is the intellectual founder and CEO of the popular startup in the consumer Internet domain. According to, “the company reportedly only took nine months to go from 50,000 unique monthly visitors to 17 million monthly unique visitors.” As of January 2015, Pinterest’s valuation is at $5 billion and continues to increase. After making a deal with SkimLinks, the website is expected to generate up to $50 million annually “monetizing links on Pinterst to other sites.” Silbermann’s outstanding growing site shows progress and has developed a tool called, “Promoted Pins,” Pinterest’s answer to advertising.

Promoted Pins, launched last spring, are paid ads on Pinterest, promoting pins chosen by a company. It runs on a cost-per-click (CPC) basis, meaning a company will set a budget and duration and will only pay when someone clicks the pin to their website. With Promoted Pins, companies have the accessibility to monitor and adjust their campaign throughout the launching time frame.

Before, Pinterest was used by individuals looking for ways to simply entertain themselves. Now, not only are people using it to share creative ideas, but brands are also acknowledging how effective pinning can be. Companies, bloggers, photographers, cooks, etc., flourish their innovative creations through Pinterest.

Here at Brunet-Garcia, we have our own Pinterest account. The fairly new page consists of three different boards; Artists that Inspire, Our Work, and BG: Holiday Seasons Eatings. This page gives our agency the opportunity to extend our creative ideas to a broader audience. I mean, who wouldn’t want to get their hands on a delicious Cuban dessert like flan?

Just imagine if Silbermann decided to follow his original life plan and become a doctor. Pinterest would cease to exist, ideas would be limited to a much smaller audience, and I would be lost in Europe.

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The Winter of Our (NFL) Discontent

"My job is to protect the integrity of the NFL and to make sure the game is as safe as possible." – Roger Goodell

The vengeful yet benevolent God: since time immemorial, it’s the binary that’s served as THE management template for despots, dynasties, and, in this modern era, the monolithic, nation-swallowing entity known as the National Football League. Every machination, every institutional control of the NFL is purposely designed to project gleaming omnipotence.  The NFL’s ability to metastasize across the synapses that connect our collective national conscience is predicated on this notion of projected power: the physical power of hyper-masculine specimens colliding together with concussive force; the fiscal power of a cabal of billionaires controlling the fortunes of these supermen with non-guaranteed contracts; the virtual power fantasy football bestows upon the pasty, cubicle-shackled drones who, through analytics and active imagination, are able to visualize players as chattel. We Americans gravitate towards it all, because in a world where everything is out of our control, the NFL is control.

Yet, the NFL is also keen on having us believe that cradling this iron fist is a soft, velvet glove of morality: pink ribbons, Mean Joe Green giving a kid a coke and a smile, the irreproachable virtue of the Commissioner’s office ­– the ultimate arbiter for this playing field of precision-guided violence. It is a powerful intoxicant the NFL serves us, and one that this author is, admittedly, addicted to. But like with any high, there is hell to pay when the buzz wears off, and the events of the past 12 months have shown that the national party with the NFL may finally be over.

At the time this was published, U.S. District Judge Anita Brody still hadn't approved the NFL's concussion lawsuit settlement, saying it needed to be expanded to include more players.

In September, after years of denying and disputing what looked to be clear evidence, the NFL was forced to admit that it expects close to 30 percent of its players to end up with brain damage at “notably younger ages” than the general population. The NFL agreed to settle a class-action brain damage lawsuit filed by former players by agreeing to pay them about $190,000 on average, in exchange for virtual immunity from future litigation. Considering the NFL earns around $10 billion annually, one could view the settlement amount as peanuts. Also, a close inspection of the settlement found it riddled with loopholes and onerous conditions that had to be met in order to be eligible for the settlement money. But the NFL soldiered on past this public health calamity, working in conjunction with its media sycophants to remind us of the noble sacrifice its players willingly make on the metaphorical battlefield, and the league’s solemn oath to look after its own, lest we have conflicted feelings about watching preternaturally large and fast men prematurely deliquesce their brain tissue.


