The 2008 BlogHer Conference was awesome and amazing and most of all REAL. But there was a commercial element that I would be remiss if I didn’t mention. You see, this conference was sponsored by a large number of corporations, all of whom wanted to market to us and get their product into our hands. Why? Because we WRITE. And because we have an audience. And because we have power to influence this audience by the use of our words to discuss products that we like, as well as causes that we support, and memories that we share.
In gratitude for their sponsorship of this conference (and, by extension, their funding of the twenty women who were awarded BlogHerships to attend the conference for free when they could not otherwise), I would like to take a few minutes to mention them all here. Forgive me for not putting links where I should, but I have more thank-yous than time today, and I want to get this posted quick.
Thank you all for coming, for talking to us, for taking my card (cause, yes, I did give everyone I met a Mothers With Cancer business card — we all know somebody), and for adding a little excitement to an already amazing conference.
My absolute favorite approach was the one made by Sesame Street. Sesame Street bought a suite upstairs and outfitted it with snacks, water, soda, fruit and nuts (thank you for that; sustaining food was more difficult to come by than sweets), DVDs with full episodes, and a stage set of the apartments’ front door on Sesame Street. AND GROVER. Yes, THE Grover. To this PBS fan, this was probably the most amazing celebrity you could have brought to the conference (and we had some amazing ones). PBS had put a lot of thought into this suite — they even came equipped with their own recording equipment, and we each got to MAKE A VIDEO with GROVER. And not a predetermined video either, but interacting and talking and laughing with Grover. I even got a hug.
PBS also promoted the new Super Sisters site — a site for parents — that will be hosted by our friends Kristen, Jen Lemen, and gave away shiny flowery mood rings as swag. Swag from Sid the Science Kid was all over the table too, including science notebooks for kids (hooray!), guides for parents, and coloring books of many of the PBS characters. PBS gets major points for promoting their kids’ shows to us, in a reasonable yet really smart way. Their big swag was a thumb drive/bracelet with games for 6-8 year olds preloaded. Very, very smart.
Raggs gave out videos and had a mascot present that made me smile. Sprout was another BIG winner in my book, with little toys, coloring books, and take home stuff that the kids just loved. Winning the Sprout giveaway was so much fun for me, a huge fan of this no-kids-commercials-but-all-preschool kids channel. When I told my roommate I won, she asked excitedly, “Did you win the flip phone?” Nope, I won the stuffed animal mascots (Chica, Boogie, and Star) and I was so very happy. (My little boy FLIPPED OUT over this when I got home. And he doesn’t do stuffed animals.)
Leapfrog TAG and DIGI were there, showing off their products and giving out coupons. Thanks for the coupons. They are EASY TO PACK and really will be used for future purchases. Vsmile showed off their new products, which include a new art studio, create your own book, and their new motion activated controls. Way cool. Even cooler than the Nintendo wii, in my book, since the wiis were always in use and never available for me to try. ;-)
Intuit Quickbooks, HP, and Norton had a presence in the pavillion, offering freebies (Quickbooks, Quickbooks tutorial, tuneups, and Norton 360), and advice. I really enjoyed this part of it, as I had just been trying to use an old version of Quickbooks on the plane. One piece of advice, though. If you come promoting software, and you give that software away, it would be REALLY NICE if at least one of you knew how to operate that software.
Tmobile and Snapfish smartly gave away giftcards for things we could really use (and pack easily): Tmobile a week of internet access and Snapfish 50 digital prints. Awesome.
We heard from some well known internet services (Hello, Alltop! Thanks for the wine and paella!), and some that I was happy to learn about (Yedda questions and answers, jumpup.com business site, picnik.com photo site, smilebox photo site), and some that I probably would never have heard of otherwise, like easyprintdesign.com, babyjidesign.com, mccain foods mom squad, herroom.com (again, kudos for the coupon), kidsprotectionplan.com, brainpopjr, milkscreen, and boogiewipes).
Merci sponsored a National Thank You Day giveaway; I’ll be blogging about this more as we get closer to Sept. 22. I thought it was a way cool idea, and a great way to spread positivity. Kinda like Kristen’s Hope Notes that I learned about in Saturday morning’s session.
Other great giveaways came from the Military Support Blogging Project (USB drive), the Experience Project (although I didn’t get any), and several other vendors.
Mom Central brought books. Awesome. Could not BE any better swag.
The Silicon Valley Moms Group and the Kirtsy chicks procured some amazing swag, in ADDITION to all of this. Bags from Land’s End and Scholastic, t-shirts, stuffed animals (Russ has a new Bright Beginnings doll that has snaps, buttons, zippers, velcro on it, just like the old Dapper Dans), diapers, bottles, onesies, an internet password planner (this sent my roommate into happy overload), a day planner, DVDs, clown noses from Barnum and Bailey (these went over BIG with my kids), moisturizer, teeth whitener, soap (hey, what are they trying to say?), dentaburst teeth cleaners (there that is again), pens, baby shoes from See Kai Run, and many, many other things that totally didn’t even fit into my bag on the way home.
Like the yoga mat from Boca. And the full-size jars of Jif. And the carpet cleaner boxes that you can see on Alexis Neely’s video.
There were several products, though, that I’m not going to mention. Because I just don’t agree with their existence or their approach. (I didn’t take the swag.)
Well, there it is. The not-so-dirty little not-so-secret. Advertisers are turning to bloggers these days, if not with cash then with gifties. As long as it’s something that I can support and am happy to hear about, I’m okay with that. Bloggers are a force, in many ways, and it’s nice to see corporate America taking notice.