Thursday, 7 April 2011

Why I Should Be the Endras BMW Ultimate Blogger: An Essay

Hello Peeps!!

As many of my readers know, I'm competing to win the Endras BMW Ultimate Blogger job.  We are currently in the final round of voting with only 20 contestants and the Top 10 moving on to interviews for this great opportunity.

I wanted to take a minute to really layout why I strongly believe that I am the best candidate for this position.  There has been a lot of chatter amongst the contestants and their supporters, about why each individual is the best for the position and while I recognize all of their strengths, I do believe some key areas are being overlooked.

My Network: Toronto
There has been a lot of conversation about contestants' passion for BMW, their blogging abilities and their obsession for performance.  NO ONE has been talking about Toronto (GTA), their influence in the online community and how they can benefit Endras BMW.

Isn't this what we're really talking about here?  I guess I can't know for sure what Endras BMW's goals are for this campaign, but I'd bet that they're looking to extend their exposure across this area and are hiring the Ultimate Blogger to do just that.  I mean, if they wanted the ultimate gear head, they'd be better off hiring a pro race car driver or something.  But they aren't (at least I don't think so), they're looking for someone like me, with great contacts and networks in various industries, professionally and socially, across Toronto.

I was doing some research on the first phase of this contest and in this stage alone I amassed just over 400,000 possible impressions on Twitter.  That was due to the fact that I was tweeting the heck out of this contest many, many times daily; but more importantly, this was because of who I was tweeting too.  My network on Twitter includes some of the best All-Stars in the Toronto tech community. Top bloggers, communications, PR, marketing and ad people of all types, entrepreneurs, community managers for large corporations and every thing in between all the way down to your casual twitter users.

Many people in the contest don't even have Twitter, a blog, or live in Canada, let alone Toronto.  I don't want to seem like I'm discriminating based on location, but it's quite simply math.  If I have 2000 Twitter followers, mostly in Toronto and contestant X has 50 followers mostly outside of Toronto, who do you think is better equipped to spread Endras BMW's message to their key target audience?

While Twitter, blogging and social media is a large component, the largest component; there are other related skills that are unique to me which are well suited to this position.  I have a graduate certificate in public relations and a Master in Communications.  In this time I learned, at the highest level, what it takes to be an effective communicator and brand ambassador.  For more info on what I'm talking about see this previous blog post.  In my studies I've also done grad level research on the automotive industry with focus on the climate of their online dealership networks, which would be a tremendous asset to this job.

As well, my work in the special events and entertainment industry in Toronto and across Canada has positioned me to hear about and execute opportunities that no one else can.  I'm no stranger to working on launch events (for car dealerships and other companies), red carpet events, Fashion shows, Toronto International Film Festival parties and so forth.  I regularly attend galas and all types of premier events in Toronto and you can be sure that if I was the Endras BMW Ultimate Blogger, that I'd be representing and promoting their good name every chance I get.

In a years time, it would be near impossible for someone else to create a network like the one that has taken me over a decade to put together.  Not only that, thanks to my experience and love for Toronto, I have the knowledge about which areas, events and opportunities to be proactively targeting as the Ultimate Blogger.  Others, especially foreigners to Toronto, would be playing serious catch up to promote Endras BMW in ways I can and have already.

In areas where I'm similar to other contestants, like them, I have a passion for BMW.  Some of us more than others and I have to say, if this job isn't in my cards, I really hope a true enthusiast gets it.  There are some competitors, right from the outset, that have voiced negativity towards the great BMW brand and some that are quite simply, not very knowledgeable about BMWs.  As a long time member of various local and international [online] BMW car communities, I know the sentiments of the true die-hards and believe me, they want someone who bleeds Bavarian blue to be the Ultimate Blogger.

Like other contestants, I'm obsessed with performance.  I'll come right out and say that I'm not the most experienced competitor in this contest when it comes to BMW track days. But as a long time enthusiast and as a young adult who grew up during the hype of all the Fast and Furious movies, I can tell you that I've spent my fair share of pennies on my sweet rides.  Rims, performance exhausts, coilovers, midpipes, cold air intakes, cam shafts, you name it and I've probably saved up to buy it once in my life.  And with regards to the overall car community in Toronto, I do not believe any other competitor has the network I do for local car clubs, tuners, part shops and event promoters.  (not that I claim to be a Toronto car guru, but definitely more established than others in this contest currently)

BMW is a brand about innovation and balance, amongst other things.  I think those attributes best describe me as a candidate for the Endras BMW Ultimate Blogger position.  In this contest, most that can blog and have a good handle on social media, aren't the biggest BMW enthusiasts (with regards to the other competitors).  Those that are the die-hard BMW fans, aren't the best bloggers and online people.  The few that maybe do have a good handle on both, certainly don't have the network in Toronto that I have.  I'm well rounded, if not an expert, in every major capacity that the Ultimate Blogger job requires.