Former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice has won his appeal of an indefinite suspension and has been reinstated to the NFL.

While that development dented the NFL shield, the Ray Rice case left a very public facing shit stain on it.  Long before we all witnessed Janay Rice getting coldcocked by her then-fiancee on that Atlantic City casino surveillance tape, the extent to which the NFL and its commissioner, and Rice’s team, the Baltimore Ravens, were either willfully disconnected, or blithely indifferent to the gravity of the assault, was already painfully clear. The Ravens official Twitter account tweeted out that Janay Rice “deeply regrets the role she played” in the assault. Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti expressed “how sad we all are that he (Ray Rice) tarnished his image.” When commissioner Goodell sat with Ray Rice for a meeting that was pivotal in deciding what kind of punishment the running back would face, not only were several members of Ravens’ brass in the room, Janay Rice was also present. She pleaded her husband’s case, saying the assault on her was an isolated one-time incident. Why would Goodell put domestic-violence victim and abuser in the same room when there is a well-documented history of victims minimizing the culpability of the batterer and succumbing to witness-intimidation tactics in such situations? That’s a question that remains unanswered by the commissioner’s office. When TMZ finally posted the security camera video showing the horrific footage of Janay Rice getting knocked out, the outrage was instant, as was the disbelief at Goodell’s claim he had never seen the video.


The Ray Rice case and settlement of the brain trauma lawsuit were just two of the more prominent episodes of the NFL’s annus horribilis. Sprinkled in along the way, there were child abuse allegations against the star running back Adrian Peterson; complaints of double standards with the league’s drug and alcohol policy after the realtively lenient punishment given to Colts Owner Jim Irsay, who was arrested for DUI and later admitted to a pill addiction; and a growing campaign against Washington team’s use of the derogatory term “Redskins.” By the time the Super Bowl rolled around, the controversy surrounding the underinflated balls used by the New England Patriots in the AFC title game seemed relatively quaint and charming, given all that had preceded it.


Through all of this, a mealy mouthed commissioner Goodell issued bromides and the kid of arbitrary judgments that were seemingly at odds with his measured and precise governance in all matters financial as they relate to the NFL and its owners. What we are left with is the disquieting sense that the NFL views its sacrosanct, inviolate image as something more important than the health and safety of an abused woman, a beaten child, or a struggling addict in need of support.  We are left wondering what happened to the moral clarity football is supposed to provide us with; its power to reduce all those shades of grey in life to a simple contest between us vs. them; its power to, for a few precious beer-soaked hours, spare us from reality?


The idea of protecting the brand is something that I, as a brand strategist, can relate and aspire to. But after this season, the NFL and its legion of media minions must ask at what price do you protect the brand? At what point do you acknowledge the existential problems that exist within the larger framework of a violent game that has been the centerpiece of the American sports psyche? At what point does your brand no longer meet a need or make a positive impact, and start existing merely for its own self-perpetuation? It’s a question that goes beyond the NFL brand. It is a question we can raise about so many institutions: Congress, higher education, banking, and the list goes on.  Like those centerpieces of American life, the NFL may be too big to fail, but it’s also shown that it’s deluded enough to be enthralled by its own power.

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Ready…Set…Commercial Break!

It’s finally that time of year. Friends and family gather in the living room wearing jerseys, snacking on chips and dip, jumping up and down with their hands in the air, and shouting inappropriate vulgarities at the television. Oh yeah, it’s GAME TIME!

Fans all over North America are stocking up on hot dogs, burgers, wings, and cases of beer for the United States unofficial holiday, Super Bowl Sunday. Fans overwhelmed with angst have been mentally preparing themselves for the game, praying for their preferred team’s victorious win.