Please help my bid to win my dream job.  Although I may be the best candidate, I still need support and votes to keep me in the Top 10 and get me an interview.  Recently I created a light-hearted and fun video as part of my second round submission.  I hope you find it entertaining and lend me your votes!

To view the video and vote click below:

Shawn Hawaii's Endras BMW Ultimate Blogger Page

Thanks so much for stopping by everyone!  Much Love!!


Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Ultimate Blogger: More Than Meets The Eye

Hello Friends!!

I wanted to share an excerpt from an article that I helped write as part of a group project a couple years ago when I was a student at Seneca College's Corporate Communications program.  The experience was incredible and gave me a great opportunity to speak to some very seasoned and innovative communications specialists.  Special shout-out to my homie Nick Poirier who was a tremendous contributor to this project.

I'm competing to win my Dream Job as Endras BMW's Ultimate Blogger.  The job, which is highly sought after with about 600 competitors, will find the most capable individual to represent this great organization online.  While there are many "bloggers" in the mix, my edge is in understanding what the following article talks about.  That all good communicators go above and beyond the call of duty. 

*quick note: I've taken out the name of the main interviewee in the article.  Their name has been changed to "SM"

Are You Strategically Important?

In a burgeoning public relations field, managers aren't just looking for technicians anymore - they're looking for communicators who can maintain their strategic value by existing outside of the box.

Setting foot inside BMW Canada's headquarters, you get a sense of the corporate image its corporate communications specialist SM works hard to promote.  The Whitby-based structure is a modern mesh of glass and buffed stainless steel with sleek leather furniture, giving its layout a certain sophisticated flow.  If its whitewashed walls could talk, they would scream out with elements of culture, refinement and forward thinking.  The building is on the forefront of contemporary architecture and exudes elements that both define the BMW brand as well as the guiding principles behind how SM does her job.

"I'm always looking at information and asking myself what's best for BMW, the brand, and I'm always cautious of how the brand is being received and portrayed by the public," says SM.

In a headquarters that displays its dynamic personality through its very construct, SM's work ethic is perfectly matched.  As the specialist for BMW's business and lifestyle initiatives, SM works on everything from environmental strategy to BMW clothing, to profiling and speech writing for the president.  Her duties require her to stay on the cutting edge.

"I'm always thinking of ways to do things differently," says SM.  In this way, I've made myself important by having others trust me because I'm always thinking contingency."

SM has made herself important by adding value to what she does.

SM is the definition of an effective communications practitioner.  Not only does she mirror her company's progressive attitudes, she actively incorporates them into her daily work ritual.  In a profession saturated with technicians, SM is constantly thinking outside of the box to keep her company ahead of the pack and maintain her professional worth in the process.

SM 'gets it.'

Get it?


The article continues for a few more pages and quotes various experienced PR practitioners including Maril Gagen MacDonald former president of the Arthur W. Page Society and one of the "50 most powerful women in PR" by PR Week, Marion MacKenzie president of CGI Canada, Heather Conway former VP of PR at Alliance Atlantis and Dr. Juan-Carlos Molleda, professor in Department of Public Relations at the University of Florida.

Including the whole article would make for a super long blog post, but to summarize and bring the Ultimate Blogger job into perspective; the ideal candidate will be more than just a blogger for Endras BMW.

The ideal candidate should know the ins and outs of the BMW brand, the history, the culture, as well as be able to navigate and effectively communicate with the organization's different departments.  The Ultimate Blogger job isn't just writing blogs about new BMW models, at least it shouldn't be, it's about being a community manager and being passionate about the brand 24/7.

I 'get it.'

Please take a second to help my bid to win this great job.  It really is my dream!  All you have to do is click the link and click next to my name:

Shawn Hawaii's Endras BMW Ultimate Blogger page

Much love errrbody!!


Sunday, 6 March 2011

Integrity and Credibility: hand-in-and but not one-in-the-same

What's up Peeps!

So Today I woke up and did my normal routine of checking headlines, first at TorStar.  The front/homepage story was a picture of two young girls and the headline "Travel microchip found in case of missing twins." This was the first I'd heard of any such story, so I clicked to read more.

Here's a screenshot of the story:

I had a tough time gathering the happenings of the story.  Who was Mattias Schepp? Ok, he's revealed to be the father of the missing twins in the next paragraph.  But who is Alfredo Fabbrocini? And who are the missing twins? When did that happen? Anyone?  I was a bit annoyed because this was front page stuff and there was really no info. [At least a link to earlier reports/stories or some type of "breaking news/this story is still developing" disclaimer]

I put out a light-hearted tweet that was a bit of a jab at Torstar.  It read"oh @ what I wouldn't do without your poorly written/researched articles, don't worry, I'll keep reading".  I'll do this occasionally when I see a major news outlet put out a story that is just filled with spelling mistakes, bad editing (cut-n-paste fail) and content.  I find this as a source of personal entertainment, but I guess it can also been seen as a sort of taking-it-to-the-man type of attitude.  

Someone on Twitter said that "as pillar of journalistic integrity" there was no one more fit to judge the TorStar than myself.  Sensing sarcasm, in 140 characters or less, I tried to relay that I thought the article's content wasn't homepage worthy.  I also tried to be funny.  I don't think either worked.  And so a debate of tweets began to flow.

My friend on twitter was quick to point out that the TorStar article was syndicated from AP and that papers often get digital feeds for breaking news.  Very true.  Still, as a front page story (at the time Sunday morning) I come to expect a little more than what was delivered.  

Twitter friend asked if the AP had any facts wrong.  I said no, wasn't my point.  I'm talking content and front page "newsworthiness" (pseudo hate this term). Twitter friend asks why it's important to convince them of what's appropriate for TorStar homepage.  I'm now confused.  Wasn't trying to convince anyone, I was just reiterating my points when they asked about my tweet.  Twitter friend says they're curious to know my reasoning for saying TorStar isn't credible.  Even more confused, never said that.

Again, having this last bit exchanged over twitter in a barrage of 140 character tweets didn't provide for the most entertaining or comprehensive conversation. 

I admit, 100% I took a jab at TorStar's integrity (in a tweet).  I think I'm entitled to do so.  In my honest opinion, when you put out a story like that, with that content, you're being lazy.  When more information is available and that's what your giving to your dedicated readership, shame.  As a TorStar subscriber and reader, I really do expect more from them.  

However, I was not attacking their credibility.  I pointed out that my comments were of a casual, funny nature (people have laughed at my TorStar cracks in the past....tough room) and that I do support TorStar.   Just because I commented on a news story and even admitted to questioning their integrity, does not mean I am attacking their credibility.  You can have little integrity while still maintaing credibility and good reputation.  And vice verca.  Again, not suggesting either applies to the TorStar, simply that the two, while similar, are not the same.

I think the TorStar is a very credible media outlet and it would take a lot more than a few lazy stories and some misconstrued tweets to chip away at them.  That said, I do think it's okay to take jabs at them when their standards drop, because as a supporter and a stakeholder in their organization, it's my right and duty to do my part and helping to keep them honest.  

In the end I think Twitter friend and I agreed to disagree.  Actually no, they offered some advice and cautions about the Lion's Den that is professional writing.  I said not to worry as I'm not a pro writer and they then pointed out that I am competing to be the Endras BMW Ultimate Blogger.  And so the debate transformed like the Phoenix into a much larger question (for me at least) on whether Blogging is professional writing?  

Huge question, I don't think, with any clear answer, rather many sides and opinions to a coin.  Methinks that'll have to wait until the next blog post.

Oh, and PLEASE take 3 seconds to vote for me in the Endras BMW Ultimate Blogger contest.  No sign up or emails needed, just click HERE.

Love from your Homie, 

Shawn Hawaii

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Call of Duty = New World Order

Hello Peeps!

So I'm super excited because tomorrow the latest installment of Activision's popular Call of Duty title: Black Ops, will be receiving new "downloadable content."  This content, also referred to as a "map pack" will feature 5 new Maps for multiplayer online gaming.

In case you're unfamiliar with Call of Duty or the online gaming scene, this is like crack for...well crack heads.  Let me indulge you.

Video games are quickly becoming the Entertainment Superpowers of the world.  Call of Duty: Black Ops sold 5.6 MILLION copies in 24 HOURS.  That's sales of $360 million in ONE DAY. No album or movie comes even close.  It took just 42 days for the game to reach $1 BILLION in world wide sales.