This Sunday night, the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks go head to head with an estimated record-breaking audience of 112.2 million people watching the game, according to The majority of those millions are enthusiastic football fans, the rest are simply there for the annual festivities, half-time acts, and – most importantly – the highly stylized, entertaining buzz-worthy commercials.

If you were the head of a very successful company, wouldn’t you jump on the opportunity to showcase your brand in front of millions?

The Super Bowl is a chance for successful and apparently extremely wealthy companies to engage with viewers. The Hollywood Reporter stated that the ads this year will reportedly cost up to $4.5 million for ONLY a 30-second spot. Really? That’s money I could use to pay off my college loans, my car, my parents house, and basically be set for life. As annoyed as I am with the amount of money spent on advertisements during the Super Bowl, I can’t help but watch them anyway.

Who could forget in 2011 when Volkswagen used “The Force” during the Super Bowl XLV?

Or in 2000 when the world’s greatest icons got together for an epic commercial…

Over the years there have been so many creative unforgettable ads that (to companies) were worth spending millions on. This weekend commercial fans, including myself, are excited to see which companies are participating in the Super Bowl, and how they’re going to represent their brand in a 30-second spot. A few advertisers released their ads in advance. After watching a few of them, I don’t think commercial fans will be disappointed.

Here’s a look into some of the commercials that will be aired during this years Super Bowl:

Mercedes-Benz 60-second ad retells the story of The Tortoise and the Hare with a little twist.

After 6 years, Victoria Secret returns. The models are roughing it up like men, but still looking as flawless as ever.

I definitely have to mention Budweiser’s adorable “Lost Dog” commercial. Who can resist a commercial with a sweet puppy?

Obviously, these are just a few of many. So whether you’re a football fan or a commercial fan, enjoy the fake holiday, watch the game (and the commercial breaks), and keep your eyes peeled for the “money-well-spent” ads.

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He said to him, “Will you?”

Is it possible that maybe one day (possibly soon) people will put their differences aside and accept one another? Or were we individually created to validate every human being’s decisions based on the morals of our founding fathers?

A reoccurring feud of whether or not homosexual couples should have the right to wed has yet to be fairly settled. Personally, I believe this never-ending conflict will continue to unravel itself until homosexuals are given equal rights to marriage. Marriage is a commitment, a ritual, a relationship that has existed for thousands of years; one that has tremendous resonance in our culture in a way that civil unions simply cannot obtain.

My high-school English teacher once started a debate among his students about controversial topics in today’s society. The class was separated into several groups of four. My group was given the topic of gay marriage. In the beginning of this debate, I didn’t have a clue as to what I believed, nor did the topic really matter to me; I just wanted that A+.

As a young adult, I was always taught to believe that gay marriage was unacceptable because of my religion and “my” beliefs. I couldn’t decide which side to take, so my partner did. She wanted to represent pro gay marriage, and I didn’t argue.

After long weeks of excessive research I was ready to go up against my opponents and win over everyone’s opinion on gay marriage. My speech ended with a quote from RJ Comer followed by a closing statement:

“I am by nature created as a being, so allow me to be. I am by nature created to love, so let me love. I am by nature created to be loved, so let me be loved. I am by nature created as you were to be equal, so can I be? I was as you created with an opinion, so let me express. I was as you created with a voice, so let me voice. Yes, I am, as you were created to be loved, and to love equal with a voice and an opinion, so let me be me. My choice to love may be different from yours, but like you, I chose to love. Who chooses to love me, may be different from you choice, but let me be loved. How I believe and what I believe, may not be yours, but allow me the choice and chance to believe, as you have been allowed. I was created as you were, with a will and a desire to be free, so allow me to be free. I was as you created with a desire to be respected for who you are, so allow me to be respected for the choice I have made. You want the chance to be you and are you, so why deprive me of the same rights and privileges as you have been given? Allow me the chance to be who I was created by nature to be, as you have been and are, allow me to be me.” Ladies and gentlemen, let us now examine what it really means to be equal, what it really means to have rights, what it really means to be free, what it really means to be an American.