They're nowhere near done.  The new map packs were released a month earlier on Xbox 360 to the tune of 1.4 million downloads in just their first 24 hours.  Total figures to date are unknown (to me at least) but I bet its at least 4 times that.  Bear in mind, that was just Xbox 360 and you can expect PS3 to do better since I hear there are more Black Ops players on PS3.

This is a new world order.  The other week my eyes were really opened to the fact that Facebook's worth at $50 Billion dollars put it ahead of other huge businesses like BMW, Target, Nike, Halliburton, etc.

Well give it another decade or two and we could see Activision/Call of Duty right up there.  There's no telling what the landscape might be like in 20, 30, 40+ years.  I know lots of gamers playing right into 40's and 50's and the there will always be a fresh crop of kids getting old enough to start playing these types of games.  It's only going to grow like crazy.

Who knows, maybe one day we'll be watching the Super Bowl from the Call of Duty Arena of some major market city.  I sure hope so.

Oh and please take 3 seconds to vote for me to be the Endras BMW Ultimate Blogger.  No sign up or emails needed just click and vote.

Shawn Hawaii's Ultimate Blogger Page

Friday, 25 February 2011

Chris Bosh BRUTALLY injured vs Chicago Bulls (funny video)

What's up peeps!

My buddy Jon at Corbin Visual passed this video on to me.  Honestly it's freakin' hilarious!!

Chris Bosh was elbowed in the head by Carlos Boozer in last night's Miami Heat vs. Chicago Bulls game.

See the carnage here:

BOSH BRUTALLY INJURED vs Bulls from Corbin Visual on Vimeo.

Hope you enjoyed the video!

Please take 1 second to vote for me in my dream job, Endras BMW's Ultimate Blogger Contest.

Just click and VOTE (no sign up needed)!

Shawn Hawaii's Ultimate Blogger profile


Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Top 10 Ways to Cruise Like the 80's

Here's my Top 10 ways to cruise like your in the 1980's.

To make it really fun and hands-on for my readers, I've included a selection of cars for every song and some additional pictures to offer a type of "guide" on how to really "get down" to these songs.  I do not take responsibility for all the fun (re: trouble) that may arise if you follow this guide.

Please take 3 seconds to vote for me in the BMW Ultimate Blogger contest, just click>vote

Number 10

You know what's up.  80's Power Ballad time.  Roll up the sleeves on your already tight fitting band shirt and grab a head band.  If you don't have a headband and need to make one by ripping it off an article of clothing, even better.  Let's do this.

Drive this (1981 Ford Mustang)

Look like this

Number 9

If you're not a headband-air-guitar-playing type of person like in the song before, perhaps "Let It Whip" is more up your alley.  Feel like leaning way back in your seat, all squinty-eyed, with pouty Zoolander lips, well than this is for you! Here's the catch, if anyone calls you out on chillin' and looking way cool, you'll have to bust out into the most elaborate Soul Train dance step EVER.  Might want to put on a crazy face for this part. Instructions here.

Drive this (1986 BMW 635i)

Look like this

Number 8

This should be the theme to your weekend afternoon.  Perfect for that top down cruise along Queen street.  Grab your Ray-Bans and call your hottest friends, cause this is going to be a jammy. Just like in the video, if you can, party in your car so hard that you make an old lady drop her bag of oranges.  Don't worry, it's all in good fun, besides you'll throw her in the back seat for the rest of the party anyways.  If you can get your hands on a pink guitar, huge points.

Drive this (1984 VW Golf Cabrio)

Look like this.
Number 7

It's Friday.  Arrange to pick up all the homies in your sweet ride.  If this was legit the 80's, you'd be downing 6-packs in the back seat and hollering at....well everyone.  Since it's not the 80's and this behavior is moderately to highly illegal, we'll just have to pretend like we're having this much fun.

Drive this (1988 Pontiac Thunderbird)

Look like this

Number 6

Call up your sweet heart, maybe pack a basket full of goodies (wine, cheese, sour keys, etc) and be sure to have a blanket/sweater and other items to make her feel comfortable.  Go for a cruise around or just outside of the city.  Find a nice spot (roof top parking lot in city or look out point in the country) and play the kissing game.

Drive this (1982 Volvo 245)

Look like this

Number 5

In case it isn't obvious, this song will require serious air guitar and dashboard drumming.  Dudes in the back seat can play patty cake, it's totally the song for it.  If you're at a stop light when this song breaks into the harmonica-solo-explosion, you'll have to jump out of the car and have a serious dance freak out with your buddies. Extreme fun warning.

Drive this (1983 Chrysler Lebaron)

Look like this

Number 4

This song is perfect for cruising the club district and other night life spots.  You might want to pull a Billy Madison and drive up to a high traffic area, park your ride and then park your sweet buns on your whip while letting everyone in the vicinity take in all your greatness. New Order is so wicked that people will be confused as to whether you're just hanging out or looking to start trouble.  Your demeanor should play to this confusion.

Drive this (1985 Audi Coupe GT)

Look like this

Number 3

Get ready to rock.  Anything goes here and you should really play up this joie de vivre by piling as many friends, acquaintances, and strangers into your car.  Just go with it.  Play this song over and over and let the people in the car that you trust the least make all the decisions.  This is a classic formula for success.  Don't forget to mobile update your Facebook and Twitter!

Drive this (1982 Jaguar XJ6)

Look like this

Number 2

This is practically a Rock Opera for your highway runs.  I hope you don't have any encounters with the Police when listening to this track, because I guarantee you'll make a run for it, its just too dramatic.  If your a robot you should be fine, but all human 80's-party-wannabes are suggested to play nicely with law enforcement. You can still get some spirited white-knuckled driving in while keeping it legal and safe for everyone and this track is just the inspiration you need.

Drive This (1985 Datsun 300ZX)

Look like this

Number 1

This song is an anthem for so many reasons.  Fist pumping benders at high speeds while giving everybody and their grandma the finger is just one of them.  Ok maybe I'm being a little dramatic.  But, the 1986 Beastie Boys would probably beg to differ, and by "beg to differ" I mean "kick my ass."  Good thing they're all grown up and Buddhists now.  Enjoy a good rage around town with this tune.  Make sure everyone hears how awesome you are!

Drive this (1984 Mercedes 500 SEL)

Look like this

Hope you guys enjoyed my Top 10 Ways to Cruis like the 80s!! Please take a second to vote for me in the Endras BMW Ultimate Blogger Challenge. No sign up needed, just click and--> VOTE

Thanks so much everyone!!

Monday, 21 February 2011

Wedding SURPRISE and a Hell of a Night

Hello Peeps!

Wow rough day Today.  I'm recovering from a wild night spent at my friends Dean and Michelle's Wedding.

I was quite honored when Dean asked me to introduce him and his Bride into the reception.  It was a quick short thing, but I practiced a few times to make sure the wording was classy while still relaying enthusiasm.   Everyone was buzzing on wine already and so excited to receive the Bride and Groom that I don't think anyone even heard me towards the end.  Still, it was great!

Since I had to be at the wedding pretty early meant that by 9 p.m. or so I was wasted.  I'm not a big drinker and there's only so many glasses of wine and cocktails a Dude can take before...well you know.

I didn't know that many people at the wedding, but the few that I did I consider good friends.  Dean also has a lot of family and friends that have been previous clients of mine, with my work over at Magen Boys Entertainment.  So it was nice to catch up with them (take mad shots at the bar).

BEST PART OF THE NIGHT was when Dean surprised his Bride with a very special "flash mob" style performance of "Be My Bride" a play on the classic Beauty and the Beast song.  Because I'm the best, I recorded it for your viewing pleasure.

After dinner was through the dancing really picked up.  I grabbed my friend Al (a hot chick) and we hit the dance floor pretty hard.  In fact, at one point I was really letting her have it and a group of like 3 older couples stopped us and commented on my "sexy" dance moves.  This was my John Travolta moment, total kick-ass.  I thanked my fans for their kindness and continued with my dance floor assault.

At about 11:30 p.m. we (you know, me and my crew) left the wedding to attend "The Long Weekend Drop Out" that Magen Boys Ent. was throwing over at London Tap House.  Magen Boys is owned and run by two of my best friends Page and Jian (twins) and this event featured Saved By The Bell's very own SCREECH.  Yeah, Dustin Diamond mofos!

Lots of good friends were there and my stupor continued uninterrupted into the better part of the early morning.  As we were leaving the club, being in the state that I was, it was decided that everyone was to attend a spontaneous Salad party.  Yes it's what you think, a party at a diner where everyone eats Salads.   Screech was in and so were all the ladies, you know, cause its salad.

We got to the Thomson hotel's Counter Diner and waited a little bit for a table (there was like Fity of us).   Some crazy shit was happening at the Thomson that night and the service was incredibly lousy.  Now I'm a big fan of the Thomson/Counter and I definitely give them the benefit of the doubt, but it was disappointing.  Most of us waited over 90min for a salad!  Apparently they had some staff walk-outs and what not, so I can be sympathetic to that, but the wait killed our buzz and broke up the party.

All in all, a good night!