Talk about effective, right? And for those of you who were wondering, we won the debate.

In recent times, more than 30 states in the United States have thrown in the white flag. More and more people are jumping on the wagon and joining the fight to equalization. It’s mind blowing to think and see how far we have come as a country with such a controversial topic.

One of the new members on the wagon is Tiffany & Co.

Tiffany & Co. recently made headlines with a preview of their new campaign, “Will You?” The campaign features seven real couples who have popped the momentous unforgettable question. Now most of us are familiar with the well-known brand, but what has people buzzing is the ad that revealed an engaged couple of the same sex.

Personally, I was fully prepared to read bashing comments all over the web about this approach Tiffany & Co. decided to take for the first time in the 178 years they’ve been in business. On the contrary, people were delighted to see such an ad finally appear, especially artist Miley Cyrus who publically praised the company.

A perfect way to start the year for Tiffany & Co., like the annual saying goes, “new year, new me.” The company has finally acknowledged the idea of marriage, two people – no matter the gender – who are deeply in love and want to create a life with one another.

A spokeswoman from the jewelry company explained in an interview with Elle magazine, “nowadays, the road to marriage is no longer linear, and true love can happen more than once with love stories coming in a variety of forms.” The spokeswoman also said that, “the Tiffany engagement ring is the first sentence of the story that a couple will write together as they create a life that is deeply intimate and exceptional, which is the message we hope to convey through this campaign.” From a marketing standpoint this ad was a great move for the company, and it gives the audience a glimpse into what the future holds.

Looks like an overdue breakfast at Tiffany’s will be quite diversified now that the empty chairs are finally filled.

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Is That You R2?

When I was in third grade, my teacher asked each of us to build our own robot and present it to the class for a school project. Building a robot was an exciting project for all of us. Inspired by “Lampy” from The Brave Little Toaster, I made mine out of an old desk lamp, utilizing the base for its feet, the arm for its body, and the light bulb socket for its nose. I remember feeling so proud of my refurbished lamp-bot. At the time, at least to me, the idea of a real household robot was still one of fantasy; one for the movies and TV shows, and one for children like me to build in day school. I do remember thinking, however, how cool it would be if I could actually own a robot like R2-D2 or C3PO and wondering what the world would be like if everyone owned a robot like that. Yea right, right? Well, little did I know that as I sat building my little toy robot in the third grade, Dr. Cynthia Breazeal was working on hers too… in a lab at MIT.

About 15 years ago, Dr. Breazeal set out to create just that: a robot, a technology that “can support a far more personally meaningful human experience.” That technology is JIBO, which claims to be the first social robot for the family. JIBO is the first robot intended to stay in your home and actually serve a role for you and your family through a variety of interactive engagements.

From only one vantage point, JIBO’s innovative swivel design and facial, voice, and motion recognition allows it to engage with multiple people at once. JIBO will even learn the names of the people in the room and will start to address people by their name. JIBO is small and white (or black) with an LCD screen that projects an emotionally expressive face. Basically, it reminds me of a standing version of “Eve” from Wall-E.

Here are some of the things JIBO will be able to do:

- You can tell JIBO to become the cameraman for your event, and JIBO will document the evening, taking pictures on command, allowing you to stay a part of the action and actually be in the pictures.

- Instead of an e-reader, JIBO is an engaging storyteller, performing the story with you as its audience.

- During a video call, JIBO can address an entire group and will even turn towards whoever is speaking, allowing the entire group to interact with the video call instead of passing around a flat “talking head” on your phone.

- Instead of a preschool application or game, JIBO becomes an interactive teacher and personalized learning companion, actually teaching you and engaging you or your children about a particular subject, answering questions and rendering extrapolations.

- JIBO greets you by name when you arrive home, can turn on the lights for you, and even let you know who called or that someone knocked on the door in your absence.

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